Lucas Brenner » Articles » Show Presence

Regardless of whether you want to be promoted, get to know a person, or settle into a new environment, presence plays an important role. Those who stand out positively are better remembered, are perceived as more likeable and competent, and can make new contacts more easily.

Developing a good and pleasant presence helps in many life situations and can make all the difference. Presence means having charisma and good manners, but it is more than that. Presence also involves fulfilling your role, stepping out of your comfort zone, but not acting self-centered. This leads to establishing better relationships with other people.

Fulfilling Your Role

Especially in new situations, it is important to be present. On the one hand, this means being physically present[1], but it also means being mentally present. Other people quickly notice if you drift off in your thoughts and don't listen to them.

In addition, you should complete your tasks to the best of your ability in order to stand out. This includes presenting your results confidently and speaking your mind openly in discussions.

Openness and friendliness, together with polite directness, have the effect that your message is conveyed clearly and the counterpart knows where he or she stands. As a result, the counterpart perceives the relationship as “easier” and evaluates it as better.

Sometimes it is also important to put a toe over the boundaries of your own role. In doing so, you should not become pushy or take over the work of others. Instead, you should be perceived as a supporter who is not afraid to lend a hand.

Leave Your Comfort Zone

Building a positive presence is difficult and exhausting. The good news is that it gets easier over time as you internalize the necessary habits. Plus, presence is self-reinforcing.

Still, you have to leave your comfort zone, reach out to others, and not be afraid to stand out. Standing out from the crowd is part of it, and you have to accept being in the spotlight from time to time if you want to build a presence.

Don't Act Self-Centered

Although I'm talking about “being in the spotlight” or “standing out” I don't mean that you should only care about yourself. On the contrary, you build a positive presence most easily by helping others.

It should not seem as if you are only concerned with your own reputation or effect on others. If you are only superficially helpful but do not see it as an end in itself, you will stand out – but in a negative sense. Your own motives come to light sooner or later.

A positive presence does not make you famous, nor does it give you the right to be egocentric. It is possible to stand out with your presence, to get ahead faster and to improve your relationships with other people, but it is not a panacea.

Charisma is more than a means to an end. Helpfulness, selflessness, and empathy are ends in themselves that should not be misused as tools.

A positive presence is helpful in professional and everyday life and can improve your own relationships. However, the strategies presented here must be used consciously and with caution to avoid becoming self-centered.


[1] You can also show presence digitally, but it is more difficult than in real life. If there is no other way, always turn on your camera in video conferences, smile, and use gestures and facial expressions that you would also use in real conversations (e.g., nodding).