A topic that comes up a lot in my leadership development and coaching work is the topic of presence. People talk about wanting to exhibit more of it, improve it, control it, enhance it, or change it. Most of the time, when we talk about it, it is as if it is something outside of us that we are looking to cultivate more of.

The fact is, every single one of us has presence just by the nature of being present anywhere we are. Our presence is essentially how we show up– physically, energetically, emotionally, and interpersonally. Whether we intend it to or not, how we show up has a great impact on how others perceive us, and on the impression we leave with them.

How often do you think about how you want to show up on a day-to-day basis?

Not in order to manipulate others, but to be most congruent with who you say you are, who you want to be, and what you say value?

Many of us don’t take the time to think about and be intentional about how we want to show up, but instead our behaviors are reactive and adaptive to our environment and emotions.

I’ve had clients videotape their staff meetings for a month or two, and then watch the tapes.  Often they are not only surprised, but shocked at the way they come across.  They find that the automatic responses they see in their behavior are not at all how they see themselves.  Subtle things you may do without realizing it, like interrupting people, eye-rolling, rushing to judgment, etc. all come to light in a video-tape, and whether you want them to or not, are part of your presence.

How do you show up on a day-to-day basis?
Are you intentional about being the person you say you want to be—or do you espouse one thing but exhibit another in your behavior?

I find that many of us think we are exhibiting one thing, but the reality of how we come across with our behavior is quite another.

Here’s a list of 12 questions to ask yourself that can serve either to maximize or minimize how you show up to others energetically, physically, emotionally, and interpersonally:

1. Do you bring your full attention & focus to the person you are with, or look around the room or at your smart phone when talking to others?

2. Do you believe that everyone has something to teach you, or believe that you can only learn from those above you in stature and from known experts?

3. Do you genuinely appreciate the opportunity to interact with someone, regardless of their titles/status, or do you act hurried and feel as if you don’t have time for people who have nothing to give you?

4. Are you grounded, calm, and relaxed wherever you are or are you frantic, hurried, and frazzled most of the time?

5. Are you curious about the person you are interacting with or do you focus on how you sound, what the person can do for you, and what you will say next?

6. Do you have a neat and polished appearance and grooming appropriate for your role and the situation you are in or do you pay little or no attention to the messages your appearance sends?

7. Do you withhold judgment of others and realize that everyone has a different perspective or do you mentally dismiss others if they don’t immediately meet your credibility standards or you don’t agree with them?

8. Are you intellectually curious and focused on building depth and breadth of knowledge and competence, or are you focused primarily on your external appearance, the image you portray, and polishing the impression you make?

9. Do you silence the noise and self-doubt in your mind or do you become paralyzed by your rushing thoughts and anxiety from your self-criticism?

10. Do you feel comfortable in your own skin or do you constantly compare yourself to others and try to emulate someone else?

11.  Do you focus on the positive things and acknowledge them or do you spend your time looking to find fault and criticize?

12.  Is your energy upbeat and inspiring or is it purely task-focused and low?


How do you want to show up when others are in your presence?

Only you hold the keys to the choices you make every moment in attitude, mindset, appearance, and behavior that create your presence.

How intentional are you in those choices?

How congruent is your behavior with what you say you value?

What would happen if you began to be more intentional about how you show up, everywhere you are?

As always, send me a note with your comments. I love getting them.