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The All-Inclusive Guide to Presenting Yourself Professionally

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When it comes down to deciding which employee is going to get a raise, or who would be most qualified for a particular job, employers look for a specific set of qualities that separate candidates. The goal here is to present yourself in a way that increases the likelihood of the successful acquisition of your goals and desires.

As an example, somebody who presents themselves with an air of calm, cool detachment is going to be seen as self-assertive and in control. There are several methods that can be employed for the purpose of creating a sense of self-image that other people will naturally gravitate to on a psychological level.

In this guide we are going to explore some of the key attributes that lead to a professional self-image that will pay dividends to those who employ it successfully in their day to day life.

The way you present yourself is the way people see you

This is a very simple but powerful statement, and understanding it can lead to a greater understanding of self awareness. Many people go through life without realizing that their posture, attitude, facial expressions, and mannerisms all lead to an outward appearance that other people take into account on a subconscious level and judge your character based on it, whether they are consciously aware of it or not. Usually this judgement is based on other people with similar attributes that they’ve seen in the past.

Here’s a list of helpful things you can do to greatly impact your personal appearance.

  • If you are scruffy, shave.
  • If you cringe when people make eye contact with you, put yourself into situations where you have the opportunity to meet new people such as pub socials, yoga class, game nights, etc. Check out local listings for this kind of stuff, there’s always groups in your community where you can get out and socialize.
  • Practice making strong eye contact. This is a hard one, and doesn’t come naturally for a lot of people and needs to be practiced to become second nature.
  • If you smell, take a shower. Don’t forget to get behind the ears!
  • Find clean, professional looking clothing. You can find top quality suits and dress shirts at second hand stores that won’t break your bank but will give you a professional edge over your competition simply through positive appearances.

“To this day, I don’t like people walking on stage not looking good. You have to look good. If you feel special about yourself then you’re going to play special.” – Benny Goodman

So after you’ve got the look, how do you prove you have what it takes?

Taking the steps mentioned above will have a massive impact on your outward appearance. A small amount of effort toward looking and feeling more professional will lead to massive changes in people’s perception of you.

Appearances mean everything with first impressions, and if you sound like you know what you are talking about, people are going to listen. Be confident in yourself and make sure you recognize your strengths and weaknesses, so you can play to your strengths and work on your weaknesses.

A great deal can come from solid planning, and maintaining a schedule book or other methods like keeping a planner or notebook, can help you stay organized and provide you with a predictable path that you can travel with some degree of clarity. Appearance stands for a lot, but having a plan to back it up stands for just as much.

The way you look gets you in the door, and having a solid pitch is what closes the deal. Keep your head up, but don’t lift your chin too high or people will perceive you as being cocky. The main thing is to look ahead like you know where you’re going, no matter where you are. Don’t ever look at the ground. You don’t want to be on the ground.

I’ve got what it takes, now how do I make a name for myself?

One of the key factors in people deciding whether or not to conduct business with you is your ability to coherently express your thoughts and opinions. It comes down to practice.

It’s always a great idea to consider writing a 30 second elevator speech. This is basically a few memorized sentences about who you are and what you do. Rehearse it over and over again in the mirror, to yourself- until you can say it flawlessly to other people without a hitch. Things you want to include in your elevator speech:

  • Your profession, and fields of interest
  • Your career goals / where you would like to see yourself in 5 years
  • Your qualifications and why somebody would want to hire you
  • A few brief examples of accomplishments you’ve had and jobs you’ve completed.
  • Naming a few of your previous employers or referencing colleagues you’ve done business with.

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein

There are many ways that you can make a name for yourself, but a professional image and having a solid plan of action are absolutely fundamental when it comes to proving your worth to potential clients and employers. There is no time like the present to begin working on your self image, and there’s plenty you can do right now to pursue your dreams, one step at a time.

It’s always a good idea to search online for tips and tricks regarding communication strategies because it can’t hurt to have a base level of understanding when it comes to psychology.

Being aware of body language can help you gear your pitch to produce better results when talking to various people. By mirroring and countering body language you can greatly influence the direction of a conversation and steer it towards mutually beneficial agreements between yourself and your clients. This is all part of communication, and a vital part of your outward self image.

Consider looking these things up on youtube, there are plenty of people who make tutorials and guides on body language, and can provide hundreds of hours of research in a short amount of time.

In a video, it is easy to accurately depict these forms of communication with a short explanation and a visual example. It’s a great idea to look into these videos as they are immensely helpful in steering your body language tendencies into a positive, new direction.

What interpersonal techniques do you use when meeting people? Leave a comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Eric Denbak has a degree in Solar Technology, and is currently attending school for Computer Systems Technology. He writes articles and web content as an independant contractor available for hire. He can write from a variety of styles in a competent, professional manner. He is open to business proposals and mutually beneficial agreements.

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