The Power of Presence: What it is & How to Get It

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Have you ever been literally mesmerized by one of your role models or thought leaders in your industry and how they seem to have that je ne sais quoi, that something that attracts your utmost attention to them?

It’s presence. They have it, they know how to foster it, and today I’m going to share a little more about my experience going to a presence workshop last night and what I learned about what presence is and how to get it.

The Levo Event

Last night I was lucky enough to attend a free LEVO event in the city sponsored by TRESemme that focused solely on presence. Being in the midst of a job search AND launching my first blog, when I first saw this event promoted on LEVO’s website I immediately knew I had to go to this event. I regard myself as a smart and competent young woman, but oftentimes I simply freeze or fumble through networking and job interviews. I’m typically so engrossed in myself and saying the perfect thing that I’m mentally floating above myself and critiquing everything I’m saying and doing all along the way. And that has. to. stop. I need more presence in my life, which is why I was so excited to attend this event.

Instead of focusing on having presence in the grandest way, the event was tailored to help attendees focus on our presence in the most challenging situations. Content was shared from Presence with Amy Cuddy, LEVO’s first free online course (go check it out!!!). If you’re anything like me, I bet you’re thinking, “Yeah, well my role models and the thought leaders in my industry have years of experience working on this stuff.” Trust me, I feel you, but after going to this event and engaging in the reflection-style workshop, I know that anyone can practice having presence anytime they need it.

The event’s moderator, Maxie McCoy did a phenomenal job guiding us through this presence workshop – from sharing excerpts from Amy Cuddy’s free LEVO class on what presence is, reasons why it’s hard to be present, and how to practice your presence anywhere.

Here are the big ideas from yesterday’s event and Amy’s online presence course:

What is Presence?

Amy says that presence is a temporary feeling of being present in a moment. Presence is about being able to access and express your best, most authentic self – the self that you are in your best moments when you’re really “on” your best game. When you’re experiencing this, you feel safe and confident, which allows you to engage with what’s happening and not worry so much about what you think you should have said a minute ago or what someone might be thinking of you now.

Your authenticity allows others to be more themselves and signals to others that you are trustworthy and am showing people who you really are. 

Why is it So Hard to be Present?

Everyone has triggers that impact their presence. Whether it’s a bad hair day, feeling bloated, or perhaps being unclear about the actual purpose of something – it affects you and your ability to be present.

The Strength of Presence

When people are present, you can see it, AND you can feel it. It’s truly compelling because you’re sharing your most authentic self with others. You buy what you’re saying. You believe that you deserve to be where you are; you believe in your core values; you believe in what you’re talking about.

Your words have to come into alignment with your body language, Amy explains. If you’re telling a happy story, then your body should be reflecting that by smiling and being buoyant and vice versa with telling sad stories. When we’re being inauthentic, our bodies are doing things that don’t match up with our stories. One example given was when you say how confident and competent you are but your body is looking defeated and small. That says to your audience that you don’t really believe your own story.

One of my personal favorite quotes from Amy is:

“When you’re present, you’re getting out of the way of yourself to be yourself.” Amy Cuddy

Tips for How To Be More Present:

Use these tips to help you become your most present self during your next challenging moment.

  • Resist overthinking what you’re saying or doing

  • Take 3 deep breaths

  • Slow down when you’re speaking

  • Roll your shoulders back and expand your chest (power pose)

  • Put on your go-to outfit

  • Call a friend for a pep talk

Here is a snippet of Amy’s TED Talk on how body language impacts your confidence:

After the LEVO event was over, I said to myself, “This workshop was made for me.” Everything was so on point and relevant to my life. It was so empowering to see 85 other women nodding their heads and sharing their own struggles with being present and everyone practicing their own Superwoman power poses for their next present moment.

Like I mentioned before, this was my first LEVO event, but it definitely won’t be my last. The women of LEVO are truly inspirational  leaders who share thoughtful, relevant advice about how women can work towards being their best, authentic selves.

For me, I have 3 phone interviews in the next 2 days, and now I am truly excited about them after attending this event whereas yesterday morning I was FREAKING OUT about nailing them! Now I am confident that I can roll my shoulders back, take a few deep breaths, and speak slower than the speed of lightning to share my story and my most authentic self with these potential employers and show them how I can add value to their companies. Yay! #walktaller

Who do you admire the most for their strong presence? What situations do you need the most help with being present? Share in the comments below!