When I teach the leadership competency of presence, I think of two very different, yet equally powerful and interdependent, concepts that arise from emotional intelligence.
First is the idea of bringing one’s full attention to the present moment, being fully available to what is happening right here, right now. This could be called mindfulness, or attentiveness; it requires letting go of ruminating about the past and worrying about the future. This quality of presence can be invited and developed through intentional mindfulness practices and has been proven to have dramatic positive effects on our wellbeing and resilience.
What’s more, when we bring the gift of our presence into a relationship or conversation with another person, it elevates the situation to a deeper, more meaningful interaction for all parties involved. We can all feel the difference when we have someone’s undivided attention–when they are not distracted by emails or to-do lists or things that seem to be more important, right? Showing up for another human being with 100% of ourselves takes intentional effort and reaps abundant rewards.
The second aspect of presence is the energetic impression we make when we walk into a room, and what becomes possible simply because we are there. It’s the way we make other people feel just by being around–the “vibe” that we give off and the way others experience our being. You may have heard this quality described as “charisma” or having a “magnetic personality.” In business, it may be referred to as “executive presence” or “leadership presence.”
For some people, this comes naturally and is an inherent part of who they are. Others who wish to project greater personal presence can absolutely cultivate this ability through intention and practice.
What actions could you take today that could increase your presence?
How do you think this would impact your relationships?
How would it impact the way people perceive you?