Monthly Archives: November 2010

November 2010: 5 Steps to Professional Presence

5 Steps to Professional Presence: How to Project Confidence, Competence, and Credibility at Work, by Susan Bixler & Lisa Scherrer Dugan, 2001.

This is one of my favorite books. I have used it consistently in my career development trainings.

Bixler & Dugan provide a wealth of very practical tips and strategies to make sure that you are presenting yourself in the best light you can in today’s competitive workplace.

Their ideas range from making that first impression, business etiquette, developing social savvy and creating a powerful virtual presence. These are areas that can’t be neglected. You may have superior technical skills, but if you look like you just fell off the turnip truck, your career will be in trouble!

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November Tip 2010: Sharpen Your Image to Stay Competitive

What is “professional presence”? It’s everything about how you present yourself from day one through the duration of every business relationship you have – formal and informal. It starts with the social etiquette that your mother taught you and continues to knowing how to present yourself in multiple diverse workplace environments. It’s not easy and we make mistakes but it’s critical to advancing in our personal and professional lives.

Professional presence is like a Norwegian glacier. There are the elements that we see on the surface – how we dress, shake hands, make conversation etc., and then there is so much more underneath the surface.

Beyond the surface presentation are those soft skills of how we inspire trust, establish our credibility, express our confidence and how we connect, communicate and collaborate with others. That’s “professional presence” and that’s the cutting edge if you want to stay at the top of your game.

5 Questions to Evaluate and Improve Your Professional Presence

  1. How do I enter a room? Like a bull in a china shop or with quiet confidence?
  2. How do others perceive me? In person? In my electronic communication?
  3. What is my reputation at work? Am I easy to work with or am I “high maintenance”?
  4. Do I know and practice basic business etiquette?
  5. Am I skilled at handling sticky situations wisely and with grace?


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