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Sylvia Ann Hewlett is an economist and the founding president of the Center for Work-Life Policy where she directs the “Hidden Brain Drain”—a task force of 35 global companies committed[…]

In this Big Think+ preview clip, author and economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett explains that the distance between merit and success is bridged by subtle, leaderly signals communicated through your actions. By mastering the essential tenets of Executive Presence, you ensure your ideas and ambitions won’t get scuttled by others’ lack of confidence in your conduct.

Sylvia Ann Hewlett: Executive presence or EP is simply what you signal to the world, what you telegraph to the world in terms of, first, your gravitas. Do you really know your stuff cold? Do you give the impression that you're three questions deep in your field of expertise? Perhaps do you have intellectual horsepower? How do you signal that? That's the gravitas piece. Secondly, do you have really serious communication skills? Can you get your ideas across? I mean, can you be heard? Because no matter how profound your gravitas, if you can't somehow get it across it becomes dead in the water. And then finally, presentation of self; the way you dress; your body movement; the way you stand and walk. All of this, incredibly critical in allowing your gravitas again to get across.

So the great thing about this piece of work, we went out to 4000 professionals around the U.S. in all kinds of different sectors and 300 leaders. It was a representative sample so we do know what our colleagues and what our bosses are really looking for on this front. And it's fascinating because it turns out there really is almost a checklist out there that we can work with, and much of it is very learnable.