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Professional Presence Part 1: It Starts With Credibility

A term you may have heard is ‘executive presence’—it’s one of those buzzwords that
comes up a lot. However, it’s not just executives who need presence, which is why I
often use the term ‘professional presence’ instead.

In its simplest terms, professional presence is about your ability to inspire
confidence—inspire confidence in colleagues that you’re the person to involve in high-
visibility projects, inspire confidence among peers that you’re capable and reliable, and
inspire confidence among senior management that you have the potential for great
achievements. People with professional presence work well under pressure,
communicate clearly, and have a confident, capable persona.

Over 20 years of coaching leaders who make an impact, I have observed three key
factors that are part of their professional presence and have added to their success.

Credibility + Self-confidence + Resilience = PROFESSIONAL PRESENCE

Your credibility is crucial to your professional presence. Merriam-Webster
Dictionary defines credibility as, "The quality or power of inspiring belief."

There are four aspects of credibility.

1. Competence.

This is where your skills and expertise in your specific job function
are crucial. Is there anything you need to do to be more competent in your
present position? Do you make time to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, and
do you partner with colleagues and get feedback and help when needed?

2. Communication.

Your communication is crucial to your credibility. This includes
not only your eye contact, the tone of your voice, and presenting to others in a
clear manner, but also your written communication. Do you respond to emails in
a timely manner and focus on impact and strategic direction?

3. Preparedness.

Do you show up at meetings organized and with a clear agenda
so others get the information they need and have a clear roadmap to follow? If
you are making a presentation, do your slides create a story with impact? Don’t
cause death by PowerPoint with too many slides and too much information!

4. Integrity.

Integrity in the workplace comes in many forms but refers to having a
combination of honesty and a strong work ethic. Developing trust with others can
be more complicated if you’re working virtually, but it is possible. Do you take the
time to build rapport with new colleagues and manage conflict in a respectful
way?

Focus on these four areas to build credibility as the first step in enhancing your
professional presence. In my next article, I’ll discuss four aspects of confidence.

By Beth Benatti Kennedy, MS LMFT

For recommended books on self-confidence and self-esteem, check out this list.

For more on careers, leadership, and personal development, check out our other career content.

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