How to Have Presence
In acting, modeling, and even business, presence (also commonly referred to as "it") is an important part of getting people interested in you. In some spiritual circles, presence and spirit are one and the same. Meditation, contemplation, acting, dance, and sports all seek to connect with something deeper. Since some schools of thought believe that presence can be found through reflection and meditation, we'll talk about getting into the mindset and looking and acting the part, in addition to mental reflection and relaxation. That "it" isn't so elusive after all!
Remember everything in life can be learned. In the case of a quality such as 'presence', the learning is learning to control your mindset. 'In with the good, Out with the bad".
Channeling Your Presence
Be confident.It is virtually impossible to have presence, have that "it" factor, when you're riddled with insecurities. Instead of engaging in the moment and grabbing it by its horns, you'll be busy huddling in the corner waiting for the jury to get their harsh judgment over with. No article can show you a mathematical formula for confidence, but it can tell you how awesome you are. And that you definitely have things to be confident about.
- It's important -- at least in the topic of having presence -- to think of confidence as quiet. No hard-hitting bravado or hubris is appropriate here. There's no room for displays of power or boastfulness. Presence is natural and justis. Your confidence needn't be a show; it should just be something that's a part of you. Think of confidence as in the same category as your height or hair color. People notice. You don't say anything about it, but people notice.That'show it should be.
Get comfortable.Let's say Beyoncé joins you in line for the women's restroom (or Jay-Z if you're a male, but then there's probably not a line). You would love to have a conversation with her and to snap a quick photo, but you really have to pee. How present and engaged will you be with her? Not very. So whatever situation you're in (Beyoncé or not), get comfortable. It'll be the only way you can give it your all.
- That means adjust the temperature, go to the bathroom, and, for your sake, wear comfortable pants. If you feel something in your teeth or are constantly fighting an uphill battle against a wedgie, you won't be exuding presence. Do whatever you can to un-preoccupy your mind.
Be yourself.There is a certain genuineness about presence. After all, if you're fake, it's not you who's in the room. It's some image you're trying to show the world. Most people can detect this, whether they're aware of it or not. So act natural. Be yourself. What good is it doing you pretending to be something else?
- People who aren't comfortable with themselves are always caught up in some image-maintaining. They feel like they have to be seen wearing the right things, saying the right things, doing the right things, and all in the right places with the right people. They have no view of themselves because the only thing that matters to them is the opinions of others. These people don't have presence -- presence isn't something anyone else can give you!
Don't worry about how you come off.Really, we've spent the past four paragraphs saying just this. If the people you're with don't like you, how long are you really gonna be around them anyway? You're not. So if you are justyou(which is the only person you'll be around for the rest of, oh, you know,forever), and you're not caught up worrying about your image, the better parts of you can shine.
- Think of this impression management as a layer of dust over whatever it is that makes up you. Instead of seeing who you are, people see this dust. The dust isn't bad, the dust isn't good, it's just dust. It's easily wiped away. And while it doesn't turn other people off, it hides what makes you memorable. It hides what makes you awesome.
Check your temper.If presence were easily define-able, part of the definition would be an innate sense of calmness. Someone with presence, charisma, and that ineffable "it" factor is never seen storming about, making waves, or punishing others arbitrarily. Generally anger is a resort and someone with presence just doesn't need to waste time on it. They're too calm and collected to need to put up a fuss.
Put your phone away.Seriously. Have you ever gone out to a restaurant and noticed that one couple that's sitting by the window, where the guy is on his phone playing Candy Crush and the girl is taking selfies or pictures of the food that was once on her half-eaten plate? If you want people to notice you, hiding behind a light-up screen isn't the way to go about doing it. So get in the moment. Put your phone away (not just down) and give the people around you your undivided attention.
- So here's a little science being dropped: so much of how people think and feel about you is really how you make them feel aboutthemselves. If you pay attention to them, they're going to feel important, and they're going to like you and think you're a great listener. Flirt with someone and they like you because you make them feel attractive. So when you put your phone down, you're showing them you're there. With them and only them. That you care and that they matter. Boom. You're present. And what's a word that sounds ridiculously like present? Hmm.
Take a deep breath.Okay, let's say you're walking into a big, important meeting. You want to be the one who people can look to, the natural leader for the next assigned project, the one people come to with questions -- and not the other way around. But you're a little nervous and you know you're a little nervous. Instead of walking in and throwing up the white flag, take a deep breath. Maybe smooth your hair a bit, adjust your seams, slow your movements, andthenwalk in. You got this. Why would anyone think otherwise?
- No, you're right, presence is not a show. It's not something you lose when you're harried and rushed. But if you're nervous, if you're running around like a chicken with your head cut off, people can see that. You might still be super confident and have your act together, but you'll appear too frazzled for that intangible aura of leadership to come through.
Part 1 Quiz
Why is being confident important to presence?
Looking the Part
Show body language that's engaged.Let's take Steve Jobs. A really powerful guy. Eloquent, charming, rich as hell. Now imagine him at a meeting where he's slumped over, ignoring everyone, and just playing on his iPhone, face adorned with a slight scowl. Not exactly a guy you'd peg for having presence, huh? So even if you are the one in the room with the most presence, you gotta show it. So spread out. The room is yours.
- Feel free to spread out a bit. People who are more confident are more comfortable taking up a bit more room. Put your arms on the table. Lean forward a bit, into the person who's talking to show you're engaged. Nod when it's clear they're trying to get a not-so-crystal point across. Look them in the eye. Be there in mind, spirit, and body.
Walk tall.If you've never thought about your walk before, it's time to start. In fact, it's time to experiment! Your mind takes cues from your body, so you may evenfeelthe confidence ooze through you when you walk more confidently. Go on, try it!
- Walk back and forth across the room with your head held a bit above 90 degrees and your shoulders back. Walk at a moderate pace. How's it feel?
- Now walk back and forth across the room with your head down and your shoulders hunched over a bit. Walk slowly. At the end of your walk, hold that position. How do things feel different?
Make eye contact.A huge part in engaging with people, in showing them that you're listening and that you care, is eye contact. Plenty of nice guys don't get the girl because they can't look at her, plenty of salesmen don't make the sale because their sideways glances give them away, and plenty of people don't seem confident and put together because they're too afraid to make that connection. People see you regardless of whether or not you're looking at them, so why not look back?
- For the record, there's a huge difference between eye contact and staring. A good rule of thumb is to look at the person (and do blink!) while they're making a point. If you're responding, switch it up a little, or if the conversation is breezy or they're gesturing, give your eyeballs some literal wiggle room.
Dress the part.Okay, so when it comes to presence, clothes don't make the man. That being said, having the right wardrobe is the first filter people put you through when they're taking you in. So while clothes won't give you presence, they'll get you through the door, where the presence is sitting in a bowl by the window.
- It's not about wearing brand names. It's not about suits and dresses. It's mostly about being put together and well-groomed. If you've showered, shaved, put on some deodorant, and dressed in decent clothes with the light on, you should be okay.
Part 2 Quiz
How should you sit at a table for a business meeting?
Showing You Have "It"
Be present.If you've read the first two sections, you probably already have an idea of how to do this. It means putting your phone down, engaging with your body language, having showered in the recent past, and just grounding yourself in the moment. It's called "presence" for a reason. You can't have presence if you don't show up!
- Connect to the moment. Think of it as your moment. If you're on stage, the stage is yours, this moment is yours, and this character is you. There's nothing to worry about. You're there in mind, body, and spirit. There's no panel of judges, there's no fight with your boyfriend, there's no football game on TV, there's just now where you are.
Never let 'em see you sweat.Don't give them the satisfaction. A person with presence is always cool, calm, and collected. When everyone else is pulling their hair out with stress, you're the one getting things done with a smile on your face. You do this stuff in your sleep. You eat this stuff for breakfast. No biggie. Nothing can shake you.
- This goes double if your presence is onstage or in front of a camera. Any nervousness, any agitation will be seen or captured. You've probably seen an actor who couldn't seem to commit to an action or behavior because they were too busy overthinking it, worrying what was correct. When you start sweating, you've already lost confidence in you, and others will shortly follow suit.
Don't soften your words.This is a problem for most of us, especially women. We're taught to say, "I think maybe this will help the problem," instead of, "Here's the solution." We qualify our words and say "I'm sorry" as a casual starter to any sentence. Don't bother! While these things can be tactful at times, they can also be unnecessary at others. If you're looking to show you're confident in you, you want to abandon the lingual niceties.
- If your boss were to say, "You know, I was thinking that perhaps we should go in a different direction. I know it'll be a huge convenience and I'm so sorry, but I really think this is a good idea, don't you?", how would you interpret that? Now if they were to say, "Guys. Listen up. We gotta go in a different direction. It's gonna be work, but it'll be worth it. Whaddaya say?" How would you interpretthat? Bingo.
Don't be afraid of silence.You know that awkward first date where the conversation kinda hits a lull and both parties scramble to find something interesting to say to kill the awkward silence? Don't. Don't worry about it. You want 'em hanging on your every word -- if you're talking the entire time, they're gonna be hanging on the edge of their seats so they're closer to the door. So choose your words. They're more powerful that way.
Speak clearly.Every word out of your mouth should be audible. Don't let your sentences trail off like.... See how terrible that is?! You believe in your words, so there's no need to hide them. Speak clearly so you can be heard. Otherwise why bother talking?
- Let's take that same example: "Guys. Listen up. We gotta go in a different direction. It's gonna be work, but it'll be worth it. Whaddaya say?" Good! That's good stuff. Now imagine it like this, "Uhh, hey, guys. Listen up. We, like gotta go in a different, um, direction. Yeah. Uhh, it's gonna be, you know, work and stuff, but it'll be worth it." That's a big fat no. Don't hem and haw! You're confident in your point, so spit it out!
Part 3 Quiz
How can you make a statement with presence?
Get comfortable.You may lie on your back on the floor or otherwise place yourself in a comfortable position. Make sure that nothing will distract you (unplug your phone, close your door, ask people not to disturb you, etc.).
Close your eyes and pay attention to your breath.Allow your breath to fall in and out of you, unobstructed. Notice any place where your breath begins to catch. Allow your breath to touch that place until it opens and relaxes.
- Be sure not to judge your observations. Allow yourself to be in the state you are in. Also know that your state is flexible and can change.
Move your attention to your facial muscles.Start from the top of your head and move your way down. Are you lifting your brow? Are you holding your eyes closed too tightly? Are you flaring your nostrils? Are you curling your lips in? Are you pulling your mouth into a frown? Are you pulling your mouth into a smile? Is your jaw relaxed? Is your neck relaxed?
Concentrate on any tension in your face and take a deep breath in.Imagine that you are delivering all of the oxygen from your breath straight to the point on your face that is tense.
- Continue until your entire face and neck are relaxed. You should feel your sinuses open up and your circulation become better (your may feel more warmth or tingling in your skin). Your expression may feel very different. Do not judge yourself, just notice what you notice.
Take the time to do this throughout your entire body.Allow each point of tension to be filled with your breath. Allow these places to open and relax. Pay close attention to the state of your body as this tells you a lot about how you move through the world.
- If at any time that you are studying your new body, you feel tensions creeping back, take another deep breath and release this tension.
After you are done, go over to a mirror and look at yourself.You may be shocked because you look a little different. Do not do anything, just observe how you have changed.
Talk to someone you know.They may comment that you look a little different. Your voice may sound different as well. You may seem more confident, more calm. Don't let this disturb you. If you feel the tension creeping back, take a deep, silent breath and release the tension again.
- While you are talking to your friend or family member, allow yourself to be expressive with your face as well as your body, but don't get stuck in an expression. Always attempt to return to a natural, relaxed position.
After you have mastered talking to people close to you, maintain your presence when walking around school, work, or outside.People may comment that you look a little different. Do not be discouraged.
- It is likely that tensions will return. Just be sure not to judge yourself. This is a process and is different for each person. Notice the tension and allow yourself to release it.
When you walk down the street, try to make eye contact with strangers.Don't force yourself to react in a particular way, just allow an expression to move through your body. Check in afterwards, did your smile stick? Did the tension return to your face or body? Practice this until you remain relaxed when you greet strangers.
- In all situations, it is important to maintain your presence. If you have anxiety or fear, acknowledge it and allow yourself to move through it. Turn your focus to your breath and breathe out any tension.
Part 4 Quiz
True or False: Once you release the tension in your body, you won't have to do it again.
- Often we feel pressure from the outside world to conform to some unknown state. This is normal and everyone deals with this in their own way. When you notice someone observing you, try to accept what you perceive. You have no need to block your perception as no one has the power to change how you feel about yourself unless you let them.
- The goal is to relax. If you can allow yourself to be who and what you are, others can observe your presence. Tension is a mechanism that allows people to maintain a shape within their body and thus escape the scrutiny of others. Remember that you are beautiful, no matter what you look like, beauty comes from acceptance.
- Another great exercise is to look at yourself in the mirror and smile over a period of one full minute. Your face must be in motion for the entire minute. This takes a lot of practice.
- Presence is an elusive quality and is different for every person. Try to investigate what presence means to you.
- Presence is often considered a rare quality, yet everyone has it and has the potential to cultivate it. Presence can make people with otherwise plain or "unattractive" features look intriguing and beautiful. Once you have presence, people will notice you more. Do not be afraid, they are just admiring you.
- After trying this exercise for the first time, you may not look your absolute best. This is because the muscles that you used to tense have probably caused other useful facial muscles to weaken. Only after weeks or months of practice, unused muscles will strengthen again, giving you the an irresistible "it" factor.
- As you begin to cultivate presence, people might get jealous and say hurtful things. People who have not found a way to achieve a relaxed state can often develop resentment for those who have. Just keep in mind that presence is much more powerful than physical beauty.
- Try making a list of words that describe your presence, ask others what words they would use (only add these if you agree).
- Failure to accept what is happening in the world is a large source of tension in the body. Acceptance of what is in the world allow us to work within our environment effectively.
- It is very important to remember not to become full of yourself once you have started to achieve success. This is easiest way to taint your presence. Judging others is just as unfair as being judged and it is only when you are able to let go of judgments that you will be truly free of them.
- Stanislavski (a Russian acting teacher) likened relaxation to adding a controller to your brain--a little man who searches out tension and goes to the source to relieve it. You may have to do this consciously at first, but after a while, your controller will learn to work on his own.
- Your expressions should consist of continuous movements. Your relaxed state should not involve "holding" any one muscle in place. You are constantly moving in very small ways. Actors often refer to the concept of "stillness in motion." You can experience this in your neck very easily by doing the following:
- Rotate your head about your neck in one direction.
- Ever so subtly make the circles smaller and smaller.
- Keep making your circles smaller until they disappear. If you feel your head get stuck, start to make very small circles again until you feel the stillness in motion.
Sources and Citations
Categories: | |
In other languages:
Español: , Português: , Русский: , Deutsch: , Italiano: , Français: , Bahasa Indonesia: , 中文:
Video: The Key to a Strong Presence
Heres Why You Should Consider Only Eating California-Grown Avocados
7 Awesome Benefits of Birth Control
Gorgeous Greens and Peaches Salad
How to Save a Fillable PDF on Google Chrome
Nicki Minaj and Tekashi 6ix9ine Shaded Cardi B and Hired Her Mortal Enemies
Amazon has cheapest prices, study says
A trans woman is suing Tinder after it deleted her account
How to Start a Small Business
How to Build a Still
This Is How Many Calories A Week You Should Eat For Weight Loss
Jamelia and other stars to perform in Oxfam charity-shop gig
Mom Shuts Down Obnoxious Mean Girls With a Note Everyone Needs to Read