A fellow “gymnastics mom” and I were talking the other day while our girls were at practice.
She had hired a recent college graduate for a sales position; bright, eager, and hardworking… There was only one thing she noticed since hiring them. While they were incredibly professional, and had presence and personality – they needed to work on their professional presence.
I am not of the opinion that professional presence is something folks automatically have or don’t have. It’s something that takes thought and work to achieve.
What is “Professional Presence?”
Professional presence is your personal, professional value proposition. Your very own brand promise, if you will. Simply put, it’s an amalgam of qualities that are measured in people’s perceptions about your character, your abilities, and your worth to them and to the organization.
– Are you dressed appropriately and professionally for your environment? We’ve written before about how impressions are made within 7 seconds of meeting someone. Dressing appropriately is the first way to make a good impression.
– Do you show positive body language? Does your posture read as professional? Do you smile? Or does your posture come across as unapproachable?
– Record yourself speaking – that’s how you sound to others. It wasn’t until I heard myself on a podcast that I realized my laid back personality has a tendency to come across in my voice. Not necessarily a bad thing, but when you want to be taken seriously as an expert in a field, it’s something to take note of.
2. Expertise & Confidence
– Yes, expertise comes with learning and experience, which can lead to confidence. However, have the confidence in yourself to try new opportunities and roles in which you can learn and grow and gain the expertise that comes with that.
– One of my favorite quotes comes from the movie, Almost Famous, “The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.” In other words, don’t try to fit someone else’s mold. The most successful business people in the world are those that stayed true to who they were but weren’t afraid to engage in frank conversations, collaborate and grow.
So, is the bright new hire who currently needs to work on some of these qualities doomed? Not at all. Stay tuned…