Can you hold people’s attention, draw them in with your passion, energy and enthusiasm, and ignite their interest and commitment?
Can you inspire and motivate? Can you command an audience, whatever the size?
Leaders who can do this have ‘presence’. Some might say that it is charisma. I’d argue that they are related but different For me, presence is about filling a space, lighting it up with ‘you’ – the raw, essential you! Presence happens when that raw, essential you spills out and flows like water running free into every nook and cranny.
Leaders have it who can draw on a deep pool of knowledge, skills, and experience. The confidence that this pool brings enables them to engage others with their stories, anecdotes, and humour drawn from real life experiences, not just theory.
When I do it, it is my life, shared with others. It captivates people and moves them to a different place. It challenges their thinking, their attitudes, and their behaviours. It is about truly being in the moment and feeling the energy generated. It is about holding in that moment and sharing it with those around you. Most of all, it is about demonstrating your authenticity. Not just talking about it, but also showing it!
I believe myself to be a great leader … and someone with ‘presence’. You might ask me, “Why?” My answer is three-fold. One, I live my values, own my thoughts and actions, understand the nature and consequences of choice, and try to be a better me each and every day.
Two, I learn from self-reflection, reading, and close engagement with others, pretty much every day.
Three, I actively seek feedback and give feedback … and have done this for over 35+ years. I don’t believe in the concept of negative and positive feedback. I believe in feedback. How I deal with it is my issue. What I do as a consequence of the feedback is also my issue. However, I use feedback to build the better me. A better, happier me is a choice I make. For the choice to be beneficial, you have to take action.
How about you? What might you do to improve your presence? What did you learn from encountering a leader with presence?