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The impressions we make on others can have a major impact on networking, building our own business, working with others and our earning capacity. So give yourself an edge and take this opportunity to reflect on how you can enhance your presence, impact and influence to help achieve your personal and professional goals.
1. Understand yourself: A first step in developing your personal impact, presence and authority is identifying what it is that you want to project to others. What are your strengths? What are your values? How do you want others to see you? How do you want to be? Real presence and impact comes from being congruent at all these levels. You need to understand yourself – your personality and your preferences.
2. Truly listen to the other person: When you are meeting people in a networking or other room, take your time to really, really listen to what they have to say. Your aim is to zone in on the other person so that you give them 100% of your time and attention. Making the other person feel as if they are really being heard, will increase your impact, presence and influence significantly.
3. Mind what and how you speak: Critical is what you say and how you say it. Some people want to tell others everything they know. Instead, communicate in a clear and concise manner. Do not give a dissertation as an answer to a question. Engage people in conversation. Don’t talk at them, talk with them. If you have expertise in a specific area, make two or three points. Don’t overload people with all the details. Speak from your experience and in a voice of authority. Don’t rush your words. Avoid phrases like “I think”, “it might be”. These phrases diminish the power of what you have to say
4. Watch your gestures: Research in social psychology suggests that larger, expansive gestures imply a confident person, while small, close to the body gestures imply the opposite. Practise gesturing in front of a mirror. This may feel awkward at first but, once you feel less self-conscious, it will prove valuable to your awareness of your impact on others. Keep gestures fluid and easy – jerky or rapid movements suggest lack of confidence.
5. Be true to yourself: Don’t be fake. People won’t trust you. Authenticity is essential. If you’re a shrinking violet don’t try to be the life and soul. You’ll have maximum impact and presence when you’re true to yourself. Be honest with yourself, learn who you are and ask others who are non-biased for occasional feedback.
6. Inspire others: Inspire and motivate others. Think about a person who has inspired you, those people who have encouraged and lifted us to a new level. The respect and trust for them rises when they inspire others. When people feel inspired when they are around you then they will want to be around and follow you. Take time to inspire and motivate the people around you.
7. Be consistent : The most important thing is to be consistent in your impact. If you’re one person on Monday and a different person on Tuesday, people will get confused. Once you’re clear about who you are and the perception you want others to have of you, it’s essential your impact, presence and influence are the same with different people and across situations.
How do you make sure that you develop that certain mystique of personal presence? Understand that there really is no mystery after all. Day by day, present yourself with awareness and intention as you inch closer to your goal of strong impact.
As ever, I look forward to standing in your service.