Monday, December 28, 2009

Creating a Positive Professional Image Part I

Knowing the specifics about presenting yourself in a positive way contributes to your success. Being a polished professional allows you to focus on others and be confident that your verbal and non-verbal messages are in alignment.

Your professional image is something that will contribute to your career path and success. People form opinions about us in the first 5-7 seconds of meeting. Sometimes those impressions are permanent and may be difficult to erase and change. By coordinating your professional image with your goals you will generate a positive image that will facilitate your career path and bring you many opportunities. Sometimes you do not know what people are thinking about you but will react to you and provide something to you simply on how you present yourself.

The more you practice these techniques the easier they become. I find it helpful to choose one of the items below per week and focus in on it until it feels comfortable and brings you results. If you take on too many changes at one time it makes it challenging to track your progress and see results.

Your head is a key feature in your body and in maintaining professional presence. It comprises all of your senses and has the main feature your eyes! By being present and direct with people through eye contact and focus you develop relationships that bring results. To make contact itÕs important to maintain a neural head position. This means that your head rests easily on your neck and shoulders and doesnÕt move too much or bobbles. You want people to focus with you and not be distracted.

As your head falls into place then you begin to stop moving around and shifting your weight and being hard to engage with. It is important to stand tall, with both feet planted on the ground. This gives you strength, confidence and allows you to engage with people in ways that bring results and rapport. Your body carriage and your visual presence makes a huge difference in how you are received and taken seriously. Check your posture to see that your shoulders aren't slumping in front of you and that your spine is aligned with your hips.

When you stand tall and are present you command confidence and attention. When these aspects are present you naturally listen and hear people. By taking time to hear people and be present with them allows you to find areas of commonality and engagement. A successful professional has incredible control over their presence and focus contributing to how they think. Be a person who generates a thoughtful presence by creating the time to really get to know and understanding people.

Here is an exercise for today to work with. The first step is to focus your attention on how you walk into a room. Specifically place your awareness on how your feet hit the floor, whether its heel or toes first, are you confident, hesitant, etc? How erect is your posture is, is your head in line with your shoulders, do you have your hands at your side naturally? and what are you choosing to look at? The more you keep your gaze at eye level and looking into peopleÕs eyes or their third eye (space between the eyebrows) or slightly above the heads of people you are more likely to be energized and confident.

In our Part II blog I will speak about slowing down, simplify your movements, and speaking.

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