Natural presence and charisma are not reserved for the lucky few with a special gene. They are the result of self-awareness, emotional intelligence and the discipline of practice.
- Build your physical confidence. Presence cannot happen amid restless shifting, fidgeting and pacing. Presence requires a degree of intentionality and owning your space. If you haven’t developed the habit of standing tall and taking purposeful steps, look for a physical activity that will help you practice. Whether it’s walking, dancing or playing a sport, find one that you can do while directing intentional energy through your movements. Draw on that intentionality in your presentations.
- Bring your full attention into the room. Have you noticed that children thrive in your attention? When you’re at the ballpark, they play well. When you’re watching, they run faster. We all have that increased range of expression that is triggered by the attention of another person, regardless of age. Give people your attention. You will empower them to express fully.
- Look people in the eye. It’s possible to have an intimate conversation with a group of people when you hold the gaze of one person at a time for just a few seconds. You can create a connection that makes people want to stop and pay attention. This takes practice. Begin by noticing how you make eye contact throughout the day, and choosing to extend it for just a second or two.
- Stop Talking. When things stop, we notice. When there’s silence, we pay attention. If you talk non-stop through your entire presentation, it all runs together for the listener. If you learn to pause before you make your main point, just as you are about to transition, or after you say something important, you will not only be more listenable, you will help us understand your message.
- Bring it. If you’ve lost your ability to get excited, you have lost your electricity. Never sleepwalk through a presentation. Stand out by tapping into your invested interest in your topic and your work. Don’t wait for our approval of your material. If you are engaged, we will be engaged.
This is the first in a 3-part series on Presence and Charisma.