We’ve all felt it — the indefinable Power of Presence that allows people to command attention and engage and inspire others, seemingly without effort. Learn how to harness that quality of presence to increase your power, impact, and success in every area of your life.
Believe in yourself and the world will believe in you too.
The Power of Presence
Kristi Hedges, author of The Power of Presence, defines presence as “the
ability to connect with and inspire others.” Think of someone you know with great presence. They radiate confidence and positive energy. It’s more than what they say or do, it’s their whole package.
This type of “presence” has an undeniable power, both personally and professionally. But how do you become someone who seems to connect with, engage, and inspire everyone with whom they come into contact?
Increase Your Power Through Your Presence
You might think presence is about charisma … that sparkling personality
trait some people seem to be born with. But presence isn’t innate or magic — and while it may seem effortless, I believe most people with great presence work long and hard to polish their image and increase their influence and impact.
Keep in mind that presence doesn’t automatically grow with your education and knowledge; ultimately, it’s about how others perceive you. Confidence and authority are demonstrated through body language — how you claim your space — and your verbal language — what you say and how you say it.
Masterful Body Language
Many components go into the mix of a powerful presence. Ask yourself these questions to enhance your presence:
- How firm is your handshake (and is it different when offered to men or women)?
- How well do you maintain eye contact?
- How would others describe your voice quality: soft and tentative or strong and clear?
- Do you stand and sit tall? Is your posture erect and grounded?
Women face unique challenges and biases when it comes to presence. They tend to communicate in ways that are more inclusive and collaborative. Consider the simple tilt of your head. To demonstrate interest and concern for others, you may tilt your head … but keep in mind subconsciously that could be viewed as a signal of submission. Alternatively, when you need to project power and confidence — asking for a raise or presenting to the C-Suite — keep your head straight up and straightforward.
Pay attention to words and phrases that diminish presence. First and foremost, stop apologizing and asking permission. We do it in voicemail and email greetings — “I’m sorry I missed your call” or “I’m sorry I’m out of the office” — and in person — “Excuse me, I’d like to add to Steve’s comment.”
Stop dialing down your language with wishy-washy words like “just,” “maybe,” “try,” or “perhaps.” Instead, be decisive in your speech. Rather than saying, “This is just my thought,” or “Perhaps you might consider,” take a stand. Own your opinion and state, “Based on XYZ we need to …” and “I recommend we …” If you don’t believe in what you are saying, neither will anybody else.
Finally, drop the “up speak,” raising the pitch of your voice at the end of a sentence, making it sound like a question. Hold your voice level and firm to increase your power and influence.
Speak Up & Speak Out
Time after time my clients tell me they hold back from sharing their viewpoints in meetings with peers or higher ups. You’re already at the table: Take advantage of it! Be brave and offer your input. Better to be
wrong once in a while, than to be viewed as never having anything to say.
Build a Foundation of High Performance
A track record of reliability and success speaks volumes. Consistently deliver what’s asked of you, and more. Next, make yourself visible. It’s not about demanding attention; it’s about letting your actions shine in a way that makes others take notice. And finally, strive to project competence and positivity. These powerful behaviors — underscored by a can-do attitude — will inspire confidence and stronger social and professional connections.
Tips to Harness the Power of Presence
- Define your presence. Presence is your unique, personal brand. It’s about being perceived the way you want — actions aligned with intentions. Take the first step and determine what you want to project. Do you want to be perceived as engaging and charismatic? Warm and personable? Strong and decisive? Clarify your ideal presence to pave the pathway to projecting it.
- Ask for feedback. You may see yourself one way, while the rest of the world sees you another. To ensure you’re projecting the image you want, Hedges suggests conducting a “presence audit.” Ask five people you trust these two questions. #1: What’s the general perception of me? And #2: What can I do that will make the biggest impact on my success?
- Dress for the part. Make sure your appearance doesn’t undermine the message you want your presence to send. A polished and professional appearance projects an image of confidence and authority that will underline and let your message shine through.
- Adopt a power pose. To increase and project confidence, adopt a ‘Wonder Woman’ or ‘Superman’ pose for two minutes. Note how it boosts your feelings of power and the positive impact on others.
- Be your best self. Presence isn’t about adopting a style that feels fake and inauthentic. It’s about letting go of self-limiting habits that stem from fear or buying into your inner critic. Step up, stand tall, and believe in yourself.
As your coach I am dedicated to helping you reach your fullest potential. Leap Forward Coaching offers a proven process and life-changing experience to be intentional about your personal and professional growth — including harnessing the power of presence for greater success in every aspect of your life.