First impressions can often make or break a deal. Professional presence directly affects that critical first impression and the overall perception your clients, peers and managers will have of you. What can you do to make sure you stand out in a field of many?
As defined by Dianne Sutton, President of Sutton Enterprises and Author of Workplace Savvy, A Guide to Gaining a Competitive Edge, professional presence is:
- Ability to project a sense of poise/self-assurance at work
- Act in a situation with an advantage, without making others uncomfortable
- Way of presenting yourself that creates power, credibility and sense of competence
The qualities that make up professional presence include confidence, body language and how you are perceived by your coworkers. The way you communicate, your skills and abilities and the how you meet deadlines and promises are also included.
Whether you sit in a corner office or a cubical in a row of many, the key to high client retention rates is providing customer experience that cannot be matched by any other firm. How you present yourself both externally and internally, becomes the foundation for which to build that customer experience.
What do I mean by “presence”? As noted in the definition above, it could be as simple as what you wear and as complex as a major external presentation. It is important to remember that building professional presence is an all-inclusive reflection of yourself and requires effort and time to develop.
Personally, I spent my formative years in the brokerage business working for one of the most respected women in the industry. She was also the toughest person I have ever met and working for her was never easy. One of the most important lessons I learned was to look the part and talk the talk. Even if you are the smartest person in the room, if you cannot articulate in a manner where attendees are willing to hear what you have to say, the knowledge is lost. And working in an industry where first impressions are the difference between making the sale or not, personal presence was very important. I have worked for more than 20 years to develop and maintain my presence as a Women Leader in our firm.
The Oswald Women’s Leadership Council, developed in 2013 to inspire females at all levels to empower, develop and advance, will focus their 2016 education efforts around Professional Presence.
The Professional Presence Series will kick off this spring with an event to discuss personal brand and will be hosted by a group of women leaders within Oswald. Later topics will include events with focus on being “heard” and written presentation skills.
For more than 20 years, Cathy has provided strategic risk management and personalized insurance services to clientele across a broad range. As a Senior Vice President and Branch Operations Manager at Oswald, Ms. Kosin specializes in the large line Risk Management and Middle Market Brokerage segments, with a primary focus on casualty and international risks. She brings a high-touch approach to client service that has allowed for long-term relationships, earning trust and respect from both clientele and the marketplace.
Ms. Kosin is acting Oswald Gatekeeper/International Coordinator for Assurex Global, a consortium of leading risk management and business insurance agencies and brokerages with nearly 500 partner office locations in more than 80 countries. She is a recognized leader in the international arena, traveling frequently around the world to present at conferences and events sponsored by Assurex.
In addition to her practice, Ms. Kosin is acting Co-Chair of the Women’s Leadership Council at Oswald. The Council was created to inspire, engage, and advocate for Oswald Employee-Owners, in support of professional and personal development, and an inclusive environment that advances the success of women and the organization.