Your Presence is The Sum Total of You

There is a mindset I hear people articulate from time to time… and that mindset is that your presence is primarily created by the way you look and carry yourself. I heard this again recently in a workshop I was teaching, and the participant said that they did not have the wardrobe to create a strong presence. This person said that they like to be casual all the time, and that preference means their presence would never be strong.

I have heard versions of this mindset a lot over the years.

But this mindset is a mistake.

Does the way we dress impact the perception of our presence? It can, for sure. But the bottom line is that presence is about a lot more than the way we dress. It is everything that we carry into the room, meeting, phone call, or presentation with us. Presence is the sum total of everything about us.

What does that mean? It means that our presence is impacted by what we say… how we say it… our vocabulary… our body language… our facial expressions… the quality of our ideas… the simplicity and memorability of our message… the degree to which we understand our audience… the way we answer questions… how well we listen (or IF we listen)… I could go on.

Presence is the sum total of everything about us, not just the way we dress. And it is also cumulative… our presence includes the gravitas or reputation we bring into the room.

We are constantly building up or tearing down our presence, all day, every day, by everything we do.

You want to create a stronger presence for yourself? Then it has to be built, from the ground up. And everything matters.

Have a great day.

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2 responses to “Your Presence is The Sum Total of You”

  1. antoine says:

    and “that preference means their presence would never be strong”.
    what I hear is that you made a counscious choice not to have a stong impactfull presence.

    we can not have it both or multiple way.
    I totally agree that we are the sum of all the part, and one decide that he does not to invest in one of the part he is also signaling. And that signalling may well be that he does not want to be impactfull.

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Brett Slater

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.