I recently re-read a book called "Creating Personal Presence," which is all about using body language and other social queues to help yourself get ahead in a professional environment. According to the author, Dianna Booher, personal presence is hard to define but easy to recognize. Whether you're a seasoned public speaker or a novice business professional, this book has great tips for everyone. If you don't have time to read the book, here are some of my favorite pointers:
The message starts in the listener's head
Stand up straight, take a deep breath and inhale enough air so you can speak with power. What you have to say is only half the battle and the delivery is really key. People will react to your voice quality first, and your message second, so don't let your voice give away any nerves you may have lingering. It's like reading a child a bedtime story: it's not the words that put them to sleep, but rather the melodic tone of your voice.
On commanding the floor
If you're in a meeting with someone who tends to interrupt, take control of the floor early on. Speak with a firm voice and lay the groundwork of where you plan to go. You can say, "I'd like to point out three reasons why we should be recommending this course of action..." If the interrupter tries to barge in, use a firm voice and say, "Please let me finish with my two other reasons..." and go on.
Think like Russell Wilson
Strategic thinking has a great deal to do with personal presence. Russell Wilson said, "Why not us?" Similarly, this book encourages you to think, "why not?" Why not think about what others are doing and ask why can't it be done differently? Don't be a contrarian just for the sake of being one, but there are times when it is totally appropriate to think this way in order to streamline protocols, discover new opportunities and think outside the box.
I also especially like Booher's "Rules for Clear Communication." This goes for speaking and writing, and I couldn't be more on board with these as a great refresher for any communications pro:
1. Strive for simple. Don't use a long word when you could use a short one. 2. Use strong verbs and specific nouns to state your main ideas. 3. Use an active voice, not passive. 4. Be ready to state your case, but don't come off as rehearsed. 5. Speak, and then listen.
These are just some of the gems the book has to offer. If you have any personal presence tips you've found useful, tweet us about them @CuratorPR!