Saturday, June 26, 2010

Curious about Presence: What Is It? Do You Have a Successful Presence? And, How Do We Establish One?

Definition of Presence: The place in which one is present; the part of space within one's ken, call, influence, etc. The whole of the personal qualities of an individual; person; personality; especially, the person of a superior, as a sovereign. Port, mien; air; personal appearance.

The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.” – Epictetus, Greek philosopher

As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson, American author

When my daughter and I started attending the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, we would spend hours discussing why, even though we enjoyed all of the tellers, we were more captivated by certain ones. We came to the conclusion that the outstanding tellers possessed a special presence that shone through the minute they would take to the stage.

As I was considering what theme I would choose for this week’s blog, I realized that our presence can affect the impact we make on others. And, there are many qualities of presence that work together to enhance our memorability and that all time important first impression. All the details work together.

Important is how we speak, how we hold ourselves, how we dress, how we listen, how we move, and especially how confident we are – quite different from being arrogant.

I think you will enjoy the quotations. They help a great deal with defining true presence:
  • We convince by our presence.” – Walt Whitman, American poet
  • You find yourself refreshed in the presence of cheerful people. Why not make an honest effort to confer that pleasure on others? Half the battle is gained if you never allow yourself to say anything gloomy.” - Lydia M. Child, American activist
  • You've got to work hard for your success and you've got to have a steady presence. That's the secret.” - Kid Rock, American musician
  • Your children need your presence more than your presents.” - Jesse Jackson, American activist
  • Luck is not something you can mention in the presence of self-made men.” - E. B. White, American comedian
  • Meryl Streep does things I would never have thought possible... Her presence on screen is outstanding.” - Leonardo DiCaprio, American actor
  • Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of a witness.” – Margaret Millar, Canadian writer

And a few more:

  • Presence is more than just being there.” - Malcolm Forbes, American publisher
  • The best effort of a fine person is felt after we have left their presence.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet
  • People also leave presence in a place even when they are no longer there.” – Andy Goldsworthy, British artist
  • It is by presence of mind in untried emergencies that the native metal of man is tested.” - James Russell Lowell, American poet
  • Few delights can equal the presence of one whom we trust utterly.” - George MacDonald, Scottish novelist
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger, I don't know if you'd call him a great actor, but he's amazing in terms of his presence, and he is interesting enough that you want to watch him.” – F. Murray Abraham, American actor

So, what kind of presence do you have and leave behind you? I suggest asking someone you trust – a good friend or family member – to describe your presence in their estimation. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.