Easy Ways to Strengthen Your Presence at Work

In our intro to the Presence Principle, we covered what it’s about and why it matters. In today’s post I’m going to share some ideas to strengthen your presence at work and show up with more impact.  

The ideas below are based on what worked for me, and what I observed to work well for others. They are intended to be a starting point for you to ideate around what can work best for you, and your specific situation. To get you thinking!

So let’s get into it…

How To Show Up With Impact

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to possessing high presence at work. Presence is based in authenticity, which means how it is expressed is highly personal. You can learn by watching others, but it’s not likely you can replicate it.

However, there are collective behaviors and qualities that can be developed to strengthen one’s presence and ability to positively impact others. Here’s a few:


  • Gratitude. You are quick to show appreciation and gratitude, and you do it often. You recognize others for their contributions. You give credit where credit is due, and make sure others know they are valued.


  • Curiosity. You frequently ask questions and listen more than you talk. You recognize you don’t have all the answers and seek out others to solve problems. You consider diverse perspectives.


  •  Generosity. You generously make time for others. You don’t rush through one-on-one meetings. You are patient and present when talking to others, not side-tracked or texting on your phone.


  • Humility. You recognize the most important person in the room isn’t you. It’s the person you’re talking to—whether it’s the janitor or the CEO.


  • Expressive. You speak up and make sure your message is received the way you intended. You recognize what you say is just as important as how you say it. You use humor to put others at ease.


  • Genuine. You’re you, not someone else. You know yourself and don’t try to hide or deny your faults and vulnerabilities. You are comfortable and confident in your own skin.

Be Adaptable, But Tread Carefully

And last, but certainly not least, another important quality is your ability to adapt. This one requires a bit more explanation.

Adapting or modifying personal traits can often be necessary to gain stronger, higher presence at work. For example, slowing your pace of speech to convey more confidence or toning down your temper to show composure during times of stress.

And sometimes there are degrees of adaption needed to meet others’ expectations of what presence looks and feel like to them. If your boss equates business suits as important in showing up with impact, you may choose to upgrade your work wardrobe.

But adapting behaviors can be a delicate balance. They shouldn’t take away from who you genuinely are as a person.

Don’t Overdo It and Become Someone You’re Not

While there are many additional ways to build up your presence at work, a word of warning: don’t spend too much time in this area. Out of all the principles, this is the one I’ve seen many professionals overdo and spend inordinate amounts of energy perfecting, often at the expense of developing abilities in the other areas.

Maybe it’s because there is so much advice out there that pertains to one’s presence, and how to show up at work to convey confidence and power: wear the right clothes, take your seat at the table, adopt a superhero pose, stop saying “sorry”, fake it until you make it, and blah, blah, blah.

But in my experience, presence at work comes in many forms—and people with the highest levels of presence are the ones who find a way to make their true selves shine while bringing out the best in others.

Remember you still need to be recognizably you at the end of the day!



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