What does having a professional presence look like in a world full of zoom calls, masks and working at home?
Let’s start with presence. Presence is letting the most powerful version of yourself shine through. I like to cite the renowned leadership expert Sylvia Ann Hewlett, who defines “presence” as a combination of gravitas, communication, and appearance. Together, these elements form an impression of trustworthiness, competence, and authenticity.
Now let’s look at professionalism. Many people tie this to how one dresses. But it is more than that. It is confidence, communication and how you dress.
Confidence. If you want to learn how to be more confident, you must be willing to change your state. Your state is essentially your mood at any given time of day. Your mood is influenced by how you feel about yourself at that point in time. The great news is you are in full control of your choice. Confidence is a matter of choice. You can let go of the stories you hold at any moment and create a new experience within yourself that will directly affect your state of mind and thus, your confidence.
Communicate. To communicate effectively, it’s important to regulate your reactions, recognize emotions in others, and manage your responses. Let other people speak first. Ask questions and make them feel understood. Remember to smile, make eye contact, and lean forward. By staying in the moment and maintaining focus on the conversation, you can ask the right questions and lay the foundation for trust and openness to your influence.
Dress your part. There should be a strong connection between who you are, who you want to be, and how you look. If you want to be successful in the financial sector, for instance, you need to look like someone who understands and can be trusted with money. Identify the people who are successful where you work, and study how they put themselves together. Focusing on your appearance can also go a long way toward boosting your internal confidence.