Sales Tip: Executive Presence - Appearance

Sales Tip: Executive Presence - Appearance

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Mark Shonka

Mark Shonka Mark Shonka

In our last Tip, we talked about the topic of “Executive Presence”, and how important it can be to our careers and our jobs as sales and account management professionals. This month we are going to take a deeper look at developing strong executive presence.

There are four key elements that contribute to Executive Presence, and the first of these is “appearance”. One reason that appearance is such a key element is because it has a huge impact on first impressions. First impressions help to create the foundation for whether or not a relationship is built and serve to make us memorable.

Here are factors to consider regarding appearance, as well as some best practices:


  • Wear clothes that fit well and enhance your appearance.
  • Dress at or slightly above the level of the audience. If you’re not sure how the audience dresses, be sure to ask. Wearing a 3-piece suit to an oil refinery or board shorts in a board room won’t create the first impression we desire.


In this age of a multi-generational workforce and the increasing prevalence of virtual meetings, it’s easy to think that anything goes from a grooming perspective. However, grooming still matters. Not only does good grooming enhance your appearance, it also increases your confidence.


  • Your posture – and whether you are sitting or standing – matters. Avoid slouching and sit or stand up straight, and you will strengthen your overall appearance.
  • Try to have an open posture, which shows your desire to engage and learn.

Virtual presence

  • Your professional online or virtual appearance also makes an impact. Use a professional headshot on your LinkedIn profile and leave the vacation and baby photos for personal profiles on social media.
  • If you use personal forms of social media, be aware that customers and prospective future employers may be able to view these. Post accordingly and consider settings to limit visibility to only those you are connected with. 

One last element of appearance to consider is your facial expression. These expressions infer how we are feeling, so smile to convey that you are happy to be there! 

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