Tips for Developing Executive Presence on LinkedIn
In my decades of work with C-suite executives writing speeches, presentations, and press materials, along with coaching them for media interviews, I recognize the importance of establishing an executive presence. And over the last several years, I’ve found that leaders who develop a strong presence in particular on LinkedIn are more successful at cultivating trust and building relationships with key stakeholders – as well as the media. That goes a long way towards driving visibility and value for the brand overall.
So what do I mean exactly by executive presence? This term tends to get thrown around a lot. In essence, it’s your ability to effectively translate ideas and expertise in verbal, visual, and written formats that connect with your ideal audiences. On LinkedIn, you have the ability to reach audiences on all of these levels. You can post updates, write articles, share videos or use LinkedIn Live, and publish your podcast. Because of this, and the fact that it’s a professional network, LinkedIn is the ideal place to grow your presence.
What Goes into Building a Presence?
It’s important to recognize that executive presence is something that is completely unique to you. There’s no template you must squeeze into. You should think of your presence as a living thing that you are continuing to tend to and cultivate.
According to research, there are three key pillars of executive presence:
- How You Act (gravitas)
- How You Speak (communication)
- How You Look (appearance)
Of the three, gravitas is the most important element. So what types of traits does this include? Confidence, decisiveness, integrity, emotional intelligence, reputation, vision, and charisma. These are the top areas to work on and highlight when devising a LinkedIn communications strategy.
Not Sure How to Start Building a Presence?
With so many touch points involved, how to go about cultivating your presence on LinkedIn can seem daunting. I’ll admit, it’s no simple feat! I work hard at developing executive presence for myself and my clients. But it’s so worth the effort. Because of the time I take devising personalized strategies and content that resonates, my clients and myself are seen as industry leaders, routinely sought out for quotes, speaking engagements, as guest panelists, and more.
Here are some LinkedIn content strategy tips that I’ve found to be effective across all communication formats.
1. Do Your Research
Take time to discover what really matters to your audiences and how your organization can address their needs. You need to have a firm grasp on this if you want to develop content that truly resonates. The knowledge you glean is also key to being able to think on your feet and respond with confidence during live formats.
2. Tell Stories with a Personal Touch
Storytelling is an excellent communication tool. When you relay a personal narrative, you make yourself relatable to your audience, make complex concepts easier to understand, and make a more memorable impression. Plus, stories persuade people to take action. Share stories in your posts and pepper them in your articles and blogs.
3. Demonstrate Your Emotional Intelligence
A strong executive presence involves having a good sense of people. The ability to understand, interpret, and respond to the emotions of others is how you will connect with your audience. The key is tapping into those emotions and subtly weaving them into your messaging.
4. Communicate a Sense of Purpose
Leaders that consistently incorporate purpose, vision, and company core values in their content come across as more sincere, helping to build trusting relationships with stakeholders. I always try to include references to these in all of my key communications pieces.
5. Speak Your Truth
If you want to appear strong, you need to convey your convictions without wavering. Doing so helps you stay true to who you are and can inspire others to do the same.
6. Pay Attention to Body Language
We live in a visual world. Still photos and videos speak volumes. So it’s important that you carry yourself with confidence and make eye contact. Your nonverbal actions play a significant role in being seen as trustworthy and likable. Before my clients take part on a panel or do an interview, we hold practice sessions so I can critique the nonverbal clues they are displaying.
7. Embrace Humor
I find that leaders with an engaging executive presence have a good sense of humor and don’t take themselves too seriously. It’s OK to pepper a little humor in your communications when appropriate.