4 Ways to Project a Stronger Leadership Presence in HR

Proper image can be important to your credibility and career.

Today’s post is brought to you by my friends at SocialMonsters.org These are tips to increase your presence in HR. It is not everything but it does have impact.
When you work in human resources, the presence you project has a major impact. Human resources personnel represent the face of a company to job applicants and new employees, and new employees look to HR for answers to important workplace questions. HR leaders set the tone for their whole department and when they project strong, confident leadership, it boosts the confidence of everyone else. But how do you project an executive presence if you’re not a natural leader or lack confidence? Here are four ways to help make sure you’re projecting a strong executive presence to your team and prospective employees.

Make a Strong Visual Impression

55 percent of others’ first impression of you is visual, according to UCLA researcher Dr. Albert Mehrabian. Making sure you’re leaving your best visual impression can be a big boost to your self-confidence.
A strong visual impression begins with good posture. Keep your head up and look people straight in the eye instead of dropping your gaze. Stand up straight, so that your head, torso and thighs would be in a straight line if you were looking at yourself from the side. Keep your chest high and forward. Flatten your stomach.
Power poses” where your arms are open make you look relaxed and confident, while folded arms look defensive, according to Harvard Business School’s Amy Cuddy. Make sure you engage people you’re talking to by looking at them during the conversation and providing feedback cues such as nodding while you listen.
Your clothes and hygiene also contribute to your visual presence. Keeping your hair well-groomed and wearing nice shoes will go a long way in maintaining a strong visual appearance. Dress appropriately for your work environment in the best clothes you can afford, fitted to your body type. Pay attention to what color you select, as color has a strong emotional impact. Pick colors that go with your eye, hair and shoe color. Hire a fashion consultant or talk to a knowledgeable friend if you’re not sure what to wear. Once you settle on a look, dress consistently so that you convey a consistent “brand” image.

Use a Strong Voice

Your tone of voice and what you say also play a big part in the impression you leave. A University of Glasgow study found that tone of voice creates an instant impression even from just saying “hello.” Men with lower tones of voice come across as more dominant, the study found, while for women, a higher-pitched tone conveys dominance. Men who raise the tone of their voice and women who alter their tone are perceived as more trustworthy, however. Whatever tone of voice you use, breathing slowly and deeply and articulating clearly will make you feel and sound more confident.
The vocabulary you use also communicates your confidence level. When men and women in the workplace want to assume leadership, they use language that is more direct, decisive, goal-driven and authoritative, says Aston University applied linguistics professor Judith Baxter. But more indirect language can also be used to deliver a point more softly when appropriate, she adds.

Practice Public Speaking

Practicing public speaking can be another effective way to build confidence and project a more executive image. Most people fear speaking in front of a roomful of people, where everyone’s attention is fixed on you. Overcoming this fear can make you feel more comfortable leading a group of people. Joining public speaking groups such as Toastmasters can give you opportunities to practice public speaking.

Build Confidence Practicing Sales

Sales is another activity that can build your confidence and project leadership. Selling involves the practice of persuasion. When you’re experienced in persuading other people to buy things, you gain confidence in your ability to lead others, and your confidence comes across in the way you present yourself. You can gain sales experience in a low-pressure environment by becoming a representative of a direct sales organization such as Amway. Taking sales lessons is another way to build your skills.

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