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NEW NY Metro polishes its executive presence

Friday, October 30, 2015  
Posted by: Rufino Cabang
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Carole Erno of Acosta Sales & Marketing and Danielle Goodson of Brown-Forman Corp.
networked at the NEW New York Metro event.

Nearly 200 Network of Executive women members and supporters learned to present themselves with purpose — the key to executive presence — at the NEW New York Metro learning event featuring two of the city's most admired newswomen, Oct. 29 at the American Express headquarters in New York City.

A lack of executive presence is the single biggest roadblock for women who want to advance their careers, according to former NBC New York anchors Mary Civiello and Jane Hanson of Civiello Communications Group, who cited a number of studies revealing the importance executive presence. "Executive presence comes with really focusing on the purpose of your message and delivering it with confidence," Civiello said.

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People with executive presence are perceived as good communicators and having gravitas, said Civiello and Hanson, who pointed to Hillary Clinton during the recent Benghazi hearings or Carly Fiorina during the first Republican presidential candidate debate as demonstrating strong executive presence.

When presenting yourself and your ideas, speak "slow and low," Civiello advised. "When things go wrong – a technical issue or you start getting nervous or you forget what you're going to say – pause. Don't say the first thing that coes to mind. Play it cool."

Gravitas comes with six behavioral traits, they said:

  • Confidence
  • Decisiveness
  • Integrity/authenticity
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Reputation
  • Vision

Hanson offered some vocal and body language tips: Don't uptalk, so that what you say sounds like a question or "fry" your voice. Don't "schlump" over, keep your hands on the table or in a neutral position and make "pies for eyes" — dividing your audience into three slices and scanning each while speaking.

When presenting a message to others, start with context. What is the ask? Then, fortify with three facts, each with a short analogy and anecdote. "You can do that in 30 seconds," Civiello said.

Companies sending large delegations to the event included American Express, Deloitte, Nestle Waters NA, PepsiCo Inc. and Unilever.

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