Joel Garfinkle

Presidents and CEOs talk about Executive Presence as a number one quality they seek in potential leaders. What is it, exactly? Do people on your team have it? How do you foster that quality where others aren’t thinking to look? In my talk, “Executive Presence: Four Ways to Convey Confidence and Command Respect as a Leader,” I break down the aspects of building Executive Presence, and talk about the reasons why some excellent candidates are hiding within your own organization, right now. If you want to know why some of your greatest resources might be going unnoticed, read on.

  1. Unconventional: Think of the unusual characters on your team – the scientists, the technical staff, the introverts and the members with unconventional experience or education. They could be women in a male-dominated field, or minorities or foreign-born citizens from your international offices. Often, these team members are overlooked because they don’t fit the stereotypical expectations for how executive leadership should look or act. You can help change that perception by providing the coaching and training they need to change perceptions and enhance visibility to their accomplishments.
  2. Unassuming: Many people feel uncomfortable stepping forward, being in the spotlight, or leading the charge with big ideas. Whether they come from a culture or upbringing where drawing attention or challenging authority were taboo, or they lack confidence in the value they bring to the table, you can help deferential team members find their voice and rise to the occasion. They have great ideas, and you can provide the opportunities to build the skills to confidently share them to a wider audience.
  3. Unpromoted: Similarly, people often feel discomfort at the idea of “tooting their own horn” and instead hope that their hard work and accomplishments speak for themselves. Unfortunately, this is often not the case and great effort goes unnoticed or is attributed to others. The good news is that there are a variety of ways to respectfully and positively self-promote, including gaining the ear of a mentor/advocate like you. With proper coaching and your assistance, you can help improve your quiet team members’ perception and influence in the company.
  4. Unorganized: If you have leaders who have great ideas, loads of charisma and a convincing style, but who struggle with productivity and planning, you may have an untapped goldmine waiting for some executive training. Many people are challenged by focus and staying on task – with the right tools, someone with time management and planning issues can start to realize the potential of their great insights become a shining star in your company.

Don’t seek new talent until you’ve invested in the underutilized members of your existing team. Guaranteed, there are several overlooked leaders in your organization just waiting to be uncovered by someone looking with the right lens. Help them build the skills to strengthen their Executive Presence and you will make your company stronger as a whole.

Joel Garfinkle is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in the U.S., having worked with many of the world’s leading companies, including Oracle, Google, Amazon, Deloitte, The Ritz-Carlton, and Starbucks. He is the author of 7 books and over 300+ articles on leadership. He is a sought-after speaker and corporate trainer that has delivered more than 1000 workshops, speeches and keynote addresses.


  1. Thanks so much for your input, Cindy. It was truly a pleasure to work with the leaders and rising stars at your event. Watching people develop their confidence brings me tremendous fulfillment, and I am grateful for the opportunity.

  2. Joel presented his workshop on Executive Presence to our Cleveland IMS audience in 2018. He received some of our highest ratings for the year.
    What I appreciate about his take on Executive Presence is that it is not a one size fits all. It is about being the best version of YOU, and having the self awareness and confidence to let that best version of you shine through. You don’t have to be boastful, or egotistical, but simply comfortable in your own skin, and respectful to others. Well done, Joel.

  3. looking forward to having Joel in Houston in Aug.

    1. Thank you, Robert. I’m looking forward to the upcoming speaking engagement myself. We will have fun and make a difference in a lot of people’s lives.

  4. Thank you Joel. I agree, companies should be spending time investing in their people and finding out their true talents.

    I’m sure there are many hidden gems in a lot of organizations.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Joe. It’s leaders like you who have what it takes to guide their team to reach its full potential. By mentoring your people and supporting their growth, you achieve lasting effects from presentations such as mine.

  5. Joel,

    I wanted to thank you for a great 2 days !!! …February 12th in the IMS NJ Region and February 13th in the IMS NY Region.

    I appreciate your complete effort to make each day a wonderful experience for the attendees. You were very sensitive and in tune with the needs of the IMS member company executives. Everyone really enjoyed your interactive learning sessions. You were very observant and worked the room and tried throughout the day to personalize the day by encouraging the attendees to make every effort to grow and improve their executive presence techniques while in the class. Each walked away having learned more about their executive presence strengths as well as worked on areas needed for improvement. They left armed with effective techniques that they knew how to utilize because you made sure they spent the day improving themselves.

    Your presentation was very , very effective. Many thanks for everything.


    1. I’m thrilled that my presentation had such a profound effect on the participants, Evangelia. Thank you so much for sharing this feedback. Having the opportunity to catalyze lasting growth in today’s current and aspiring leaders is truly humbling. I feel honored to have had the opportunity to work with you and the other talented leaders in attendance.

  6. Excellent advice for all those hard working and talented people in all kind of organizations, who need guidance on what it really takes to move up one more step in their career aspirations.
    Dear Joel, we were very fortunate to attend your seminars here in DC, and the teams of of our IMS member organizations are very appreciative of all that you shared with us.
    We look forward to seeing you again.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Spiro. I greatly enjoyed working with you and getting to know you and the other talented participants. I have no doubt that they will continue to flourish in their careers, due to their own self-motivation and the guidance of supportive leaders like you.

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