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Do you have an effective executive presence?

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Contributed by Patrick Reilly, Resources in Action

Speaker session: 
Executive Presence and Managing Up: Building Your Brand

At the higher level of organizations and especially with Boards, executive presence is an essential success factor. Several years ago, I kept hearing from clients, who would say things like, “He needs to show up better. She does not have enough executive presence.”  When I would ask them what that looked like, I got a brief stare and then a “I don’t know, but I ‘ll know it when I see it!”

Business leaders need targets and goals to hit them.

Since most leaders are not able to define the issue of executive presence, I decided to research the question so I could build a model that leaders could follow and learn from. I wanted them to be aware of their executive presence strengths and challenges.

If you, as a leader, are required to have an executive presence, you need to know what that really means.

Executive presence is comprised of three core elements: how you act (gravitas), how you speak (communication) and how you look (appearance.) It can also be described as the skillful application of emotional intelligence and the effective presentation of your professional skills.  Sylvia Ann Hewitt’s research suggests that 67% of executive presence is comprised of your gravitas, 28% depends on the quality of your communication and 5% on your appearance.

My model, with its core components, is comprised of:


  1. Confidence – Can I share my point of view well?

  2. Competence Am I competent in my domain of technical expertise and able to communicate it effectively, especially to those who are not as expert in this area

  3. Courage Do I have the courage to take a stand for the things I believe in? Take well informed risks and drive change?

  4. Calmness under Pressure Can I project a sense of calm and poise regardless of the circumstances?

  5. Credibility (Balance) Do I have a balanced approach that includes being both assertive and results oriented while being compassionate and having empathy for others?

  6. Reliably deliver results Do I provide quality results in a timely fashion?


  1. Clarity and Crispness Is my communication in speaking and writing clear, crisp and succinct?  Do I have the tone and timbre in my voice that makes others want to listen?

  2. Connection Do I have strong relationships with people at all levels of the Organization? Do others see me as an effective listener, authentic, and approachable?


  1. Do I fit in with my peers and those who are one level up?

  2. Do I dress professionally for my company and in line with today’s standards?

  3. Do I exhibit good manners, use appropriate language and employ good grammar? Why is this section in italics? I guess it is to make it parallel with the first two. Is that right?

Once you have attained clarity about your strengths and challenges you need to learn how to put your ideas into action.

To be a credible leader you must have followers (Kouzes and Posner), but how do you demonstrate those qualities convincingly so that they become more compelling over time? Some question if these skills are trainable and learnable, but one must also begin to learn some non-traditional business skills to become a leader. These skills require you to access the energy in your body and to learn to convey your passion to others with fire (in a way that works for you and is in concert with your true self). Actors are trained this way. They learn how to step into a role and convey to others what might be possible, while also communicating about how we might achieve an end-result or final goal.

Your leadership presence becomes more visible when you can convey a set of messages (about your organization) that:

  1. Will get the attention of your people,

  2. Support them to listen more carefully, and

  3. Ignite their drive to support you to reach the goals of the company as well as the future you have described and set forth.

If you need guidance around finding or creating a stronger executive presence, please visit my website, You can also contact me directly at or 510-524-4934. 

Are you going to HR West next week? My session, Executive Presence and Managing Up: Building Your Brand, will cover more about how to cultivate a new or better executive presence.


About Patrick Reilly

President of Resources in Action, Reilly’s coaching career (25 years) began when a client asked him if he would provide some leadership coaching. He soon realized that he was adept and well suited to help leaders leverage their strengths to become more powerful. His business background in operations, technology and R&D informs his work as an executive coach. Reilly’s work focuses on supporting leaders in developing their executive presence and managing up. Clients describe him as approachable and compassionate while being focused, organized and results driven. He has two grown children who, he says, “trained him to work well with others.”

Tags:  effective communication skills  effective leadership  Executive Coaching  HR management skills  HR West 2017  leadership  leadership development 

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HR Communication Tip: Say What You Want… Not What You Don’t Want.

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, June 22, 2016

By Paul Endresscoach, speaker, and founder of Maximum Advantage International. 

Endress will present Adapting Your Communication Style to Get Results at HR West Seattle on July 15, 2015. Go to for more information and to register for the conference.

This article was recently published on:

The Mind Can’t Directly Process A Negative
So Say What You Want… Not What You Don’t Want

In this post, I’m going to give you a tip that you can use to instantly improve your communication, and it comes from something that happened to me recently.  So here’s what happened.

My wife and I went out to dinner at the Harvest Café.  It’s a great place we love to go there.  Sometimes it’s a little slow for us because I’m usually in a hurry, but we went there and then we just were sitting down to enjoy it.  Then I saw this sign that they had up in there and (upon reading it) I thought, what better way is there to do this? Because it’s going to reveal a good communication truth that you can put to use right away.  The sign said, “Don’t forget to vote for 2016 Simply the Best.”

This local magazine, here in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has a contest where people submit votes for the best restaurant and then once a year they publish a special issue, then the restaurant can use that in their advertising. -- i.e. “Yes, we are the best restaurant in Harrisburg.” So they’re putting up a sign that says, “Don’t forget to vote.”

This is a great example of the effective communication principle that says: the mind cannot directly process a negative.The Mind Cant Processs A Negative - Small

There’s a famous story about Fran Tarkenton, who was a quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings. They’re in the championship game with two minutes left, and he goes to the sidelines. The game is within reach. They’re six points back, they’ve got to score a touchdown — two minutes.  Which if you don’t know football, that’s plenty of time to score the touchdown if you’re playing well!

Fran says to the coach, “What should I do?”  And the coach says, “Fran, no matter what you do don’t throw an interception.”  An interception is where he accidentally throws it to the other team and that’s exactly what happened when he went back on the field because what had the coach put in his mind?  “Don’t throw an interception.”

The interception might have happened for other reasons, but one of them is that the mind can’t directly process a negative word like “don’t.”  So when something says, “Don’t forget to vote,” the words that we really get are: “Forget to vote.”

“Don’t throw an interception” becomes “throw an interception.”

What could they have done differently? Change it to say, “Remember to vote.”  Which is the positive version of what they want you to do instead of the negative version!

Changing the wording from a negative to a positive greatly increases the chances that people are going to remember to vote for them instead of forget to vote for them.

Putting It To Use

The next time you need to get somebody to do something, and you need to give an instruction, give it instruction in a positive way.  Tell them what you do want... not what you don’t want.

Ask yourself this question: In what situation do you express yourself in terms of what you don’t want --- how can you flip that around and turn it into a positive so you say what you do want instead of what you don’t want?

Just flip it around, express it as a positive.

And whenever you think about this, just think about:  “Remember to vote” versus “Don’t forget to vote.” 

Small change, big difference, great results.

You can also listen to/"watch" Paul discuss his communication style tip on YouTube.*

About the Author

Paul Endress is an in-demand coach, speaker, and founder of Maximum Advantage International, a company that gives organizations and individuals the skills necessary to communicate effectively in an increasingly difficult business environment.

An inspiring speaker, Endress is the author of Dealing With Difficult People and has helped thousands of individuals and business executives from companies such as Shell and Mitusbushi through his seminars, speeches, and products.

His latest project is the Communication Styles 2.0 model and software, which is based upon eight years of research and solves communication problems by creating visual models of interactions between group members.

*Adapting Your Communication Style to Get Results 
HR West Seattle - July 15 • 03:05 PM - 04:05 PM


Tags:  business communication skills  effective communication skills  Executive Coaching  HR  HR coaching  HR Management Skills  HR West 2016  HR West Seattle  Paul Endress 

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