You Don’t Need to Be Loud to Stand Out as a Leader…

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…But You Do Need To Have Presence


Whether you want to make an impact in the boardroom, improve your effectiveness as a leader, get a promotion, or make a career change, exuding leadership presence will increase your ability to influence. This will make the outcome that you want to achieve much easier.

As a leader you either have presence or you don’t. For some leaders it comes naturally, whilst other leaders have to work at it. The good thing is, if you don’t have it, you can develop it. And contrary to what many people think, you don’t have to be ‘loud’ with it.

If you want to develop your executive presence, here are 4 things that will help:

Be visible

Leaders who exude presence are visible. Now this does not mean you have to constantly be in the limelight surrounded by people and drawing lots of attention to yourself. It means that the people you lead, your leader (if applicable), and stakeholders do not just see you, they see the value you bring. They see the values you live by. And they see that you value them.

Being visible helps people to connect with you. If they feel that there is a connection, they are more likely to trust you even if they disagree with you.

On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is you stay behind your screen only communicating via email or not speaking up in meetings, and 10 is you ARE seen and heard, where would you rate yourself in terms of visibility?

Assert yourself with confidence

How assertive are you when you communicate with others? Do you stand your ground with an air of confidence? Do you falter and become apologetic? Or do you act like a raging bull?

Leaders that exude presence are assertive. Assertive leaders know how to stand firmly by what they say when they speak. In a meeting full of overbearing individuals, confidently asserting yourself and getting your voice heard may seem challenging. Whether you are having a one-to-one conversation or whether you are in a board meeting, if people interrupt and talk over you, hold your ground, and continue talking.

Raise your voice slightly without shouting. Speak calmly and firmly with a lowered tone, and say ‘excuse me, I have not finished yet.’

Speak confidently

Speaking up confidently in meetings is a challenge for some introverted women leaders when they are in certain environments. In a room of dominating personalities, or the perception is that other people are better than you, or you lack experience, you may find that your confidence wanes.

However, no one can see how you feel on the inside. So, whilst you may not feel confident, you do not have to let your appearance show that. When you know you have a meeting coming up that you think is likely to be a challenge for you to speak up as confidently as you would like, plan, and prepare so you are equipped. And don’t just do the physical preparation, prepare yourself mentally and emotionally as well.

Be influential

Which leaders do you admire for the presence they exude? What is it about them why you admire their presence? Would you say that they are good at influencing people? Exuding presence requires you to be influential. And by exuding presence, you will be better at influencing as well.

Do not confuse influencing with exerting authority. Exerting authority does not necessarily create buy in to your vision and bring people along with you willingly. Whilst you may get people to do what you want them to do, would you not rather have inspired and empowered teams?

Listen well and develop rapport. Be aware of how other people perceive you. If their perception of you is not what you want it to be, what needs to happen for it to change?

Remember, you don’t need to be loud to stand out as a leader, but you do need to have presence. So how are you showing up, how are you perceived, and what influence and impact are you making in the encounters you have with other people?

About the author: Carol Stewart is an Executive, Career and Leadership Coach, Speaker, Trainer, and 5 x LinkedIn Top Voice UK, specialising in coaching introverted women who are senior leaders. She is the author of Quietly Visible: Leading With Influence and Impact as an Introverted Woman (listed as one of the top 10 books written by women to read during lockdown by BEYOUROWN). Find out more about Carol at

This article has been kindly repurposed and you can read the original here: You Don’t Need to Be Loud to Stand Out as a Leader, But You Do Need to Have Presence