Most influential people exude an aura that shows they deserve attention and respect. A few simple strategies can help command positive regard.

Stay current. Stay on top of current events. To be perceived as intelligent, a person must have something intelligent to say. Read, read, read. Read trade journals, relevant newsletters, magazines and the local and national newspapers. Pay attention to trends and be able to participate in conversations.

Learn the language. Improve your vocabulary. It is impossible to have a polished, professional image with a deficient vocabulary. Attend a college course or professional seminar on communication skills.

Take a look around. Study positive role models. Every time you meet someone who reflects power and style study that person. How does he or she act? Think? Speak? Dress? What do you notice that will work well for you?

Take care of yourself. Maintain proper hygiene. Bad breath and offensive body odor will be remembered over the positive impact of an expensive wardrobe.

Keep a survival kit close with breath mints, deodorant, and some moist towelettes. Make sure you look and smell as good at the end of the day as you did when the day began.

These simple strategies will support a professional presence and enhance ability to influence.

It is often said that you only get one chance to make a first impression, however, you have many opportunities to leave a lasting impression. Put yourself on a professional development plan. Sharpen your skills. Be a role model. Present a professional image. Be professional and be influential.