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Some People Have Presence. Some Don’t! Which one are you?

How would it feel to walk into a job interview supreme confidence? Or to give a presentation in front of your company’s C-suite with panache? Once you master the basics of presence, you’ll be amazed at the doors it can unlock.

Here are three keys to tapping into this superpower.

Dress the part. A sharp suit demands more respect than a rumpled pair of chinos or an ill-fitting blouse. Like it or not, your appearance is a major factor in the way people perceive you. Someone once told me, “I dress to the level I want to achieve.” Does that mean you have to black-tie ready at all times? Of course not — but whether you’re in business attire or casual wear, you should project a professional, dignified appearance.

Go for gravitas. Have you ever noticed that people who inspire respect hold themselves differently? That’s because body language says volumes about you and the treatment you think you deserve. You can practice powerful body language even when you’re not feeling it. Research from Harvard and Columbia Business Schools shows that by holding your body in an expansive “power pose”— leaning back with hands behind the head and feet on a desk, or standing with legs and arms stretched open — will help you feel more confident. Striking these high-power poses for as little as two minutes stimulates higher levels of testosterone, the hormone linked to power, and lowers the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

Take command of communication. I’ve been a student of Neuro-linguistic Programming, or NLP, for many years. One of the things its taught me is that language directs our focus. The language we use – both inside our heads and out in the world – is magnificently influential. The mind is always listening to us talk, and it takes our words as instructions to build on. Star Wars Jedi Master Yoda spoke to us all when he said, “Do or do not; there is no try.” When we say “I’ll try,” it leads us into the effort-rich experience of trying. Yet when we say, “I will do it,” the mind follows an entirely different pathway – the path to making it happen.

What could you do with a fully developed, fully realized presence? Which barriers could you knock down?


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