Laurel Herman (7 August 2013)

Laurel Herman is CEO of image consultancy Positive Presence, whose website describes it as ‘the intelligent image consultancy for intelligent people.’  Laurel spoke about the importance of image and presence. The talk was full of practical work on self-appraisal and the importance of developing impact, confidence and charisma. Laurel has worked with many professionals including accountancy firms such as Deloitte, KPMG and Price Waterhouse Coopers. She identified five components of presence: appearance, inter-personal interaction, gravitas, networking and relationships.

Much of the practical aspect of Laurel’s talk involved self-appraisal which focused on how approachable, articulate, authentic, confident and consistent we are when we present ourselves. The audience had to rate themselves and assess how others appraised them.  The aim of the exercise was to understand from the averaged scorings how to quantify information relating to presence, and how this can be a useful tool from the perspective of self-development.

Before founding Positive Presence in 1994, Laurel created a business called Concept Shopping which was a different way for women to buy clothing and accessories that aimed to positively enhance their image and self-confidence. Laurel has written extensively as a columnist for CityAM as well as featuring in numerous other magazines and newspapers, and done much t.v., radio and Web work. It was inspiring to hear Laurel talk about the difficulties that have been presented to her and how she has managed to address them. It is evident when listening to Laurel that she speaks with empathy and understanding, and it is clear that she has the credentials to qualify effortlessly as a speaker on the subject of presence.

(based on an article by Edward Martin)