Powerful Presence: What You Deliver Beyond Your Words
Have you ever watched yourself on video with the sound off? What is your body saying? What about when you walk on- and off-stage: When you talk with staff backstage? When you roam the audience before and after your event?
You probably deliver a powerful message in the final words of your speech. You should be sending this same message with your presence from the time you enter the speaking venue, until the time you leave.
The presence you project is more important than the words you carefully rehearse. The moment people see you, your presence affects everyone’s thoughts and behaviors. There are three realms you must adjust to regulate the impact of your presence: mindfulness, intent and emotional tone.
1. Mindfulness happens when you have a sense of your body, your emotions, and your thoughts while you are with others. The more you are skilled at mindfulness, the more you will be able to adjust when the unexpected throws you off-balance.
There are many exercises available for you to relax, notice your breathing, clear your mind and then choose how you want to feel. Find one that suits you. With practice, you should be able to ground yourself and become aware of your body, emotions, thoughts and surroundings in a matter of seconds.
2. Intent is being clear on what your purpose is in any interaction, and what you expect to happen as a result. Don’t just consider what you want people to know. Be clear on how you want them to feel about themselves, their goals and their lives.
Once you determine what you want to happen, determine who you want to be in the moment – an expert, an inspirer, an advocate, a visionary, an energizer, an architect, a collaborator, a jester, a lover or a leader? Think about your speech. Are you an expert or more of an inspiration? Are you an advocate when they need a visionary? Be clear on what your primary intent is. Remind yourself of your ultimate intent before you speak. Use this as a keyword to say to yourself throughout your presentation.
3. Emotional Tone. Consider your energy both on- and off-stage. I have heard too many stories of speakers who are lovely on stage and then ruin the moment with how they treat people once they leave the spotlight. The emotions you feel will boost or hinder the lasting impact you have on people.
Are you anxious, cautious, frustrated or impatient? If so, try to shift your emotions to feeling calm, hopeful, optimistic, grateful, caring, respectful, curious or amused. What can you feel excited about? What will open your heart to compassion? If things aren’t going well for you before or after the event, model the most gracious behavior you can. Then find your contagious sense of humor. We all need more laughter!
When you are mindful of your body and thoughts, clear about your intent and deliberate about your emotions, you are in control of your presence. You can create a positive impact the moment you enter the room and a lasting memory when you leave it.