Some people have presence because they speak loudly, or because they are trying to have presence. This is what I would refer to as having a false sense of presence. Conversely, the quiet person may have the greatest presence because they have gained tenure and the trust of others based on their life experiences. Presence can be perceived from both a physical point of view, versus a philosophical point of view, as renowned entrepreneur and Forbes Magazine publisher, Malcom Forbes once said, “Presence is more than just being there.”
So, is it possible not to have presence? This sounds fairly philosophical, but in reality, everyone has presence. Boiling this down to the simplest concept, the difference between people is how much presence they have, and whether having presence is situational, or sustained. Another way of looking at the concept of presence, is whether it is different based on gender, age or geographic location. Taking this concept one step further, does it matter how much presence you have?
Thinking of presence as a physical concept, it may be easier to determine whether someone does or does not command a large sense of presence, or whether they simply are present. Does having presence or a greater amount of it gain you anything? In my opinion, I think it does. An example of this is when either actual leaders or perceived leaders or people who are around others, draw them in with their presence, and are able to influence them positively or negatively. This is potentially because they wield a sense of natural charisma, or command of others attention. People who have a sense of presence typically draw others to them, or others seek them out. Either party may or may not be aware of this happening. However, the people who are drawn to the individual with presence, would describe being drawn to the person with presence as a sense of magnetic pull.
Not being a scientist, but being a curious human, I wonder why would some people have more presence than others, and whether there are differences in the types of presence one can have. If presence is a physical attribute, perhaps it can be gained or lost over time? If the concept of presence is also more philosophical or situationally based, are the people with presence who are not defined as leaders, leaders in the making? In business, most leaders have a sense of presence, but there are clearly people who are not technically leaders who have a tremendous sense of presence among their peers. Or, are these non-leader individuals at a juncture of becoming leaders given the right situation, timing and place?
If we agree everyone has presence, and it is a matter of how much on a measurement scale each person has, would you want to have an ability to gain more presence? Or, are you satisfied with the presence level you currently have? Lastly, have you given thought about whether you command a sense of presence when you are with others, or been told you have a strong sense of presence? I would enjoy hearing your thoughts about this topic, so drop me a note to let me know what you think.
Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at firstname.lastname@example.org .