Book Review…Professional Presence: A Four-Part Guide to Building Your Personal Brand

Peggy Noe Stevens is a former event planner and image consultant.  She has been described as “the Oprah of entertaining” and she owns a consulting company on image strategy.  In this book she guides us through the levels of building and maintaining a positive personal brand.  She asserts that our personal brand may have a bigger affect on our work than we perceive and shows many cases in which little perceived nuances have affected the work environment and work advancement.

Stevens uses this book to point out the ways in which a person can influence positively and negatively with their presence and what she calls “soft skills”.  She gives a four-step process to sharpening up your professional presence and correcting etiquette issues in the work environment.  The steps include Protocol, Personal, Professional and People.

In some cases the information can be extremely thought provoking while other things are corrected very easily, such as clothing style and appearance.  She uses a lot of stories to illustrate her point and it is easy to see how things can be misconstrued when seen from various view-points.  In general the audience she’s writing for seems to be the corporate bunch.  People who go to work with a boss and climb up a ladder, or people who are the bosses.

I’m not that type, but I found this book useful and I’m still trying to figure out how to use some of its skills.  After introducing several stories she has a Pro Scenario in which she covers a skill or issue just covered.  She asks a few questions about what you would/should do or what happened to illicit the kind of response the character in the Pro Scenario used.  Then she has a link to her website in which you can check and get more information on this little math-reminiscent “word problem”.

I think her Pro scenarios are very unique and interesting, but for me they were  a little distracting.  I usually read the book in my decidedly computer-free time and couldn’t be bothered to hook up to a computer to find out the answer.  In some cases I was really interested in hearing more and in other cases I thought the answer was obvious and unnecessary to have that portion there.   Pro scenarios can be ignored, but I see how they could help to drive the point home.  I wonder if there was a workbook option in the back with these little problems or a software program accompanying the book, if that would’ve been more affective.

I don’t know for sure, but that is really the only small issue I had with the book.  I think it is packed with very interested stories and useful information and I will try to show you my steps in implementing these tips and skills for an entrepreneur, small-business, freelancer type of perspective.  I finally coordinated reading with internet time and I found the pro scenarios to be useful, so I suppose just knowing that is coming could be significantly influential on how you relate to and receive this book.

I think those who are trying to build or transform a career for themselves will find this book very useful.  It may also be good for those who manage a business.  There is a lot of communication related skills covered in the book.  From body language, to internet correspondence, to what we say with our actions and the way we dress.  I definitely thought about things I’ve never thought about and I admit I have become more professional.  I am trying to implement these skills even more and I will update you on the specifics.

For more information check out Peggy Noe Stevens online.  You can buy the book here, as you can see it looks beautiful and professional!

This book was received by me to review for free. All opinions are my own.


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