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EXECUTIVE PRESENCE: 20 Tips for Watching the Presidential Debates

EXECUTIVE PRESENCE:  20 Tips for Watching the Presidential Debates

election 2016

Candidates “are on the biggest stage in the world, handling three jobs at once. And they cannot fail at any single one of the three and win.”
-Samuel L. Popkin, Author
The Candidate What It Takes to Win – and Hold – the White House

As politics continue to take a mainstream position in the lives of many Americans for 2016, I would be remiss in not addressing that tomorrow evening, it is estimated that more than 80 to 180 million viewers will watch the First Presidential Debate for 2016.

While Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump address the traditional concerns of our Nation’s security and prosperity,  the concern for the “Presidential Image” will take center stage.


The political junkies (myself included), enjoy the updated research on the traditional lessons learned from the first televised Presidential Debate in 1960 between Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon and the recent 2012 Presidential Debates between Republican Nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. We have heard all the faux pas from the five o’clock shadow on television (Nixon), winking (Palin), humor (Reagan), checking watch (Bush), sighing (Gore) to a lack of aggressiveness (Obama). However, this year maybe a special year with a number looming issues as related to the future Commander in Chief’s Executive Presence.


Two of my favorite books serve as great reference material in preparing for viewing the upcoming Presidential Debates, Author Samuel L. Popkin’s, 2012 book, The Candidate What It Takes to Win – and Hold – the White House (CSPAN Book Review:

the candidate poplin











and Sylvie di Giusto’s 2014 book, The Image of Leadership How Leaders Package Themselves to Stand Out for the Right Reasons (Bestseller TV Video:

image guad











In both books we learn key ideas such as how some thwarted their campaigns, how US presidential candidates win elections and how to package and present yourself in a compelling way. Additionally, we learn why certain candidates won while others lost, self-confidence is crucial for those who want to get ahead, and why you must make the most of your physical assets and liabilities


Ninety-nine percent of the time, you will want to fulfill people’s expectations of who you are based on your appearance and communications.
-Sylvie di Giusto, Author
The Image of Leadership How Leaders Package Themselves to Stand Out for the Right Reasons

Here are 20 Nuggets to Remember in Watching the 2016 Presidential Debates:
1. As imperfect as this process is, the American presidential primary election usually yields the best candidates.
2. Candidates should accept their physical appearance, but package themselves in a compelling way.
3. Each type of candidate requires a different campaign strategy.
4. Convince voters that they understand them and their struggles.
5. How candidates package themselves will determine whether people respect them.
6. No matter the candidate’s body type or genetic heritage, self-confidence always will make them look like a winner.
7. People develop good or bad impressions within seven seconds of meeting someone new.
8. People judge candidate’s by their appearance, their friends and other relationships.
9. Candidates who can’t control how they look don’t appear to be leaders. Leaders seem to be in full control of their internal and external circumstances.
10. Presidential candidates join the race as “challengers,” “incumbents” or “successors.”
11. Present a vision for how their election will benefit the nation.
12. The “message box” is a tool candidates use to focus their image and communications, and to position themselves in relation to their opponents.
13. Must head a well-run, highly functional campaign; it foreshadows their ability to serve as America’s chief executive.
14. Dress one level higher than their current role.
15. Present the image people have of leaders.
16. To win the White House, you must succeed at three endeavors (convince voters of your empathy for them, vision, well run campaign)
17. US presidential candidates who seem destined to win often don’t.
18. Shift strategy seamlessly when outside forces demand it.
19. Understand that behavior, communication skills and “digital footprint” also convey your standing.
20. Professional imprint, includes attire, attitude and verbal communication.

2016In summary in reviewing the works of elections expert Samuel L. Popkin, a professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, and Professional image consultant Sylvie di Giusto, we question the validity of the American electoral system and wonder if it is truly a good or bad system? If the conflict of good vs bad actually yields the best qualified candidates for the period of time in our Nation? We all would agree that just as our Nation has evolved so has our political process, and it is best suited for the times we currently live within.

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Executive Presence: 10 Key Points to Keep Your Ego in Check

Executive Presence:  10 Key Points to Keep Your Ego in Check

egoby Terri L. Williams

“It’s okay if other people think you’re God, but you’re in trouble if you start believing it.”
-David Cornwell, Sports Attorney,




Inflated egos often undermine common sense and smart decision making. Three of my favorite articles, clarify actions by leaders, in which their ego negatively impact their performance Forbes Magazine, August 2014, published, “The No. 1 Reason Leaders Fall Short: Ego.”; The Wall Street Journal “The Case for Humble Executives”; and Harvard Business Review, “Three Ways to Keep Your Ego in Check,”:









1. Forbes Magazine, August 2014, published, “The No. 1 Reason Leaders Fall Short: Ego.” The author, Forbes Contributing Writer, Bruce Kasanoff, shares that Ego is a blinder. It stops you from processing information. It stops you from seeing the world as it is. Instead of seeing reality, you see The Me Show. You are so blinded by the beauty of your name in lights that you fail to realize the best leaders bring out the best in other people, not just themselves.








2. The Wall Street Journal, October 2015, published “The Case for Humble Executives”, Leaders with humility listen well, admit errors and are willing to share the limelight, which stresses that Some executives spend years developing humble listening skills.




3.  Harvard Business Review, December 2009, published, “Three Ways to Keep Your Ego in Check,” which shares that leaders have to believe in themselves — otherwise no one else will. Their conviction in their own abilities has to be strong as well as resilient, but such self-assurance cannot be allowed to become arrogance. So often when we see business leaders making poor decisions it seems as if their ego is speaking louder than their voice of reason.






Executive Presence Perspectives:
From an executive presence perspective, emotional intelligence is part of executive presence III Gravitas/ Leadership. In particular, it is the ability to engage your “people skills” which foster relationships with employees, stakeholders, and customers.













“People aren’t drawn to perfection; they are inspired and influenced by vulnerability, humility, and courage.”
-Jen Shirkani, Author

Jen Shirkani penned, Ego vs. EQ, How Top Leaders Beat 8 Ego Traps with Emotional Intelligence. She shares that Ego-driven leaders can sidestep the eight most dangerous traps that undermine success and learn to heed their EQ instead. While this information is not new ground, there are benefits from Shirkani’s helpful information and solid advice.

ego vs eq








In Jen’s video she speaks at a conference on emotional intelligence, and shares some unique examples of leaders whom are not aware of the effect of their ego, please review the video here:

In Ego vs EQ, Jen teaches us that there are three components of emotional intelligence (EQ) – “self- awareness, empathy and self-control”; how to follow your EQ instead of your ego; and what methods you can use to avoid slipping back into egotistical behaviors

10 Key Points to Keeping your Ego in Check
1. A “360-degree feedback” survey ensures a fair and balanced assessment of the competencies of executives.
“Once you rise to the upper ranks of the organization it can be very difficult to get objective feedback about your performance.” -Jen Shirkani, Author

2. Effective leaders acknowledge their shortcomings and welcome input; egotistical ones do not.
“As leader of the organization, your behavior – for good or for ill – is the primary model according to which everyone else acts.” -Jen Shirkani, Author

3. Emotional intelligence (EQ) skills matter more the higher you rise in your firm.
“Self-awareness – or recognizing what’s happening with you – will go a long way to help you avoid a full relapse into your old ways.” -Jen Shirkani, Author

4. Executives set an example and establish behavioral standards.
“Accepting that others can do a competent job will keep you focused on the important strategic work of an executive, instead of the nit-picking work of a subject matter expert.” -Jen Shirkani, Author

5. Executives’ self-appraisals often differ radically from others’ appraisals of them.
“When you hire others who live on your wavelength, you unintentionally create a support system of people who are not equipped to challenge you, to question your thinking.” -Jen Shirkani, Author

6. Leaders who are unwilling or unable to recognize their own deficiencies are much more likely to sabotage their careers.
“Without moments on the front line, leaders can easily become blind to what it’s like for rank-and-file employees leading the charge from the fore.” -Jen Shirkani, Author

7. Many executives fail to understand the distinction between “control” and “leadership.”
“Whether it is employee disengagement, lowered morale, increased turnover, or decreased motivation, the effects of falling into the ego traps are real and costly.” -Jen Shirkani, Author

8. Relinquishing control means stepping back, delegating responsibility and, most important, trusting in the outcome.
“If you feel that you must micromanage, then you don’t trust. And if you don’t trust, you place artificial limits on your company’s ability to grow.” -Jen Shirkani, Author

9. Sustainable organizational growth requires dissenting viewpoints and opinions.
“Sometimes executives need fundamental relationship skills that are simply outside their scope of traditional expertise and are not taught in business school.”
-Jen Shirkani, Author

10. Technical skills and knowledge have little bearing on leadership ability.
“Losing touch with your front line, or even being perceived that way because of a lack of visibility, is a surefire way to lose both your credibility and your employee loyalty.”
-Jen Shirkani, Author

Photos courtesy of Google images
Forbes Magazine, August 2014, “The No. 1 Reason Leaders Fall Short: Ego.”
The Wall Street Journal, October 2015, “The Case for Humble Executives.
Harvard Business Review, December 2009, Three Ways to Keep Your Ego in Check .
Jen Shirkani penned, Ego vs. EQ, How Top Leaders Beat 8 Ego Traps with Emotional Intelligence.

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