Career Advice: 7 steps to a powerful presence

How do you command a presence and become known as a resource?

There is a story about Henry Ford that I love to tell. At the beginning of the Ford Empire many questioned Ford's abilities. In fact, they criticized the man so much he called a press conference to field all of their questions. With unequivocal ease he took question after question before suddenly calling the conference to a halt in order to bring in his entire advisory board.

Then he had the critics ask the same questions while he directed each inquiry to the expert on his team that could answer it. They changed all of the non-believers' minds. The crowd then inquired, "So, Mr. Ford, what do you do?"

Ford replied, "I do the thinking."

That story has inspired the entrepreneur in me for many years and has made me contemplate the idea of commanding that type of presence. That advisory board consisted of the best of the best and they all wanted to be a part of Ford's team.

This is how you can make it happen for yourself:

1)Have confidence. If you believe it, you can achieve it. Know who you are and what you bring to the table. Then, bring that with an unshakable conviction!

2)Dress the part you want to play. This principle is essential because as a young professional you don't always think about how your image affects another's perception of you.

3)Proper preparation leads to powerful performance. Another mantra of mine. Know what you're getting into and nail it! If you don't properly prepare for the task at hand, then you are bound to sell yourself short.

4)Get published. When people read your articles, you become known as an expert. I get consulted all the time on things like follow-up procedures and making a powerful impression because people like you have read my work. Key fact: Write well and know your audience.

5)Surround yourself with successful people. You become like those you hang around. If they are on the path to nowhere then guess where you're going?

6)Focus on the little things. Don't sweat the small stuff, but know what it is so you can manage it properly. Be positive, know proper etiquette, use your manners, and say "please" and "thank you."

7)Your words and your actions will always do one of two things: build people up or tear them down. Constantly focus on building people up. If you help people succeed then they will be there for you down the road.

If you focus on making these seven things your strengths, then people will want to be a part of your team. Or, you'll be a desired asset for a team like Ford's (or mine).

Now, go choose the path you want to be on and make yourself known!

Joseph Norman is cofounder and editor-in-chief of a weekly e-newsletter, The VIP Profiles. For more information, check out