Stacey & Michael talking

Power Up Your Presence

Yesterday I got to facilitate a live, on Zoom, conversation about presence for the RI Bankers Association Women’s group. Two of state’s most senior level executives shared their career experiences and wisdom with close to 200 women.

I could have asked them questions all day. It was awesome.

We talked about things like:

  • How to make sure your voice is heard in a [Zoom] meeting and not talked over.
  • How to keep your cool when you want to lose it.
  • What is presence and why do you need it?
  • The bias women STILL face on Zoom or in board rooms.

And whether you’re a leader within organization or a business owner, I want you to know:

Everyone has presence

Presence can seem elusive. We know it when we experience it, yet it’s hard to describe. So let me break it down. Presence is…

  • The attitude and energy you bring into a [Zoom] room.
  • Your physical appearance – how you stand, dress, fidget, etc.
  • Knowing who you are at your core – vision, values, strengths.
  • What you say and how you say it – clear and convincing.
  • How you make other people feel – people need to know you care.

People at a meeting

No matter your role – business owner or leader within an organization – for better or worse, how you come across during face-to-face and Zoom interactions matters. 

Here are some common scenarios where presence makes a difference in the ability to get work done:

  • Running a meeting
  • Client pitches or presentations
  • Sharing feedback with clients or employees
  • Speaking up to contribute ideas off the cuff
  • Networking meetings or conversations
  • Hosting or guesting on a podcast
  • Creating a live or pre-recorded video
  • Speaking at industry meetings and events

Presence Starts with YOU

Great networking, speaking, leadership – starts with YOU. Then that energy flows out to others. That means as a leader or business owner, your presence sets the tone for the meeting or interaction you’re about to have.

So what can you do to “power up your presence”? Below are a few nuggets shared by Sandy and Barbara at yesterday’s women’s banking event, that regardless of your role (you already know I can’t stand labels) will help you power up your presence on video or in person.

You have to be present to have presence

Oh my gosh. It’s SO easy to get distracted on a phone or Zoom meeting. And audiences have no idea whether or not you’re listening. Practice presence by clearing mental and physical clutter, taking a few deep breaths before a meeting and commit to listening. Because when it’s your turn to talk, don’t you want people listening to you?

#shedtheformality and belief that Zoom stinks and no one is listening. Be the one paying attention.

Managing isn’t leading

Managing is telling someone you want them to complete a task, they complete the task and then you tell them to do it again…your way.

Leading is setting a vision, having clear goals, consistent communication throughout the process and then trusting your clients or employees to accomplish the goal in their own way.

#shedtheformality and let go of control to let other people shine.

Trust yourself

This is a biggie. This is about knowing deeply who you are and committing to action. Speak up in meetings, contribute your ideas in client conversations, be clear about the value you bring and then bring it. You’ve been invited to the “stage” or “table” for a reason. Make the best of it.

#shedtheformality and go for it! Speak up or share an idea if it feels right in that moment.

Bottom Line

Your presence matters. It’s a gift that can lift someone up or it’s a drain that drags them down. 

How do YOU want to show up and interact with others?

Free Power Up Your Presence Download

Presence PDF CoverAs a takeaway, I shared this PDF document on how to Power Up Your Presence. It includes three key elements and simple strategies you can use today to have a more commanding presence when interacting with others.

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About the blog

Humor, stories, and insights, delivered 2x per month, to perform without the pressure.

Topics include mental health, work, human connection, creativity and more.


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