How to have presence

Written by
Andrew Sillitoe

12 Jul 2016

12 Jul 2016 • by Andrew Sillitoe

So whats the secret?

Imagine you have walked into a crowded room, everyone is talking, you recognise people and some are strangers. You feel awkward; people are talking but aren’t acknowledging you. Your inner voice says they could be talking about you. The feeling of anxiety is enhanced because you are completely naked!

Then you wake up.

Now imagine this:

You walk into a crowded room naked. You’re unfazed. You feel calm, your voice resonates and people want to hear what you have to say. You approach people and shake their hand with a smile. Whatever people are thinking doesn’t concern you because you are comfortable in your own skin. They haven’t even noticed that you are naked.

Getting naked in a crowded room (not recommended) is a metaphor for being comfortable with your vulnerability. Stripping off the armour that is protecting your ego is the key to unlocking your leadership potential.

Presence isn’t achieved by being the loudest and trying to be noticed. Presence is about being humble, listening, being open to ideas and embracing change.

Tips for enhancing your presence:


  1. Practice breathing from the bottom of your stomach, not your throat or chest
  2. Keep your body relaxed from your jaw down to your toes
  3. Listen with the intent to understand and not to be understood
  4. Learn how to be present with your emotions rather than suppress them
  5. Your audience, team, network are not a threat, they want you to succeed, those who don’t, don’t matter

#managethemist @andrewsillitoe