People listen when you speak. Your views are often quoted. People want to know what you think. You are always talked about with respect. Presence is not about popularity or being liked. Presence is often about mismatching or doing the unexpected.
It is important to have a presence when you are being authoritative; if what you are proposing is unpopular; and when talking to a large group.
How to develop more presence:
1. Confident Uncertainty
Believing in yourself requires you to do the homework so that your understanding of the situation is as good as you can possibly make it. Don’t fear uncertainty. If you plan well, the risk of being caught unawares is diminished.
2. Purpose Beyond Pleasing
To have more presence one needs to focus not on pleasing, but on purpose. The purpose must always be greater than pleasing.
When you meet someone superior to you do not change your behaviour. Don’t patronise or look down or up to people – look at them as equals as far as this conversation is concerned.
4. Positive Energy
People with presence have conviction, energy and passion. Apathy has no place in presence.
5. Generous Thoughts
Fill your expectations with positive thoughts whether it be enthusiasm or trust. We often give away negative signals if we are anxious or uncomfortable or even if we have negative expectations.
6. Time to listen
Try to develop a habit of non-evaluating listening – give them your undivided attention. Try to listen by setting your filters aside.
7. Talk up
Use My Pocket Coach’s Strategic Communication formula to deliver a few well-chosen words. But for presence focus on:
(a) Giving a view based on experience – Reflect what you have experienced, not what you have studied.
(b) Using what has been said so far to explain your point of view – “The merits of Dave’s arguments are …. But the factors that haven’t been considered are ….. so on balance I think we should go ahead with our plans.” This is equal to selective summarising to back up your opinion.
(c) Mismatching – Presence often requires mismatching or behaving differently to a group or person. If the group is emotional – be calm. If everyone is cool as ice, let them know that you care. And when you have made your point be silent.
(d) Adopt a role they don’t expect of you – Pouring the tea, tearing up your speech can be a grand gesture that you are talking from the heart. Switching off your mobile phone can indicate that you are going to give them your undivided attention.
(e) Manners maketh man – Manners always exemplify presence.
Work towards maintaining a respectful presence to get the attention you need without becoming arrogant. Gain gravitas on every situation by being present and mindful while standing firm in your presence.