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Strengthen Your Executive Presence

ASSOCIATIONS NOW, September/October 2012 Brain Power

Summary: Career advice from Carol Vernon, certified executive coach, principal of Communication Matters.

What is executive presence? Executive presence means having confidence and charisma and allowing others to see how strong an employee you are. A fine-tuned executive presence is not only for the executive ranks; it's for everyone.

How can association professionals strengthen their executive presence? Ask yourself how you view strong leadership in your organization and the association community. Then clarify how you want to be perceived and create your own presence statement that addresses how you will work as a leader.

For midcareer association professionals, the opportunity to clarify how you wish to be perceived is invaluable. Your presence statement should include one or two things you will do differently to allow you to be perceived that way.

For a more senior executive, an executive-presence audit also is necessary. The first step is to seek feedback from others regarding their perceptions of you. Without this, it is difficult to know how you are and are not working. Unfortunately, often the more senior you become, the less feedback you get. No matter where you are in your career, ask yourself these questions:

  • What's working?
  • How am I perceived by the board, members, and stakeholders?
  • What can I be doing more of?
  • What do I need to be doing
    less of?

If you're looking for the next step in you association management career or seeking high-quality candidates to fill open positions, visit

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