AH-HA! There it is. The definition of Presence, short and simple.
I love my Oxford English Dictionary. The compact hardcover edition that is, first purchased through a book club deal in grad school. Forty bucks was a significant amount for a tight college budget but a strongly suggested investment by the devil-of-a-Shakespeare-teacher at UC San Diego, Diana Maddox.
Ms. Maddox touted the O.E.D. as a super source for looking up those archaic terms the Bard used in fueling his great characters but long since lost on our contemporary brains. One point she drilled was that the O.E.D. listed the first known use of the word, often the very Shakespearean term for which we searched.
In pursuit of defining “Presence” for me and you, I cracked open the second of the two compact edition volumes (“P through Z”), removed the included magnifying glass from its handy slide out drawer and paged through to the “P” section.
And there it was! Presence: “The fact or condition of being present”.
Why should we care about this? Because on our business stage, Presence appears to matter. I’ve been asked many times to help businesspeople with their executive or leadership Presence, usually a perceived lack thereof by those stakeholders who want to see them get “it”.
It’s the “it” that’s elusive. People seem to know Presence when they see it. And when it’s lacking. Many say they want it or even need it.
So here’s a start. Be present. Do it right now. Become the essence of Presence. Put distractions aside and just fully “be there” with your Audience.
My job is done. Unless…there’s more to having Presence than our O.E.D. definition? The good news is, you can learn it! That’s where I can help through workshops and coaching.
What do you think? What’s your definition of Presence? Should you care? Choose the Comment link under the title above to share your take.
It’s your stage. Your performance. You’re on!
Photo content: © Oxford University Press 1971