Leadership and Management

Mastering the Unwritten Rules of Executive Presence

How to Construct a Confident, Captivating Professional Persona

Instructor: Chris Savos

Who Is This Course For?

This course is for anyone who wants to be seen as a more effective, trusted, and respected professional. You’ve probably worked hard to develop the expertise and skills required to succeed, but unfortunately that isn’t always enough. To live up to your full potential and to advance in most organizations, you must pair an underlying competence with a package of qualities that encourages people to believe you and believe in you, to trust you, and, for aspiring leaders, to follow you. This package is known as executive presence.

Executive presence isn’t just for executives. Everyone in the workplace consciously and unconsciously communicates their competence to bosses, coworkers, employees, and customers, regardless of rank.  It starts your first day on the job. In fact, it starts before your first day, as executive presence will play a critical role in your chances of getting hired. It’s never too early—or too late—to start working on that presence. The good news is that a more effective presence can be taught, and that’s exactly what this course does: it teaches you how to always present your best professional self.



This course will give you a head start on making the transition to the working world and will help you come across in interviews and on the first day of work as a serious professional others will want on their team.



No matter how good your work is, your effectiveness as an analyst will depend on how you personally come across to your peers, bosses, and clients. Mastering the rules of executive presence with the help of this course will help you maximize your impact.



If you’re a new or experienced supervisor, your success depends on your employees trusting and respecting you. If your presence fails to communicate a balance of competence and approachability, everything you try to do as a manager will be harder, and you are unlikely to ever be seen as a leader. This course will help you project the proper balance in your presence.

Become More Purposeful in the Professional Presence You Project

This course will make you more aware of when and how other people judge you and will give you practical advice for meeting their expectations and for always putting your best foot forward while remaining authentic to who you are and want to be.

Be More Confident

Learn how to appear and be more confident without going overboard to the point where your competence turns people off.

Communicate More Effectively

Get sound advice about how to improve your face-to-face and written communication in ways that bolster your executive presence.

Look the Part

Discover how your physical appearance affects your executive presence and learn how to crack the dress code where you work.

What People Are Saying About This Course

“The course is awesome!  One of the best, if not the best, courses I have ever taken.  Thank you!”

“The material was presented in a well-organized and thoughtful manner. Interjecting with real life examples really helped drive the points home.”

“Loved this course. I really appreciated the acknowledgement that ‘things aren’t always fair’ but there are ways to improve your chances of handling unfair situations in the best way possible… Highly recommend!”

“I thought the content was fantastic and extremely important information for anyone who wants to find ways to improve themselves.”

What You'll Get

Video Content


Course Transcript


Downloadable Extras


What You'll Learn

In this course, you’ll learn:

  • Exactly what executive presence is and isn’t and why other people’s perception of you, particularly your bosses’, can matter just as much as your ability to carry out your job responsibilities
  • The ways you are formally and informally assessed, how different groups may judge you, and how each of those groups tends to be looking for something different from your presence
  • Gravitas, the most critical element of executive presence, including what it is, why it’s so important, and how to make it work for you
  • How to ensure your face-to-face, virtual, and written communication all enhances the presence you hope to project
  • How your appearance influences your presence and how other people perceive your professionalism when they first meet you
  • The secret ingredient of executive presence that, if added properly, will make you seem more charismatic, confident, and appealing
  • Why feedback on your presence is so critical and rare and what you can and should do to get it

Course Content

Unit 1 – What Is Executive Presence?

  • Opening video 
  • What Is Executive Presence 
  • Perception and Presence 

Unit 2 – Perception and Presence

  • Why Should You Care About Your Presence? 
  • How You Are Formally Assessed 
  • How You Are Informally Assessed

Unit 3 – Gravitas: The Foundation of Presence

  • Gravitas: The Foundation of Presence 
  • Confidence: The Source of Personal Power
  • Confidence: The Source of Social Power 

Unit 4 – A Dozen Ways to Be More Confident

Unit 5 – Communication: The Language of Presence

Unit 6 – Appearance: The Third Rail of Presence

  • The Challenge of Appearance 
  • Appearance’s Influence on Presence 
  • The Dress Code Dilemma 
  • Cracking the Code 

Unit 7 – The Secret Ingredient in the Most Alluring Executive Presences

  • The Secret Ingredient 
  • Situational Presence 

Unit 8 – The Mystery of the Missing Feedback

  • Our Spectacular Feedback Failure 

Unit 9 – Parting Thoughts

  • Closing Video 
  • Tip Sheets
  • Selected Readings

Meet Your Instructor

Dr. Chris Savos

Dr. Chris Savos is dedicated to helping analysts everywhere build great careers.  In addition to developing courses for Proficiency1, he designs and delivers unique in-person leadership, analytic, and professional skills training programs to a range of clients in the Intelligence Community and the private sector.

Chris has extensive experience as an executive manager, leader, and analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), where he worked for 22 years and earned the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal, the Agency’s highest award for career service.  Chris successfully led analytical units that covered sensitive issues in the Middle East and South and East Asia. He was also the CIA’s first Lead Talent Officer for the Directorate of Analysis and oversaw talent management and development programs for the Agency’s analytic workforce.

Chris knows what makes analytic products work, what causes them to fail, and how to teach analysts to improve their writing. He has reviewed thousands of products as a leader of analytic units at the CIA and many more as an analytic writing instructor since leaving the Agency.

Chris earned a BA in government from Dartmouth College and a PhD in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. You can learn more about him at www.chrissavos.com.

Chris Savos

Try a sample lecture

What Is Executive Presence?

This lecture is part of the JTG Proficiency1 course Mastering the Unwritten Rules of Executive Presence by Chris Savos.