We constantly transmit messages to those around us that reveal our level of self-confidence, self-respect, and whether we deem ourselves worthy and capable of acquiring their business. Stop and think about what signals you transfer that prompt others to want do business with you. Do they indicate a level of warmth, sincerity, power and ability that says YOU are the best candidate for the job?

Our perception is our reality. How confident and capable we perceive ourselves to be will shape the impression others will quickly form of us. Why? Because people treat us the way we treat ourselves. Our goal is to look in the mirror and "see" a confident, caring, engaging and knowledgeable individual who sincerely desires to provide the best products and service possible. That is the image we will then present to those we meet on a daily basis.

What Does One’s Own Perception Have to Do With It Anyway?

What caused the current perception we have of ourselves? More than likely, it was developed over time from all of our past experiences, including how parents, teachers and others treated us. Our judgments are also formed by what we were taught as we grew up. For instance, picture someone walking into a place of business who is well groomed and wearing a nice suit. Previous experience says that someone who looks like that is a successful, educated, organized, and intelligent person because that’s what we probably learned to think. This is how we see them whether they are really that way or not. Often, how we see ourselves is also based on past experiences, and whether those experiences were positive or negative.

On the other hand, when meeting someone who, upon first glance, has a disheveled appearance, or looks cranky or shy, we immediately decide he or she does not have anything to say that is worth our time. That perception may be correct or it may be completely false. However, we may miss numerous opportunities because we do not perceive ourselves as good enough, competitive enough, educated enough, or dressed nicely enough (or fill in the blank with any number of reasons). The type of energy (positive or negative), manner and appearance we project will then form impressions that may be hard to shake.

A question we should ask ourselves daily is, “Do I send out the message to others that I am the one they want to do business with because I am the best?” Why or why not?

Exercise: Stop! Take some time to really examine the following points and determine: “What is the most important characteristic that I would like to change as far as the perception I am giving to others?”

Could it be getting in better shape to appear more energetic and able to successfully handle their business?
Could it be working on simple body language changes such as a more confident handshake, erect posture and good eye contact?

How about a few changes in grooming to show others that I take good care of myself, therefore, I will also take equally good care of them and their business? What would make me “feel” more confident, organized and ready to take on the big guys? Your answsers will help you lay out the steps necessary to change any perceptions that are not in your favor.

Personal charisma, just like technical skills, can play a large role in showing that we are the confident “expert.” This can be developed over time and with practice. Most important, however, is that we:

*Thoroughly “know our stuff” and share it with enthusiasm.
*Demonstrate a high energy level, which is infectious and makes people want to be around us.
*Exhibit a professional appearance. If we “appear” organized and well groomed, they will usually assume that our business is also organized and handled with care.
*Are well spoken. Check speech patterns, tone of voice, enthusiasm, and strength of delivery. Ask a couple of close friends or associates for suggestions on how to improve.
*Know good standard English. Say it. Write it.

Lastly, smile with a confident demeanor and erect posture that says we are someone people can feel comfortable doing business with.

Author's Bio: 

Rita Rocker is a national inspirational and educational speaker and presentations coach with Transformation Academy, LLC. She is the author of Guide to Marketing Yourself for Success, and a contributing author to The Unstoppable Woman's Guide to Emotional Well Being, and Total Leadership for Men and Women. She has appeared on national television and radio talk shows on self-esteem and communication. Rita is a former Mrs. Nebraska and Mrs. America contestant.She is active in numerous professional organizations, on the Board of the Small Business Association of the Midlands, and co-director of greater Omaha's Affiliated Women International. Rita provides life and career-transforming programs to mature teens and adults. These highly effective tools empower individuals to become more accomplished communicators, gain greater confidence in business and social protocol, project a dynamic professional image, acquire the resources for a more successful career, and gain the ability to confidently make presentations in front of others.