3 Things You Need to Know About Commanding the Room


3 Things You Need to Know About Commanding the Room

July 7, 2015

At a conference co-hosted by NYIT and Latinas in Higher Education in June, I spoke about executive presence, a topic informed by my leadership experiences as Manhattan campus dean. The conference's theme, "Command the Room," encouraged participants to consider how they can take control of their professional life. More than 85 women from 15 universities and organizations attended. Regardless of your gender or where you are in your career, the event's key takeaways are universal must-knows for succeeding in any workplace:

  1. Understand the three pillars of successful executive presence. They are "gravitas," verbal and written communication skills, and a polished, professional appearance. Gravitas—the No. 1 predictor of success in leaders—is a catchall for many factors such as grace under fire, confidence, decisiveness, and empathy, and effective leaders have spent years honing these qualities.
  2. Review your skills and fill in the blanks. Commanding the room starts with you. Based on the three pillars of executive presence, assess where you add value in your organization and what you can do to up your game. For example, if public speaking is a weakness, volunteer to give a presentation at your department's next staff meeting and gain more confidence in your communications skills.
  3. Be consistent to rise up the career ladder. Mastering executive presence takes time and lots of effort. Be patient. When you flourish at embodying the three pillars, colleagues' perception of you as a strong leader increases. You'll be viewed more favorably at work and likely promoted faster. Everyone wins when people believe their leader is competent, makes decisions for the good of the organization, and communicates well with the team.

For more information about topics covered at the conference, check out Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success by economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Ph.D., founder and CEO of the Center for Talent Innovation. Read more about the "Command the Room" conference and share your thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag #CommandCon.