The power in finding your presence
Turn heads and hearts by developing a powerful, positive presence that captivates any room.
by: E.B. Johnson
We all know that person that turns heads whenever they walk into a room. It doesn’t have so much to do with looks as it does presence. When someone has a strong presence, it forces others to sit up and take notice.
Having a powerful presence can be a good and a bad thing. People with a powerful aura about them have the ability to win others to their side, and success seems to follow them wherever they go. On the flip side, they can come off as aggressive, competitive and intimidating; pushing others away with the abrasiveness of their energy.
Our presence is the way we carry ourselves and embodies our emotions and how we deal with the people around us. Every aspect of your presence has social meaning, and in order to harness it’s full power you have to develop both your cognitive and sensory awareness of it.
The Power of Personal Presence
Having a powerful personal presence is hard to define, but it’s something that’s tangible to feel. We know it when we see it and when we feel it — it’s unforgettable.
People who have a strong personal presence appear confident and when they speak to people, it is clearly and with ease. They turn heads; they lead conversations. Even under pressure, those with a powerful presence seem to operate with ease and their actions and their intentions seem to be aligned in all that they do.
A powerful personal presence can help you score that promotion, get a date or land that sale. Presence has the power to build and boost your relationships, land a meeting and even start a revolution.
Though every presence and person differs, there are three core traits that all powerful captivators have:
1. The ability to articulate their points clearly.
2. The ability to convey integrity and goodwill effortlessly.
3. The ability to engage and and elicit emotion from their listeners.
Our personal presence defines our social status and grants us influence over the people and situations around us. Leaders are communicators and leaders are those with a strong and admirable presence. We are drawn to presence like moths to a flame.
There are concrete steps we can take to improve our personal presence, but they must first begin with a shift in the way we think about and perceive ourselves.
If you want to increase your presence, you have to become aware of the people around you, as well as what’s going on inside yourself.
By paying attention to others, you can suspend your judgement and take the time to absorb their ideas and feelings. Taking the time to be present with others will make you curious about them and lead to you sharing a deeper and more authentic connection.
When we take the time to connect with the people around us we gain a better insight into what they need and how they see the world.
Likewise, when you take time to start paying attention to yourself, you can compare your perception against the perceptions of others and come to a more honest understanding about who you are and what you need.
Developing your cognitive awareness is as simple being aware of what’s going on inside and out. It is the practice of living in the moment and consciously analyzing all the details of life around you.
You cannot become powerfully present until you become aware of and in control of your own emotions. Controlling our emotions allows us to set our intentions honestly, and elevates our regard for others in the room.
When we have tapped into our sensory awareness, we can take in the information we receive from others and use it to better connect with the people around us. Connection is the key to reassuring others and inspiring them with our presence.
Developing your sensory awareness and learning to be present in the moment is far more beneficial than just being social with the people around us.
When we work on being more mindful and in the moment, it’s actually been proven that we can improve our brain waves and even our heart functions. Having compassion and exercising understanding is the natural way to build authentic interpersonal relationships and boost our presence and esteem.
Becoming more aware of the patterns around us opens the door to transformation. When we develop our sensory and cognitive awareness we deepen our understanding of ourselves.
How to Develop a Powerful Presence
Once you’ve learned how to live in the moment and take notice of the people, things and emotions around you, you can begin the arduous task of developing an intentionally powerful (and positive) presence.
1. Start by building your self-confidence.
Self-confidence is one of those things that many of us struggle with. Strong willed people inspire others and have an uncanny ability to take control of a situation effortlessly.
Self-confident people always have the edge over those that doubt themselves, and science has even shown that when it comes to the professional world, they perform better.
The best way to boost your self-confidence quickly is to practice putting some physical and emotional stability in your life. This can be done through exercising, meditation, journalling or any other activity that makes you feel good and causes you to focus your intentions.
Building self-confidence allows us to let go of the rules that people set around us, and helps us to get past our constant need for approval. Self-confident people don’t seek out the opinions of others when they don’t need it and they control their lives because they take responsibility for their lives.
2. Learn how to control your reactions.
Just like self-confidence, self-control is one of the building blocks to developing a strong personal presence. If you want to turn heads when you walk into a room, then start by learning how to control your reactions. When we learn how to stay cool in any situation — keeping a level head until you’ve got all the facts straight — we can build rewarding personal relationships that are based on mutual trust and respect.
Self-control is the ability to control your emotions and behaviors in a way that helps not only you, but the people around you.
When we have control over ourselves, we have greater control over our goals. Self-control allows us to remain retrained, balanced and zen no matter what obstacles we face; to develop this ability, though, you have to learn how to name and understand your emotions.
Self-control increases our decision making capacities and also increases our chances of success. When we know how to control ourselves, we know how to control our desires.
Controlling ourselves allows us to focus our energies on the things and the people that can benefit us most, and when we’re under-control, we are able to tune out the distractions that waste our time. Kick those negative thoughts to the wind by taking control of yourself.
3. Figuring out how to say “No.”
Being unable to say “no” is one of the biggest indicators to the world that you have low self-esteem. People who are always ready to help (no matter how inconvenient it might be) send a signal to the people around them that their time is not as valuable as that of others.
Learning to say no is the first step in learning to sticking up for yourself. When we say no, we rid ourselves of the parasitic people in our lives and concrete our presence and our place.
Strong people, with a truly strong presence, understand that it isn’t always possible to say yes. They also realize they’re under no obligation to be available for others all the time. Saying no can be scary, but it’s necessary for setting limitations and establishing yourself and your rights.
4. Learn when to listen. Learn when to speak.
People with presence are those who can take in information and process it before speaking or reacting. When we take time to consider things before giving a response, we allow ourselves to develop a genuine and thought-provoking response that is both meaningful and helpful.
For most, though, listening is the easy part. It’s knowing when to speak that can be more difficult to master.
Many of us listen, but we don’t always speak up for ourselves and we often speak at the wrong time when we do. When we cannot listen effectively or respond effectively, we can be seen as weak by others. The trick is learning how to find your center and respond with the right words at the right time.
When you’re in the heat of the moment, take time to walk away and formulate your reply if you need to. If you find yourself in a situation where responding is key, wait until the other party has said what they need to say and input yourself when the conversation hits a natural pause.
Focus your awareness on the other party and take in the full breadth and depth of what they’re saying and how they’re saying it. When they have said their piece, share yours.
5. Embrace your faults.
Confident and powerfully present people are not that way because they are flawless. They are that way because they make conscious use of their strengths and their weaknesses alike.
Learning how to embrace your flaws is critical in developing a strong and self-assured presence. Perfection is an illusion, and when we fixate on our negative qualities we only manifest more negativity in our lives.
When we learn how to embrace our flaws, we stop derailing ourselves from our true purpose and start getting real about what makes us strong. Accept that you are not perfect and you will see things from a new perspective. Being honest with ourselves in this way allows us to become less prone to crashing and burning when things get tough, and also allows us to measure the successes of our lives with less panic and confusion.
Get comfortable with the things that make you insecure and share them with the people that you trust. When we share the things that make us vulnerable, we open ourselves up to others, establishing genuine and lasting relationships based around a mutual respect.
Opening up your imperfections to others will allow you to open yourself up to their imperfections as well. It is only when we can accept the flaws in ourselves that we can come to accept them in others.
6. Practice building up the people around you.
Dropping the hidden motives and agendas, get proactive in building up the people around you. When we life up others in our lives, we actually raise ourselves up in their esteem. By building up your friends, family and coworkers, you’re actually increasing your presence and boosting their trust and affection for you.
Make a conscious choice each day to celebrate the victories of the people around you, and lift them by applauding the things that they are good at.
Everyone has different strengths and different weaknesses. The key is learning how to share them amongst each other in a way that makes us all more successful as a whole. This starts with us, as individuals, and the presence we project. Build up others if you want to raise yourself.
7. Stop accepting excuses — from yourself or anyone else.
Those with a powerful presence are those who clearly do not suffer foolishness; from themselves or anyone else. If you want a big presence, start being real and be upfront about your wants, needs and missteps.
Respect for others starts with respect for ourselves. If you’re late because you just didn’t get up on time, admit that. If something fell through because you dropped the ball, admit that too. As humans, we all make mistakes. The humanity part is being able to take responsibility for our actions.
The same goes for the people in our lives. Stop taking excuses from the people that harm or wound you. If they hurt you — say so. If they step out of line, let them know. Taking responsibility for our actions has to start somewhere, and they deserve to know that you have more respect for yourself than tolerating their excuses.
8. Stop seeking attention.
Nothing defines a powerfully present person quite like their ability to secure attention without seeking it. If you want to drive people crazy and draw them to you, go for the power play and drop the pleas for attention altogether.
Indifference can be a powerful tool when it comes to developing a strong aura of presence around ourselves. We love attention, but sometimes when we go seeking that attention we want, we can actually alienate ourselves and push people away with our desperation.
People with strong personalities don’t need the attention of others because they know their worth and they know their value. When you are assured of the way you comport yourself you lose your need for the validation of others.
Attention can feel nice, but it’s a distraction from the things that actually matter most. Realizing this will help you cut the shackles of attention seeking and set you free from your need for validation. Stop seeking attention and let it come to you naturally. Celebrate your strengths and the rest will follow.
9. Check your regard.
Treating others with respect is the number one strongest predictor of positive feelings, according to science. This is why, periodically, it’s imperative for you to check in on the way you regard the people around you.
Regularly make sure that you are valuing the people around you. Are you doing what you can to appreciate them and the value they add to your life? Consider their recent actions and analyze their attentions from a place of honesty and let them know how you feel about them.
Building a strong presence takes time, but it starts with managing the relationships with share with our friends, family and loved ones. Make sure you’re giving people the same respect you deserve, and you’ll find your presence buoying.
10. Stay true to your values and morals.
People with a strong presence are flexible, but they are true to themselves and their values above all else.
If you can’t live with yourself, it’s going to be hard for you to live with anyone else.
Our values and our morals are important to us, forming a Bottom Line that dictates the way we organize and live our lives from beginning to end. Breaking with our values can cause us to lose touch with our authentic selves, creating a rift that can destroy our lives and our relationships if not identified and sharply corrected.
It can be tempting to don different hats in this social media age, but these different versions of ourselves can be corrosive to who we are. If you want to be happy and you want to draw people to you, you have to learn how to live and authentic life — and that starts with refusing to compromise who you are.
Putting it all together…
Presence, when it comes down to people, is a concept that can seem a bit abstract. It can help us land a job or a new friendship, but it’s something that’s hard to put your finger on when you view it as an all-or-nothing commodity.
It’s the little things that can make a big difference when it comes to developing a strong personal presence. A continuum, our physical skills, emotional intelligence and even natural talents and communication skills determine our presence. When we set limitations, learn to respect ourselves and those around us, we are able to develop an aura that turns heads whenever we walk into a room.
If you want to feel that power, learn how to listen and speak when the moment is right. Adhere to your values and refuse to compromise them for anyone — no matter what. A strong personal presence takes time to develop, but it also takes a refusal for accepting excuses. Be honest with yourself and honest with others about who you are and what you need and you’ll find your presence blossoming in no time.
Understand that there’s no mystery to the personal mystique. Like everything else in our lives, presence is a choice. Make that choice and go forward with power, authority and confidence.