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How Best to Convey “Executive Presence” Non-Verbally

From Dan Hill, writing for CommPro:

From U.S. presidents to NFL quarterbacks, I’ve studied their signature facial expressions—looking for the patterns that indicate success. Maybe you weren’t the first choice for the C-suite corner office you now have, but surely you weren’t the 199th overall pick for the job (like the New England Patriot’s Tom Brady). In Brady’s case, welcome to the intricacies of what people often assume is merely a straightforward case of the guy “smiling.”

Actually, just like Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, a Brady smile isn’t merely a smile. There’s usually a smirk that goes with it, whereby a lip corner will tighten and often rise a little, pulling the skin slightly inward while also narrowing that lip corner. A small dimple or cavity may simultaneously be created in the nearby cheek.

A smirk signals contempt, and contempt in turn signals a lack of trust or respect for others. In short, you’re feeling superior. Does that look constitute “executive presence”? Yes, it often does. Brady is simply statistical superior to his NFL counterparts, and the smiling-smirk look that characterizes him best signals confidence. Match that same smirk with a frown or anger, however, and it turns into a tendency to chastise others as inferior. Then what was confidence becomes haughtiness instead, and is likely to hamper your effectiveness as an executive.

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