The Trifecta of Professional Presence

Tammy Y. Allen, Director, Marketing & Programs, The NIIC

Professional presence is powerful in today’s world. It is something you cannot learn early enough and welcomes an occasional reminder. I am spring-boarding on three key ideas presented during a pre Ideas@Work Event student session offered through The NIIC’s Student Venture Lab.

First and foremost, let’s recognize that students are the face of the next generation of entrepreneurs. The opportunity to attend the Ideas@Work Event is an opportunity for them to meet regional leaders of innovation, entrepreneurship, business, and the community. A point driven home to those students: your presence is enhanced or weakened by the following trifecta: eye contact, handshake, voice.

  1. Eye Contact: Making eye contact with someone as you speak is especially powerful these days. It has become so common for people to break their gazes to check their phones during a conversation. Giving someone your complete, undivided attention can truly win them over.
  2. Handshake: Much like eye contact, a solid handshake instills confidence. As Elizabeth MacDonald, The Verbal Edge, says, “Web-to-web contact is so important for a proper handshake.” The skin between each person’s thumb and index finger should make contact. Countless studies have shown that a handshake can improve the quality of an interaction, producing a higher degree of intimacy and trust within a matter of seconds.
  3. Voice: Just as eye contact and a strong handshake can send the right impression, poise can close the deal. Do you articulate or mumble? How about volume? Projection is the strength of speaking, whereby, the voice is used loudly and clearly to command respect, conviction, and attention.

Professional presence differentiates you in this sometimes noisy, business world. What a great reminder for professionals of all generations and all levels of experience.

Speaking of the business world, we at The NIIC make entrepreneurship accessible to all ages. That’s why the NIIC Student Venture Lab (SVL) Program gives entrepreneurs in high school and college a chance to start and grow their own business in the supportive, structured and success-focused environment at The NIIC. If you or someone you know might be interested in this program, contact us.


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