A week ago, I posted a version of “When Cicero speaks, the world marvels. When Demosthenes speaks, the world marches!” and a lot of people liked it and shared it to their groups. The source and origins of this quote is unknown to me. It could be Plutarch or it could have been former Prime Minister Gordon Brown of United Kingdom. What I know is that I relate to it powerfully, and I like to make everything I put out into the world about communications, about leadership and about unleashing inherent excellence resonate with the essence and the power that lies hidden in this quote. For me, it contracts and consolidates what throbs inside my HeART when i speak. When I speak, thus, I endeavour to stir up thought and churn out massive, constructive and positive action.
For achieving such powerful results and for learning and mastering such fabulous skills there are many published and professed ways. There are multiple means and methods and strategies and practices. There is, which I like, the concept of congruence, the concept and practice of authenticity, vision, purpose, goals and even compassion for the world outside of us. For today, in this digital chat, let’s focus on just one…presence!
Presence? What is it? Where does it rise from? What does it mean to be present and to have presence? And, how does one equip himself with it?
Presence to me is being deeply and truly grounded into life as we know it. To be focused and driven by a powerful, earth-moving purpose to create and generate good from nothing, from ether. Presence is to be highly aware of how the world turns, how people think and feel and sense and process things. Presence is to surrender yourself and become a living part of a dynamic universe and still sustain and hold up, graciously, your own self.
You say, “Ok, Raju, I get it. I see what you say but how do I go about having it?”
Here are three powerful insights:
One: Appreciate your Audience.
Your audience can, first, be you yourself. Appreciate yourself and when you self talk, as we all do, do it with kindness, with nurture and with the purpose of building rather than sabotaging yourself.
On the other hand your audience can be real audience of one, as in a coaching conversation, or an audience of a 1,000 at an event. Apply the same principle of appreciation. Appreciate who they are, appreciate whatever background they hail from and respect whatever future they are seeking. “When you change the way you look at people, the people you look at change,” claims my mentor Wayne Dyer. When you respect and regard your audience with appreciation then your personal presence kicks in. It kicks in for their benefit, and for the purpose of nurturing and adding value to their lives.
Two: Be Authentically Congruent.
What the heck does that mean? Very simple! If, inside of you, you want to achieve one goal but, outside of you, you are promoting another goal then you are not being congruent. There is discord and dissonance in your professing and in your behavior. As and when that happens, then my friends, something is bound to give, to shatter. That something could, first, be you and then your audience, your friends, your family and your world.
Thus, get totally and intrinsically clear about what EXACTLY do you want. No “ifs” and “buts” about it, then go ahead and figure out what is that you have to say and do to get what you want. After that it’ll be a cinch to create value and meaning for your audience, your relationships and your organizations.
As my friend Al Pacino said in The Scent of a Woman, “The journey into this behavior is hard but the fruits of the process are soft, sweet and deeply satisfying.” No, he did not say that! I am just making it up.
the Power of the Pause
Three: Pause, For Heaven’s Sake, Pause!
Yes, I mean it! Stop! Breathe! Look around, smile, connect, acknowledge, listen to and feel your audience, your people and your communities. They like that and they want it all the time just as much as you want people to do the same for you.
No doubt about it but, yes, Mother Earth is unstoppable. She rolls and she turns and she never waits up for anybody. You are always catching up with things, with technology, with trends and deadlines. I know and I understand. I know you go to bed for a little nap and when you wake up, man, the world has moved on and left you behind. Yeah!
Be at peace with this. You can’t change it and neither can the guy in a blue suit from planet Krypton. Just be at peace with this. Pause and remember time is just a concept, an abstract thing, it is infinite while your life is not. You just do your best, one thing at a time. That is presence.
Similarly, while speaking on stage, pause before you begin speaking. Pause after you have begun the speech. Pause in the middle, pause at comma’s, pause at periods and pause after you throw out a question. Pause and slow down when you are shifting topics as you do when shifting gears in a car. Pause like Al Pacino, pause like Anthony Hopkins and, definitely and truly pause like Demosthenes might have done when he had people marching for him instead of just marveling at his speech. Yes, pause like they did back in the day when presence and the power of pause was a living thing, a gift from the same source that keeps Mother Earth turning all the time.
I am running a workshop, The HeART of Public Speaking, come by if you wish. The workshop includes a large module on Mind Mapping and, of course, the power of the pause.