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Twitter Q&A: The importance of career planning and personal presence

Alexis Thompson

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Jo Ouston from Jo Ouston & Co joined us for a Twitter question and answer session to talk about career development and the importance of having personal presence

ILM: Hi @JoOustonCo can you tell us a bit about yourself and the reasons why people come to you for career coaching? #ILMpresence

JO Ouston: I started as a careers advisor at the Institute of Management in 1982, and then set up Jo Ouston & Co in 1990 after a varied early career. 

JO: People come to us because they lack direction, want a change or are having problems at work that they can't resolve on their own. 

ILM: Tell us a bit more about personal presence and its importance?

JO: A sense of career direction, technical know-how and experience are not enough without the personal presence that gives people credibility. Presence is crucial to the impression that you make. Without presence you are eminently forgettable. 

ILM: How can a manager make sure their personal presence is felt and respected even when they are not in the office? 

JO: This is where the difference between being forgettable and being memorable comes in to play. A confident leader doesn't hog the limelight; they respect the expertise of others and give status to others and their talents. 

ILM: There's a fine line between confidence and arrogance. How can a manager avoid overstepping the line?

JO: Developing an authentic leadership style is about having confidence in your own ability and being generous to others. 

ILM: I have an interview next week but worried that nerves will take over. How can I stay calm and in control? (Via DM) 

JO: It sounds obvious but it really is about breathing, your brain needs oxygen to think quickly and remember what you want to say.  When you breathe and your centre of gravity is low, your brain gets more oxygen and this gives you confidence which others can see. 

ILM: As a manager I some times feel I'm not being heard. How can I assert myself more so staff listen? (Via DM) 

JO: You need a 'pull' or energy to engage them, if you assert you can actually push people away. To engage people include them in your personal space, by this we mean being inclusive through using your energy. 

ILM: And just time for one more. How important is it to have a career plan especially if you want to work your way to the top?

JO: A career plan is crucial for a sense of direction; it motivates to know what's possible and the qualifications and experience needed. 

ILM: That’s all we've got time for today sadly. Thanks to @JoOustonCO for answering our questions on #ILMpresence


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