How to Present Yourself

Three Parts:Improving Your LookDemonstrating Proper BehaviorChanging Your Attitude

How you present yourself to others makes an enormous difference in how you view yourself. With the right mindset, confidence, look and behavior you can improve your self-image and feel your best. Take a look at the tips in this article and change your life for the better.

Part 1
Improving Your Look

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    Stay fit. Taking care of your body and your health is one of the first aspects of your life that people will notice when they come into contact with you. By exercising and eating right, you’ll look and feel healthier, which will improve your mood and make you more pleasant to be around. People will know immediately that you care about yourself and that you’re capable of working hard.[1]
    • Simple dietary changes can lead to massive improvements in your overall health and look. Focus on eating more healthy foods, like lean proteins (salmon, chicken breast, soy beans), fresh fruits and vegetables (cranberries and avocados are loaded with nutrients), and healthy grains (brown rice).[2]
    • Avoid trans fats and foods high in sodium. Cutting fast food and soda out of your diet will help.
    • Jogging is a fun and easy way to exercise and stay fit that doesn’t require equipment or a health club membership. Get a friend to tag along and keep each other motivated.
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    Dress to impress. Your clothes say a lot about who you are. They’re a choice you make each and every day that speaks to your sense of style and they should be utilized as a tool for presenting yourself to others. Whether in a business scenario, a first date, or just gathering with friends, people judge you on the clothes you wear, so make sure you’ve got a look that you’re comfortable with.[3]
    • People are more likely to trust, be friendly with, and invest in a person who wears nice clothes. Subconscious judgments occur in the minds of even the most non-judgmental people.[4]
    • Iron your shirts and pants to avoid looking like you just rolled out of bed. It’s easy to do and doesn’t take very long, yet the results have a big impact on your presentation.
    • Try to coordinate outfits that match, using clothes that fit and accessories that don’t clash.
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    Project positive body language. Even if you’re in great shape and are wearing the perfect outfit, the way you present yourself can still be a disaster if your body language doesn’t shine. Body language communicates more than spoken words or appearance when it comes to how people perceive you and your emotions, so don’t ignore this crucial element of presentation.[5] The most important aspect of body language is your expression. Scowling and pouting don’t make for a good impression, so try to maintain a smile as much as you can.
    • Maintaining eye contact when you talk to someone assures them that you’re invested in what they have to say and that you respect them. This reflects well on you.
    • Practicing proper posture tells people that you’re alert, focused, and care about your health. Don’t slouch, instead, try to sit upright while aligning along the natural curve of your back. Set reminders throughout the day to keep you on track until its second nature.[6]
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    Maintain good personal hygiene. Much like your wardrobe, your hygiene stands as an immediate indicator of your personal presentation. Even if you are a gracious, kind, and caring individual people will perceive you negatively if you have poor hygiene. Make sure to bathe regularly, and don’t forget to wash your hair and brush your teeth. If you have problems with body odor, wear a deodorant. Pay attention to small details like keeping your fingernails clean and trimmed, don’t let your hair or beard become unkempt, and avoid wearing unwashed clothing.
    • Good personal hygiene will keep you looking and feeling better. It helps prevent disease and improves confidence and self-image.[7]
    • Keep a clean house. When you have guests over, a tidy living room, organized kitchen, and made bed inform visitors that you are in control of your life.

Part 2
Demonstrating Proper Behavior

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    Be gracious and polite. Doing little things can have a big impact on how you present yourself to others. Be sure to introduce yourself to people you don’t know, whether at a business meeting or a casual party. Once you’ve said hello, make an effort to remember people’s names. It makes them feel special and they’ll take note that you did it. Graciousness isn’t something that comes in big gestures, but in everyday efforts to make people feel included and appreciated.[8]
    • Offer small compliments to make people feel appreciated. Maybe they got a new hairstyle or made a strong contribution to a good effort. Saying “You look nice today” or “That was a great idea” can make somebody’s day and doing so improves their perception of you.
    • Simply saying “please,” “thank you,” or “bless you” goes a long way when meeting new people.
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    While it’s important to be kind to others, you should also be kind to yourself. Don’t be overly modest. A little self-deprecating humor can lighten the mood and break the ice, but too much can make people uncomfortable.
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    Take an interest in other people’s lives. Ask questions, and listen to people’s answers. You’ll learn about them and in turn be able to follow up the next time you meet. You’ll appear considerate and thoughtful. In turn, you can offer personal details of your own life and develop meaningful, substantive relationships.[9]
    • Be careful not to over-share or pry to hard with your questions. Keep topics light in the beginning by asking about fun parts of people’s lives like vacations and hobbies.
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    Be assertive. When you’re with other people and you don’t make your opinions known or don’t defend them, you miss out on an opportunity to earn people’s respect. Without shouting down others, make a case for yourself and what you believe. You’ll find you respect yourself more for doing so.
    • When encountering new people, find a balance between shyness and assertiveness. Make an effort to introduce yourself to people but don’t force your way into conversations. Be aware of people’s body language.[10]
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    Demonstrate a strong work ethic. Behavior in the workplace contributes massively to how you present yourself as a person. The way you act when working in a group or on your own says a lot about who you are and how people perceive you. Showing up late, missing deadlines, and making poor contributions to team projects reflects terribly on you as an employee, and in turn as a human being. People judge someone by the quality of his or her work, and the things they produce as much as by their appearance or personality.
    • Besides the benefit of other people’s perception of you, working hard results in improved feelings towards yourself. People derive satisfaction and pride from a strong work ethic.[11]
    • Good ways to improve your work ethic include: Better punctuality, avoiding procrastination, helping with other people’s projects, focusing on small details, embracing responsibility, starting early, and never saying “that’s not my job.”[12]
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    Showcase good manners while eating. It sounds simple, but eating like a slob, even in casual settings, can detract from an otherwise great personal presentation. Some foods are meant to be eaten by hand, and there’s nothing wrong with chowing down on a burger and fries with your fingers. However, that doesn’t mean you need to inhale your food. Take small bites, use a napkin, and don’t talk with your mouth full of food. Make your mom proud!

Part 3
Changing Your Attitude

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    Build your confidence. Presenting yourself depends on how you feel about yourself. Without genuine confidence you lack the key elements of a positive self-image. Believing in yourself and living with confidence improves your success in dating, leads to upward mobility at work, and leads to greater achievement of personal goals.[13]
    • Many of the steps listed above in this article can help build confidence. Exercising, dressing well, and being a gracious and friendly conversationalist all lead to improved levels of confidence.
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    Understand your strengths and your flaws. Nobody is perfect, and even if you present yourself as perfect you’ll still have flaws in your personality. Remember, it’s ok to be yourself even if you have faults. Try to work to improve on the aspects of yourself you don’t like. If you feel you aren’t well spoken or don’t have interesting stories, try reading more and sharing what you learn. If you can’t lose weight no matter how you change your diet and exercise, embrace it as a part of who you are, and learn to take pride in yourself.[14]
    • When focused on your own flaws, it’s easy to forget other people aren’t perfect either. If you actively work to better yourself, people will notice and admire you for it.
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    Maintain your efforts to present yourself to others even when you’re by yourself. You aren’t always out in the world trying to impress people and make a good impression. Maybe you’re at home by yourself, or making a routine trip to the grocery store. Keep these tips in mind during the smallest interactions and make presenting your best self a part of your routine. Compliment a cashier, exercise when you’re tempted to watch television, and practice other healthy habits that will pay dividends down the road for presenting yourself to others.
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    Don’t worry about what other people think. Even when you’re working to present yourself to others, don’t get bogged down worrying about how they’ll judge you. Be yourself, and be content with the effort you put as long as you are comfortable with who you are. These changes won’t come overnight, so be patient. Remember, while it’s important to present yourself to others, it’s far more important to present a positive image to yourself.[15] When you’re happy with who you are, it shows in the way you present yourself to others, so focus on yourself as the person you want to impress the most.

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Categories: Presentations | Courteous Presentation