10 ways to present yourself more professionally
Whether you're delivering a speech, running a meeting, or interviewing for a job, these tried-and-true tricks can make you come across as confident and professional.
1: Dress the part
Standard business fare most often will do for your average meeting. But when you raise the bar of importance, you must match it with your personal appearance. Not only should you be wearing your best suit, you should make sure you are properly groomed.
2: Warm up
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to stretch your muscles to get them warm and used to moving. Stretch your arms, legs, back, and neck. With relaxed muscles your presentation will come across smoother and more relaxed.
3: Fuel yourself
Make sure you eat before you present your material. But don't overdo it. You also need plenty of fuel to get you through the process. If you don't take in enough calories, your body will let you know — which will not go unnoticed.
4: Choose your props carefully
If you need a drink (and you should have water with you), make sure your water glass (and pitcher, if you drink a lot) is clean, simple, and classy. If your presentation requires an easel or whiteboard, be sure that everything is solid, works as it should, and looks new or at least clean and sturdy.
5: Spell check
The fastest way to lose attention or a job prospect is to have spelling errors littered throughout your work. An audience or interviewer may forgive minor or tricky sentence structure issues, but spelling? No way.If you know you're plagued with spelling problems, have someone check your presentations, resume, or handouts.
6: Turn your phone on silent mode
Your audience doesn't need to know how many people call or text you, and there is nothing more unprofessional than stopping your presentation or interrupting your interview to answer a phone or a text. Outside of extenuating circumstances, set the phone on silent or turn it off.
7: Watch your time
Remember that time is money. Not only are people paying you for your services, but your audience members have their own work to do. Stick to the allotted timeframe and you will always come out on top. Show respect by arriving early so you can be prepared to go on time.
8: Be prepared
Do not depend upon your host for anything (outside of the projector). Preparedness also includes making sure you have enough literature for your audience. Always bring more than you need.
9: Know your audience
This can be crucial to delivering a professional presentation or meeting. If you're giving a network presentation to a group of UNIX or Linux administrators, don't speak in Windows terms.
10: Don't be a comic
A little humor will go a long way to help connect to your audience. Sure, break the ice with a funny anecdote or relax the situation when too much information is offered at once. But you don't want to present yourself as a jokester or a comedian.