Executive Presence Book Summary - Executive Presence Book explained in key points
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Executive Presence summary

Sylvia Ann Hewlett

The Missing Link Between Merit and Success

4.3 (234 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

Executive Presence by Sylvia Ann Hewlett is a guidebook for professionals who want to improve their leadership skills. The book offers practical advice on how to develop presence, command respect, communicate effectively, and lead with authority.

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    Executive Presence
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    If you aspire to success, you’ll need to develop executive presence.

    How can you rise to a top position or gain a significant following if you can’t convince the world that you are the real deal? To put it bluntly: you can’t.

    Whether you’re a banker, a salesperson or a musician, having executive presence is a precondition for success. It’s a mixture of qualities that demonstrate that you are in command, or at least deserve to be. Executive presence alone is the make-or-break factor.

    The author regularly attends the final auditions of the Concert Artist Guild’s international competition. There a huge pool of applicants is narrowed to just 12 talented young musicians who then compete before a very distinguished jury.

    Of course, these young finalists wouldn’t have made it to the final round if they weren’t outstanding in their musical craft. But in the finals, what separates one finalist from the next has little to do with music.

    So what is that special trait that makes a person stand apart?

    Guild president Richard Weinert revealed that the key is in the way an artist walks across the stage; the way her clothes are cut; the spark in her eyes and the emotion written on her face.

    A recent study also demonstrates the importance of executive presence in the music world. Fascinatingly enough, people who were shown silent videos of pianists performing in international competitions were better at picking out the actual winners than those who watched the videos and could hear the music, too. That’s a powerful example of executive presence at work.

    And it’s no different in the workplace. The author’s research team at the Center for Talent Innovation conducted a national survey to map out the traits that make up executive presence.

    The results? Executive presence appears to be based on three pillars: the way you act (gravitas), the way you speak (communication) and finally, the way you look (appearance).

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    What is Executive Presence about?

    Executive Presence (2014) reveals the essential components of a true leader. From attitude to communication to appearance, today’s most influential leaders share practical tips and examples to guide you in creating a powerful, convincing presence everyday.

    Executive Presence Review

    Executive Presence (2014) is a valuable book for individuals looking to enhance their leadership skills and make a lasting impact. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides practical strategies and techniques to develop and exude a strong executive presence, allowing individuals to confidently navigate the business world.
    • Through compelling case studies and interviews with successful professionals, the book demonstrates how cultivating executive presence can positively influence career growth and advancement.
    • With its insightful analysis of the key components of executive presence, such as appearance, communication, and gravitas, the book keeps readers engaged and motivated to improve their own presence.

    Best quote from Executive Presence

    I dont believe Ive ever been able to judge or trust a person unless I can see what theyre like under fire. – Bob Dudley

    —Sylvia Ann Hewlett
    example alt text

    Who should read Executive Presence?

    • Leaders looking to brush up their presentation skills
    • Employees interested in what it takes to climb the corporate ladder
    • Managers seeking to engage their teams more effectively

    About the Author

    Sylvia Ann Hewlett is an economist and business guru as well as the founder and CEO of the Center for Talent Innovation. She has authored 11 critically acclaimed books.

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    Executive Presence FAQs 

    What is the main message of Executive Presence?

    Executive Presence teaches us how to project confidence, command respect, and achieve big career goals.

    How long does it take to read Executive Presence?

    The reading time for Executive Presence varies, but the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Executive Presence a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Executive Presence is worth reading as it offers valuable insights and practical advice for developing a strong professional image and advancing your career.

    Who is the author of Executive Presence?

    Sylvia Ann Hewlett is the author of Executive Presence.

    What to read after Executive Presence?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Executive Presence, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith
    • Charismatic Leadership by Kevin Murray
    • Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter
    • The Enneagram at Work by Jim McPartlin with Anna Akbari
    • Good Leaders Ask Great Questions by John C. Maxwell
    • The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane
    • Power Questions by Andrew Sobel & Jerold Panas
    • The Perfectionist's Guide to Losing Control by Katherine Morgan Schafler
    • How Highly Effective People Speak by Peter Andrei
    • The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell