Having Presence

Written by Ingrid Boucher

· Blog

Written by Ingrid Boucher

A while ago, we discussed the concept of confidence and its relevance to various aspects of professional and personal matters. The first element we brought first was the importance of "speaking up" and how we can assert ourselves without the fear of being perceived as overly aggressive or emotional. Rather than thinking about being “assertive”, it's about believing that speaking up can resolve issues and move the conversation forward.

Another crucial aspect of asserting oneself is through having presence. While we often associate presence with body language and the "power pose" before important events, it's equally significant in online interactions. Let's delve into it:

Physical Presence:

Maintaining good posture, holding your head high, and displaying confidence through your body language sends a powerful message to your audience. It also tricks your mindset in entering “fight” mode. Years of social studies have shown that the "power pose" can help with the subjective feelings of power (or “Felt Power” - Journal Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology (CRSP) - 2017). Confidence may in turn helps presence, and organically, audience engagement and trust in the content being delivered. Paying attention to the posture and the energy of any speakers or peers during interviews or presentations clearly demonstrates the importance of physical presence. With presence, any speech given, may showcase the best in you and be a window into your company's goals. Your voice may grow stronger and you may find yourself interacting directly with your audience. Additionally, effective use of pauses and maintaining eye contact during conversations will significantly enhance your ability to communicate and be confident.

Online Presence:

Just like physical presence, online presence requires flexing muscles you may not have thought where there. We had previously spoken about actively participating in professional platforms such as LinkedIn. And we also did converse on how best to use it to our advantage. This, much like any other platforms, can carry our message and helps us in being remembered by our peers. While many of us browse through content, there can be reluctance to contribute. Overthinking our online persona can lead to missed opportunities whether for self-promotion or networking. Similarly to practicing having offline presence, taking small steps, can distigmatize the use of social platforms. It may take the form of a comment on relevant posts, responding to prompts, or sharing small professional updates. Those, can help build a strong online presence. And if the doubts resided in when to posts, using platform-specific features and scheduling tools can assist in streamlining the process.

Being present is an attitude that, like any skill, requires practice and consistency. A shift in presence, from a passive posture to a confident and proactive attitude, can significantly impact conversations and projects. As Amy Cuddy once said, "Fake it 'til you become it.", and that could not be truer here.