How to Develop a Presence within Your Company
People who make heads turn when they enter a room have a presence. These individuals effortlessly command attention when they speak, naturally put others at ease, ooze confidence, and take charge when a situation warrants it. Essentially, they’re able to get the job done and look good doing it.
Is it as easy as it looks? Probably not. While there is undoubtedly a percentage of people who radiate enough charisma naturally when they come through the door, for most of us, establishing a presence takes work. Whether you've recently landed a job or have been quietly doing your work for years and want to develop more of a presence to help your journey upward in your career, we've got some tips for you.
1. Be visible
Stowing yourself away in your cubicle or shyly keeping your head down in your work isn't going to get you noticed. Even if your projects sparkle and people know your name, if they have no clue who you are when you walk into a room, it's time to be more visible.
- Join in on meetings where appropriate.
- Attend work-related parties, ceremonies, or other social events.
- Volunteer for a cause that’s important to the company.
- Offer to mentor a new employee.
- Expand your circle of influence, and build collaborative relationships.
The key here is to always be looking for opportunities to network within your company.
2. Hone your communication skills
Historically, skilled communicators have held high social status and influence. Most employers put communication and interpersonal skills at the top of the soft skills wish list in their candidate pools. Having a strong ability to communicate is one of the most important professional skills to possess.
Skilled communication is more than robotically citing figures, data, or facts—it's about drawing an audience and sparking passion. When sharing information, no matter how boring it might be, connect the dots, and tell people a story (but don't be too long-winded). This type of communication approach goes a long way towards developing a stronger presence.
Tip: Be an active listener and, when you speak or listen, make others feel special.
3. Take control of your body language
How you physically present yourself will influence how others perceive you. Body language makes up anywhere from 50 to 70 percent of communication. The way you express yourself physically and vocally matters a great deal.
- Stand tall and be confident—avoid slouching.
- Always make eye contact and place attention on the person who is speaking.
- Give firm handshakes when greeting people.
- Avoid folding your arms or placing behind your back—keep your arms relaxed and by your sides.
- Avoid touching your face-this makes you appear nervous.
- Keep focused on your conversations—always "be present" when speaking with someone at work. Don't get distracted thinking about tasks or what you'll be doing on Friday night.
- Be personable and approachable. Remember to smile!
Nonverbal communication plays a huge role in how people view you. It helps others judge whether you're approachable, likable, trustworthy, or confident—all important attributes to career success. You want to be sure you can effectively communicate these through your body language.
4. Establish your personal brand
Building your personal brand is a way to establish yourself outside of your company identity or your job title—you don't want to be pigeonholed into a specific role or be known by someone else's definition of you. Take control of your professional reputation and presentation.
- Shine up your LinkedIn profile and other social media accounts.
- Share your skills, knowledge, and experience.
- Showcase any unique qualities or talents.
- Develop consistency in your personal branding while simultaneously demonstrating diversity in who you are and what you can do.
Most importantly though, be authentic. Setting yourself up to be someone you're not will eventually backfire. Just be yourself.
Remember, personal branding is only one piece of developing a presence. It may get heads to turn initially, but you need to be able to back up what you're "selling" in order to get that job, project, or promotion.
Bottom line, your presence hinges on how others in the workplace evaluate you. Carefully cultivate your presence and see the difference in how you’re received when you enter a room.