A few months ago a new business acquaintance told me that my business card gave a false impression of me. I was curious and frankly a little offended. I’m rather attached to my business card. It’s printed on high quality card stock, unique in that it’s a fold-over and on the inside it outlines the services I offer. What was this person saying? Was he saying I was not high quality and unique? Curiosity won over offense.
“Your card comes across as cool and professional,” he continued, gaining some points with me. “You are warm and approachable. Your card should reflect that.” Hmmm.
The presence we exude is critical to our success. Presence is a part of our brand. To paraphrase lyricist Shirley Bassey, our presence/brand should be obvious “the minute we walk in the joint…” and in this virtual world, oftentimes our presence is present even when we physically are not.
While how we physically present ourselves is huge, presence itself refers to so much more. Presence refers to how we:
- communicate (verbally and non-verbally)
- show up when we’re “googled”
- interact with colleagues, clients and customers
Many workplaces are far more casual than they were even five years ago. But what does that really mean? Look around at the folks who are respected in your organization. How do they act? They may be friendly and approachable, but chances are they are never inappropriate in their stories, dress, or behavior. Become aware of how they speak, the stories they tell and how they act. I was reminded of this while eavesdropping at my doctor’s office recently. From the exam room I could hear the banter and laughter of the clerks. I suddenly realized that never in all the years I’ve been a patient there have I heard the doctor or her nurse’s voice chime in. I’m sure they do not hold themselves aloof, but they stay professional when patients are present.
What presence do we reflect in our written word? It is not just about what we say but how we say it. What image of you does your written word send. One would think in this day of spell check, typos would be a relic of the past. Nope. While spell check is a blessing, it doesn’t know the difference between there, they’re and their or to, two and too. Sadly, many of us do not either. Our written presence needs to communicate our best selves. Beware of the language and abbreviations used in texting. They send a wrong message when included in a business email or a written report.
Online? What impression do people get when they “google” you? And don’t think they don’t. The internet is pervasive and it never forgets.
So, did I do anything to change my business card? I did. I value the fact that I come across as approachable as well as professional. I would never want anyone to hesitate to contact me due to a “too formal” business card.
My strategy? I added my tag-line, Life is short…exceed expectations, to my business card in a warm hue of orange. It adds color in addition to sending a more approachable message. What do you think?
“P” is for Presence, part 2 addresses enhancing your presence when presenting in front of a group. Looking at ease when presenting, be the audience two people or 200, is a critical skill.