Zero Executive Presence: “When I speak, people don’t listen. Why is that?”

Student: “When I speak, people don’t listen.  Why is that?”

Teacher: “It depends…”

It always depends…

There are many possible reasons that people don’t engage with you, don’t care about what you are going to say, don’t pay attention.

Rarely does anyone come to me and say “I need help.  I am boring.”

However, this condition is not uncommon.

Some people find that they never have anything to say to others, they are left alone at parties, no one invites them out more than once; they are shy, bland, awkward or bland.  Being boring is a serious social problem.  In general, boring people are inhibited, lack spontaneity, never take risks; boring people say things that are always predictable.  They say what they believe others want them to say.

No Executive Presence
Careful… you are boring me…

Boring people are squashed souls.  They have been made boring by their childhood environment.  Underneath the surface boring persona, there is a creative, childlike, vital person.  You can’t get there by shock tactics, you have to coax the inner child to push past the surface obstacles.

How can you develop executive presence?

14 Characteristics of Executive Presence

  1. You make others feel important and helpful
  2. You have an elegant way of approaching, engaging and getting to know others
  3. You smile and maintain eye-contact
  4. Your presence is felt once you walk into a room
  5. You inspire people; you are likeable and trustworthy
  6. People are curious to know more about you
  7. People want to build a relationship with you
  8. You are perceived as important, valued and respected
  9. You ask relevant and thought-provoking questions that begin a dialogue
  10. You are well read and share fresh perspectives
  11. You always leave a message that people remember
  12. You relate equally well with different types of people (regardless of hierarchy or rank)
  13. You positively impact others and those around you immediately
  14. You share and create opportunities for others

Interested vs Interesting

The key is to be interested in other people, their lives, their challenges, their dreams.  If you are interested in others, curious about their stories: you will not be boring.

Presence is about your effect on others, not any quality of you.

7 responses to “Zero Executive Presence: “When I speak, people don’t listen. Why is that?””

  1. […] P.S. If you liked this post you might also like 16 Lessons from the European HR Directors Summit and Zero Executive Presence: When I speak, People don’t listen. Why is that? […]

  2. Several of the points on the list remind me of a story about Jennie Jerome, Winston Churchill’s mother. One week, she had the opportunity to have dinner, on consecutive nights, with the two leading politicians in the UK at the time: William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli.

    She was asked to compare the two dinners and reportedly said something like, “After my dinner with Mr Gladstone, I felt he was the cleverest man in England. After my dinner with Mr Disraeli I felt that I was the cleverest woman.”

    We should strive to be like Disraeli.

  3. Hello Sir, This article was very helpful for me. Thanks a lot.

  4. Hi Conor,

    This is an interesting article and very useful. I agree Executive Presence is very essential to be successful.

    Thanks a lot for sharing 🙂


  5. Interesting – lots of Dale Carnegie channeling here! I’ve not heard of ‘executive presence’ as a buzzword often before – I like it!

    1. Hehe thanks Matt – I guess Dale got in there early and said most of the good stuff on making a good first impression 😉

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