Tricia Karp Tricia Karp
06 July 2015

How to have a powerful presence

Let’s set something straight.

Being confident, which is often seen as the holy grail of having a powerful presence, is over-rated.

Yes, I really did say that. Everyone wants to appear confident. Yet, confidence takes so many different forms. Whenever people tell me they want to be perceived as confident, and I ask them what sort of behaviours they need to adopt to be able to do that, I’m often met with a blank stare.

Being overtly confident doesn’t mean you have a powerful presence. Nor does being outspoken, which can be seen as confidence. Arrogance can disguise itself as confidence too, but is that a powerful presence? The type of authority or intensity that scares people is sometimes seen as confident too. Is that powerful presence? I suggest not. Because all those behaviours make you inaccessible. And people with a powerful presence know how to:

Connect with people and inspire them.

It means the key to having a powerful presence – the type that makes you knowable, approachable and draws people in – is being well and truly yourself, and owning and expressing the values and qualities that make you, You.

Presence matters enormously, because how you’re perceived dictates decisions and actions.

You don’t command respect? Your presence is weak, regardless of the fact you’re the boss.

People are too scared to tell you the truth about what’s going on at work for fear you’ll freak out at them. Your presence isn’t cutting it.

People pay lip service to you, but prefer to follow their own agenda than buy in to your vision. Your presence is weak.

I run a lot of workshops on powerful presence. I give a lot of talks about it. Usually, the problems most people face with lacking a powerful presence come down to this: perceiving yourself as either “not enough” or “too much”. So many of us are caught up in ideas of how we should or shouldn’t be, especially when we’re meant to be leaders.

Is your presence lacking? Follow these two steps to starting boost your true power:

1. Focus on comfort

People with a powerful presence are comfortable in their own skin. Confidence naturally follows.

Trying to be someone you’re not, or faking it until you make it, won’t cut it. People will see right through you.

What’s getting in the way of you being comfortable in your own skin? You’ll need to shift past any ideas, habits, beliefs or patterns about being not enough or too much. They’re not serving you.

When you feel comfortable with yourself, you’ll naturally think and speak more clearly and persuasively, even under pressure. You’ll act with purpose and intention. You’ll take responsibility for yourself and your results. You’ll be authentic. You’ll own what you say and do, and it will match who you are.

True presence isn’t just about how you look. It requires alignment, and addresses you as a whole person, to create sustainable change and results.

It’s an inside and outside job.

2. Put others first

I know you’ve heard this before: People remember not what you say, but how you make them feel.

Do you want to make them feel as though they matter? Do you want to make them feel important, valued, special… or, do you want to make them feel like they matter as much as the ant that just scurried past your shoe?

Deep individual connections drive loyalty. You’ll get the best out of people by cultivating empathy and trust.

If you only do this your presence will grow exponentially. But please, be genuine about it.

3. Remember this: It’s about you. It’s also not about you

In a recent workshop I asked people to split in to two groups: those who felt comfortable promoting themselves and those who didn’t.

One group was much bigger than the other. That always happens (no prizes for guessing which was which).

The people who struggled most with promoting themselves thought that doing so was all about drawing attention to themselves and making it me, me, me! (no wonder they felt uncomfortable).

The people who were comfortable knew it’s actually all about others – helping people and promoting them. Then, the law of reciprocity comes into play.

One of my strategies (and it’s pure of heart) is often to ask, especially when I meet someone new: How can I support you?

When I help others, they help me, not always in that moment and often in all sorts of ways. And, it works for everyone. I reckon you call that a win-win.

So… what can you do, right now, to make your presence more powerful? It’ll be good news for all the people whose lives you touch, as well as your bottom line.

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Want a more powerful presence? You need The Inspire Code. Register now!

I’m Tricia Karp, and I’m on a mission to develop the type of leaders the world needs right now. I offer workshops, coaching and consulting for organisations and individuals who are committed to making a difference. You can find out more right here.

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