Perhaps you’re looking to advance your career. Maybe you were just promoted to a new position, or you’re simply looking to improve your public speaking skills in the role you’ve inhabited for years. The question then becomes, how should you present yourself as a senior executive? What does that mean and look like?  

To speak like a senior executive, follow these essential rules:

Senior executive speaker on stage with a leadership presence
On-Stage Successful Female Speaker Presents Technological Product, Uses Remote Control for Presentation, Showing Infographics, Statistics Animation on Screen. Live Event / Device Release.

Be authentic.  

I’ve always enjoyed observing the CEO of Delta Airlines, Ed Bastian, speak. He seems to always be in control—as though he is the pilot on a Delta flight.

One of my favorite examples was an interview on Bloomberg where he mentioned how his mother will fly Delta and brag about her son being the CEO, then applaud at the end of the pre-recorded safety announcement in which her son is the star of the show. He exudes personality and charm when telling this story because he’s being his authentic self, and you can’t help but feel that he is genuine and trustworthy.  

As the interview continues, you get the sense that Bastian is talking to ALL of us, not just to Bloomberg. He takes control of the room and it’s clear that he is at ease under pressure. And it is because of his innate ease that his authentic self comes through.

He comes across as someone who is in charge, yet approachable, which is one of the essential keys to success when you’re looking to speak like a senior executive.  

Bring big picture ideas to inspire. 

It’s impossible for you to know what everyone does in your company minute by minute, hour by hour, or even day after day. And these are not the details you should focus on anyway because if you did, you’d be a micro-manager and that is not your job. You should spend your time focusing on how to empower those around you to do their job well so they feel comfortable approaching you when they do need your help.

One way to empower your employees is to give them a sense of control over their work. When workers feel in control and are allowed to make choices, they have a sense of pride in their work.  

It is your job to present the big picture goals and ideas to inspire those under you. Skip the minutia and get to the point. What is it that you want to inspire in your employees? What do you want to convey as a company entity? What do you want to demonstrate to reflect your company culture? These are the areas that will help you not only gain trust, but demonstrate leadership.  


You cannot speak like a senior executive if you lack listening skills. It is important to truly listen to those around you at every level, and you must ACTIVLEY listen. That doesn’t mean not talking so others can talk, or only listening so that you can respond. It means truly listening and then developing a response only after the other person has presented all their ideas.

If it’s your turn to listen and you’re focusing on how you want to respond, you are not actually listening.   

It is crucial to really hear all the ideas and points before you are able to formulate your ideas and points in response. This is truly listening. You need to be able to hear EVERY point of view to make informed decisions and be a true leader. Once you have legitimately listened and then formed your ideas from others, you will be able to speak like a leader and communicate more effectively as a senior executive.  

By: Vanessa Wasche