BLOG: Leadership Insights

Get Email Updates

Executive presence is not just an act

March 10, 2015

But you can learn how to improve your executive presence from an actor (among others).

Kate Nugent is a consultant and coach as well as a facilitator and Director of Product & Training for the Ariel Group, Linkage faculty member, and an experienced actor who has taught acting and improvisation for more than 15 years. She uses the skills she developed on the stage to help leaders develop the foundational skills and behaviors of executive presence and shares some valuable insights about the importance of presence in virtual meetings. 

“What we’ve found is that the ability to be present is your greatest ally in this brave new world of virtual communication,” she writes. “Here are some strategies for staying present when you are leading a virtual meeting or webinar:

  1. “Take five minutes before you log on. An actor would never walk on a stage cold. They always take time to get present before they perform, and let’s face it, you are about to engage in a mini-performance. Take three deep breaths, clear your desk and close any windows you don’t need open. This ritual will clear your mind and help you engage in the task at hand.
  2. “Over-communicate. When people are logging on or calling in, make sure to greet them and let them know the process, i.e. “Good morning! We’ll be kicking off in just a few minutes, once we have critical mass on the phone. Thanks in advance for muting your line.” It’s a way to infuse the meeting’s kick-off with energy instead of dead space. If you can see the attendee names, greet them by name.
  3. “If you can’t fix it, feature it. If you get feedback that the video is out of sync with the audio on the streaming video, let everyone know: “I’m getting some feedback that my video is out of sync with the audio; we’re using a lot of bandwidth here, so that’s why you’re getting the ‘dubbed foreign movie effect.’” As long as your audience knows you’re okay with it, they’ll be okay with it.”

Don’t miss out on the chance to learn from Kate and the rest of Linkage’s faculty at the Leadership Summit for Women in Academic Medicine and Healthcare taking place in Ann Arbor, Michigan, later this month.

It’s not too late to learn from women who are truly making a difference on the stage, and in the board room, and in labs all over the country.


Dark haired woman watches from audience of conference event

Women in Leadership Institute

NOV. 13–16, 2023 | Orlando, Florida, or Virtual
A 4-day immersive learning experience designed to equip women leaders with actionable strategies to overcome the hurdles women often face in the workplace.

Posted In

Blog|Women in Leadership

Enrich Your inbox

with timely, relevant leadership insights

Join more than 15,000 others and subscribe to Linkage Leadership Insights: your resource for leadership development-related topics that matter to you, from the advancement of women leaders to diversity and inclusion and purposeful leadership. Plus, get all the latest Linkage news delivered to your inbox.

Related Posts

All Insights

Start Your Journey

Speak with a Linkage expert today