When you are walking down the street in a city or small downtown area what makes you notice others? I don’t mean noticing them because they are doing something outlandish. I mean noticing them because they are so “perfectly who they are”, and it catches your eye. What is it about those people? The way someone looks? Their physical features? The way they act? The way they are dressed? I would argue that if you do notice someone, it’s a combination of all of these that work together.
As a business traveler I walk the streets of many cities. There is something inspiring about watching what happens around you when putting one foot in front of the other on the cement blocks of an urban landscape. The noise, the scents, the chaos, the people. There is a general buzz, a hum that enters the process, as the city passes you by. Nothing is ever the same on any given day. Except one thing. The way that people notice each other. It’s a fascinating peek into human nature. Simply put, when there are that many people around you, you are going to take notice of some of them, and you will take notice of those that stand out. Those with presence.
Presence in any situation is powerful, and often created verbally. Those who speak, emote….demonstrate strong presence, in a presentation, a meeting, on stage, with family, with friends, with colleagues. They have an impact on others. But the first thing people will notice, is how you look, how you have chosen to present yourself visually. For the lucky, this can simply be because they fit the definition of what others find as pretty, beautiful, cute, handsome or …hot. For the eccentric it could be a visual manifestation of your quirkiness; reference the recent woman in San Francisco who wears a frog suit to work. For most it’s how we dress. Clothes are our human Pinterest board. What we choose to wear is a major factor in our presence and how the world sees us.
The beauty of this process is that the answer is not the same for everyone. Developing your own personal style is an element of building that presence, where confidence in what you are wearing is the key element. The confidence you exude when you love what you are wearing will show, and others will notice. I recently added a fitted spring jacket to my daily wardrobe, with a high collar that frames my face, and made the choice that my brown Thursday boots were a compliment to my casual suiting. I felt good about the way I looked and walked to work with confidence in my step. I had presence, and people noticed. A swift glance by many other chaps on their way to work, doing a quick glance up at the jacket with a swift bat at the boots. The women walking by cracking a smile as she passed, the gym rats, the shop owners, the local senior citizen with her groceries, peering to get a that one second glance at how I was dressed. It was a good day that day.
Attention from others is not the success metric here. It’s what can happen once you are noticed. When you can create that kind of presence, you can do amazing things…have influence, effect change, make a difference. Live large. So when you get dressed tomorrow, have a look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are demonstrating presence. If not, make a tweak you feel good about and take on the day with confidence. You’ll be amazed at what happens.
Click the link below to take our one question survey and let us know how you define presence. We will post the results on our facebook page on Sunday May 17th. SILVERFLY FB