Personal Branding is a very hot topic particularly in these stressful times of rapid change,
volatile employment, virtual workplaces, and increased demands to deliver results and be more visible. In these economic times, brand discovery is only the first step in the game. Once you have discovered your brand and begin to express it, it more important than ever to be focused, alert, calm and grounded – poised and ready for whatever comes your way.

The express phase of personal branding can be easy. But in reality, for most people there is an underlying level of stress that can undermine even the most prepared, in the heat of the moment.

In my work with clients, I have come to discover and appreciate the work of my colleague Cheryl Dolan, who is an expert in the art of masterful presence. She has worked side by side with me on several client personal branding projects, as well as having coached me personally.

For this blog post, I have asked Cheryl to share some simple tools to help you practice to prime your central nervous system (CNS) for peak performance, allowing you to build self-regulation (ability to manage oneself under stress) and communicate with confidence, ease, even joy.

Cheryl’s tips are below and I hope you find them useful. If you would like to learn more about Cheryl, please visit her website at:

Poised and Ready

Research shows that people form impressions of you in the first 3 seconds. You ALWAYS have a presence – why not leverage it, particularly during those critical first 3 seconds. One of the simplest tools you can use is breathing: it’s cheap, convenient, and you must do it anyway – make it work for you. Breathing correctly, deep from your belly, is an incredibly important tool for clarity, focus and grounding; and telegraphs poise and confidence. Shallow breathing results in just the opposite. People instantly pick up on “your state” by your breathing patterns and it can make or break trust and connection.

How to Breathe Deeply:
• Put your hands on your naval and take a deep breath in, expanding your abdomen as you fill your trunk with air.

• Breathe out, tightening your stomach muscles as you empty your trunk.

• This is the opposite of how we normally breathe when upright, but the same way we breathe when we are lying down. “Get down” and get the hang of it!

Benefits of Deep Breathing:

Calm State, grounded, relaxed yet alert: lets our body knows where it is in space (proprioception) vs. shallow breathing during which we effectively “leave our bodies”.

Clear Thinking: rapid, shallow breathing from the upper trunk/shoulder area triggers the “fight or flight” response, which is a primitive survival mechanism. The CNS is flooded with adrenaline and stress chemicals to enable us to get out of danger as quickly as possible. Deep belly breathing interrupts the flow of these chemicals, slows your pulse rate and clears your head for rational thinking.

Command Attention: 1st most powerful thing you can do as you face your audience, before you begin to speak is to take 1-3 deep breaths. People will rivet their attention on you and eagerly wait to see what is coming.

Voice: provides fuller respiration for a deeper, more resonant voice, a more pleasing pitch, a slower rate of speech (ideal is less than 140 words per minute), decreases the use of fillers (um, ah): all of which commands and sustains attention and builds trust.

You’ll be surprised how effective you can communicate your brand if you practice with the right tools, before you need to use them. Make it a habit to be poised and ready for anything.

If you would like to receive Cheryl’s FREE tips for masterful presence, please click here: