Executive presence is about your ability to inspire confidence. Wearing appropriate clothes can make you look professional and polished.
My wife, a professor of Mass Communication, was invited to the Manila gala night of the Moscow Academic Dance Theater early this year. I was her “plus one”. Since it was an event organized by the Russian embassy, we dressed up according to the occasion.
When we got to the venue, we were led to the buffet room where “power dressers” abound with the city Mayor and other officials, the President of the different Universities, and other dignitaries were dining. We didn’t spot any of our acquaintances who were also invited.
As I enjoyed the food and mingled with the other guests, wifey nudges me to go because rubbing elbows with high profile people is not her cup of tea. So even though I am enjoying myself, we left the buffet room and went to the auditorium.
After the show, we bumped into some friends who were dressed casually. We asked them why they weren’t in the buffet room earlier, and they said they had no idea there was one.
I thought about these and drawn these lessons:
(1) Wearing appropriate clothes shows our appreciation and respect for the host.
Almost all who were invited came with their casual everyday clothes, including our acquaintances. Thus, when we were ushered to the auditorium, “we” who were dressed better were led to the reserved seats section.
Many people dislike being judged by their attire, but this is an unavoidable reality. Therefore, a simple way to enhance our presence is to wear clothes appropriate for the occasion.
Even the Bible (Matthew 12:1-4) underscores the importance of dressing properly for an occasion.
(2) Executive presence can make us stand out from the rest, and usually given a distinct treatment
According to a Forbes article, “executive presence is about your ability to inspire confidence“. It also “determines whether you can gain access to opportunity“.
As soon as we arrived at the venue, the security officers saluted us, and the ushers led us to the buffet room. Which we figured is only for VIPs. We never considered ourselves as VIP, we’re just happy to be invited to a gala show. But maybe, because of how we dressed for the event, and perhaps my years of dealing with executives manifested.
(3) Our comfort zone can prevent us from exploring the opportunities that are available.
I have such a sweet and humble wife. Her presence and attitude is a surefire way to keep me grounded, but it also has a downside. She would question her own entitlement to something, even if she clearly deserves it. She tends to ask questions that would cast doubt on people’s mind.”Ang ending tuloy, parang nag gate crash kami“.
This experience shows how crucial it is to dress appropriately for an occasion, and how personal image and self confidence can influence our future. This is a valuable lesson for growth-seeking professionals.
Do you have a similar experience? We would love to read it in the comments section.