"When you don't have the time to trot out all your titles and degrees," says career development specialist Sharon Poindexter, "the quality that establishes you as a leader is presence."

Presence, she says, involves both "pre-sense -- the ability to be totally aware and think on your feet" and "presentation -- your appearance, voice and body language.

Her five "P's" of Presence:

Positive mental attitude. "You must come from a frame of reference that thinks possibilities, solutions and solving problems so everyone wins."

Perspective. "This comes with age and experience for a person whose mind is open to growing and learning. The longer we do something, the better we're able to see the beginning, the middle and the end . . . and can gain a sense of calm and control over situations."

Purpose. "It's critical you know where it is you're going."

Physical health. "The body we use establishes presence and deserves a whole lot of attention -- exercise, hair, skin, teeth. Avoid going into battle when you're not up to par physically, because you'll need all your resources. Be aware of the time of day, time of month and time of year you're at your peak, and use it."

Posturing. "How you can position yourself in terms of others can be critical. You can work on how you stand, eye contact, gestures and vocal intonation if they are not pleasing.

"And you can learn to accept -- but not necessarily love -- the things you can't change."