Monday, January 21, 2008

JWN: Commanding a Presence


Commanding a Presence
Life & Times of JWN

Since high school I have often sacrificed pure academic success (grades) for something far more important (at least in my mind), presence and the sense of being indispensable. This is not in terms of a popularity contest, although if I said my early efforts for "presence" could not be typecaste in this way, I would be lying; as would most of us. Rather, I have sought to make myself known in the circles that I mix, and in the circles my acquaintances mix in, as a source of knowledge.

How do you become known as a resource?

When people have a problem, I want them to come to me for help. Is that wrong? No. The world needs problem solvers of all kinds.

My approach tends to be different from most though because I seek to solve problems with people, while many try to solve with pure knowledge. There is a story that I love to tell to friends and colleagues about Henry Ford.

At the beginning of the Ford Empire many questioned the abilities of Henry Ford. In fact, they criticized the man so much that he called a press conference to debunk all of the non-believers' "convictions."

He began the conference alone and fielded all of the questions. With unequivocal ease he took question after question and contemplated them aloud to the attendees. Then he called the conference to a halt while he brought in his entire advisory board.

At that moment in time he had the people ask the same questions while he directed them to the particular expert on his team. They changed all of the non-believers' minds. At this time one of the most inspiring moments in history for me happened. The crowd inquired, "So, Mr. Ford. What do you do?"

Henry Ford replied saying, "I do the thinking."

That story has inspired the entrepreneur in me for many years and has made me contemplate the idea of commanding that type of presence. That advisory board consisted of the best people in their respective fields. And, they all wanted to be a part of Henry Ford's team.

So, how do you inspire people to be on your team? Command a presence. Everywhere you go.

This is how I do it;

1) Have CONFIDENCE. If you believe it, you can achieve it. Know who you are and what you can bring to the table. Then, bring that to the table with an unshakable conviction!

2) Dress the part you want to play. I constantly teach this principle to people my age because as a young professional you don't always think about how your image affects others' perceptions of you. I like to remind people why they listen to me with my style and visual presence.

3) Proper preparation leads to powerful performance. Another mantra of mine. Know what you're getting into and NAIL it! If you don't properly prepare for the task at hand, like a business meeting, presentation, or speech, then you are bound to sell yourself short.

4) Get published. When people read your articles, you become known as a thought leader on a particular subject. I consistently have friends consult me on follow up procedures and how to make a powerful impression because they have read my work. KEY: Write well and know your audience.

5) Surround yourself with successful people. You become like those you interact with consistently. If they are on the path to nowhere then guess where you're going?

6) Focus on the little things. Don't sweat the small stuff, but know what the small stuff is. If you know this then you can manage it properly so it doesn't detract from your image. Be positive, know table etiquette, use your manners, and say "please" and "thank you."

7) Your words and your actions will always do two things, build people up or tear them down. Constantly focus on building people up. If you help them succeed then they will be there for you as a personal salesman (or woman) down the road.

Those are my seven steps to commanding a presence. If you focus on making these seven things your strengths, then people will want to be a part of your team. Or, you'll be a desired asset on a team like Henry Ford's.

Now, go choose your path!

What's your image today? ~Joseph