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Power of Presence

Bill Clinton

What is this thing called “Presence”?

Is it a vibe? A star quality? Charisma? It is an elusive quality for sure – but we know it when we see it.

Are we born with it or can we acquire it? I believe, both. But we can cultivate it.

Command presence” is a term that was developed in the military to describe someone who has the quality of a leader. That term has now been generalized to business and other settings. People who posses this quality command attention; all eyes turn to them and we listen with interest and awe.

From my experience as a Presentation Trainer, this “presence” comes in all shapes and sizes. I have seen quiet, almost whispered presentations that have been totally captivating. I have witnessed free flowing, enchanting speakers who carry us enraptured on a journey. I have noticed how heads turn as someone walks across a room, without uttering a word. Indeed we know it when we see it…or sense it.

So how can you develop or enhance your ‘presence”?

As a speaker, knowing what you are talking about, gives a sense of authority and security. If your talk makes sense, is well organized, is of value; then you can let yourself shine and project your passion for your subject.

One of the keys to developing a Sense of Presence is to use all the non-verbal signals of confidence:

  • Eye contact adds credibility, a connection. Contact comes from con (with) and tangere (to touch). You are touching the audience with your eyes.
  • Pauses are seen as being thoughtful. It adds a sense of anticipation. Good speakers use a lot of pauses to draw an audience in.
  • Smile, share your delight and passion for your subject. Share your insights, secret observations …an audience loves it when you “draw back the curtain”.
  • Share interesting stories. We appreciate when you share your wisdom and your insights.

Presence: if we could buy it, we would. Study leaders who command presence.

Just imagine turning heads and captivating an audience.

Here are a few to watch:

President Bill Clinton: Of course, a well recognized, charismatic speaker http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5knEXDsrL4

Jeanne Robertson: I came across this delightful woman who is enchanting and funny http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YFRUSTiFUs

George Clooney: I’m told he’s a charismatic, charming man. Anyone heard of him? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLk_gCg-BOM

Photo Credit: Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton via Compfight cc

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