Training 2012 Conference & Expo speaker Dianna Booher explains the importance of communicating through our presence just as strongly as our words:
The perception of “personal presence” dictates decisions and actions every day. Buyers make purchases based on the personal presence and persuasiveness of the salesperson. Negotiators with the strongest personal presence, not necessarily the strongest argument, walk away with the best deals. Learners either accept or refuse ideas based on the personal presence and credibility of the instructors who deliver those ideas. People often start—or decline—a dating relationship based on first impressions. Organizations and nations often elect their leaders based on the power of personal presence.
So instead of resisting that fact, why not understand how to make it work for you rather than against you?
The Essence of Presence
People with presence look confident and comfortable, speak clearly and persuasively, think clearly even under pressure. They act with intention. People with presence reflect on their emotions, attitudes, and situations and then adapt. They accept responsibility for themselves and the results they achieve. People with presence are real. They present their genuine character authentically. What they say and do matches who they are.
The Power of Presence
Presence can help you get a date, a mate, or a sale. Presence can help you lead a meeting, a movement, an organization, or a revolution. Presence may be used for noble purposes or selfish goals. Wherever you are and wherever you want to go, presence can help you get there.
Way back in the fourth century, Aristotle identified three essentials of persuasive communication—a big component of personal presence:
––logical argument (the ability to articulate your points clearly)
––emotion (the ability to create or control emotion in your listeners)
––character (the ability to convey integrity and goodwill)
Times haven’t changed all that much. Being a skilled communicator—whether online or in person––still grants influence. In fact, communication makes leadership possible––in politics, in the community, in the workplace, in the family. Think how often pundits and voters alike point out a candidate’s speaking ability and social skills—or lack thereof. And I’m betting the election cycle and chatter of 2012 will prove no different.
Not only do we expect our presidents and celebrities to speak well, but also that’s the expected norm for CEOs, systems analysts, educators, and soccer coaches.
The Perception of Presence
Although substantive core concepts are involved, you can never measure presence in the same sense that you can measure someone’s heart rate or their running speed. Subjectivity comes into play. At work, the limiting label generally comes down to a supervisor’s statement around a conference room table that the person under discussion lacks “polish”….
––“Brilliant. But not well liked. Just doesn’t connect with people.”
––“Doesn’t always use appropriate language—too flippant, too laid back.”
––“Too stiff, always looks a little nervous, with that deer-in-the-headlights look.”
––“Comes on too strong. Too intense. Needs to dial it back.”
––“Doesn’t dress appropriately. Just not what I call classy.”
-–“Rambles. Knows her stuff, but gets off track and down in the weeds too easily.”
––“Has difficulty facilitating with a lot of strong personalities in the room.”
Whatever the comment, the superstar hits a wall for a reason, and he or she has no idea what it is or how to “fix it.”
How do you make sure that you develop that certain mystique of personal presence? Day by day, present yourself with awareness and intention.
Seemingly small things can make a big impact. And it lasts a long time.
Join me in the upcoming Training 2012 session “Creating Personal Presence: Look, Talk, Think, and Act Like a Leader” as we explore these other key principles:
“If you can’t write it in a sentence, you can’t say it in an hour.”
“Reframe a two-option question before you respond.”
“Walk with intention and purpose.”
About Dianna Booher
Dianna Booher, an expert in executive communications, is the author of 45 books, published in 26 countries and 20 languages, with nearly 4 million copies sold. Her latest books include Creating Personal Presence: Look, Talk, Think, and Act Like a Leader (www.creatingpersonalpresence.com ) and Communicate with Confidence, the Revised and Expanded Edition. (www.communicatewithconfidence.com) A high-caliber keynote speaker, Dianna delivers focused speeches to address specific communication challenges. As CEO of Booher Consultants, she and her staff travel worldwide to help organizations improve the effectiveness of their communication: oral, written, interpersonal, and cross-functional. Successful Meetings magazine has named her to its list of “21 Top Speakers for the 21st Century.” Blog: www.booher.com/booherbanter and www.facebook.com/diannabooher