Developing a Professional Presence

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Professional presence

Professional presence is a dynamic blend of poise, self confidence, control, and style that empowers us to be able to command respect in any situation. Once acquired, it permits us to project a confidence that others can quickly perceive the first time they meet us.

The importance of making a good first impression

A positive first impression can be thought of as the first step in building a long-term relationship.

The Primary Effect

The development of professional presence begins with a full-appreciation of the first impression. The tendency to form and retain impressions quickly at the time of an initial meeting illustrates what social psychologist call a primacy effect in the way people perceive one another.

The general principle is that initial information tends to carry more weight than information received later. First impressions establish the mental framework within which a person is viewed, and information acquired later is often ignored or reinterpreted to coincide with this framework.

The First Few Seconds

When two people meet, their potential for building a relationship can be affected by many factors. Within a few moments, one person or the other may feel threatened, offended or bored.

Assumptions versus Facts

The impressions you form of another person during the initial contact is made up both assumptions and facts. Most people tend rely more heavily on assumption during the initial meeting. If job applicants sit slumped in the chair, head bowed and shoulder slack, you might assume the person is not very interested in the position.

If the postal clerk fails to make eye contact during the transaction and does not express appreciation for your purchase, you may assume this person treats everyone with indifference.

Cultural Influence

Cultural influences often formed during the early years of our life, lead us to have impressions of some people even before we meet them. People often develop stereotypes of entire groups.

Although differences between cultures are often subtle, they can lead to uncomfortable situations.

Many American companies are attempting to create a new kind of workplace where cultural and ethnic differences are treated as assets, not annoyances. Yet some employees feel pressure to conform to dress and grooming standards that their employers consider “mainstream”

The Image You Project

Image is a term used to describe how other people feel about you. In every business or social setting, your behaviors and appearance communicate a mental picture that others observe and remember. This picture determines how they react to you.

Think of image as a tool that can reveal your inherent qualities, your competence, your attitudes, and your leadership potential. If you wish to communicate your professional capabilities and create your own brand, begin by scrutinizing your attitudes; only then can you invest the time and energy needed to refine and enhance your personal image.

The image you project is very much formed by variety of factors such as below :

* Voice quality
* Handshake
* Surface language
* Entrance and Carriage
* Facial expression
* Versatility
* Self-confidence
* Integrity
* Competence
* Manners
* Dressing and Grooming
* Positive attitude

Surface Language

Many of the assumptions we develop regarding other people are based on surface language, a pattern of immediate impression conveyed by what we see – in other words, by appearance.

The clothing you wear, your hairstyle, the fragrances you use, and the jewelry you display all combine to make a statement about you to others.

Bixler suggests that those making career wardrobe decisions should keep in mind that three things haven’t changed:

If you want the job, you have to look the part. Establish personal dress and...
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