Take a Pause & Boost Your Presence

Less speed, more grace and ease

Do you barrel from one thing to another at work? Do you find yourself finishing one meeting or phone call and then jumping straight into or onto the next? How about when you arrive at a meeting, do you like to get there early, settle in, suss out the terrain as it were – or do you clatter in and often find you’re wishing you had a couple of minutes to just gather yourself?

Well, if you’ve said “Yup” to any or all of the above, firstly you’re not alone. This is the M.O. as my friend Norman used to call it (modus operandi – way of working – I had to look it up when he told me) of so many women. We think we can fit one more call in or just five more minutes of attention on something before jumping to the next thing.

What’s interesting too is that in our desire to be ‘on it’ and be seen as being busy and in need, if you will, we sacrifice our precious state of mind. Our state.

When you look up ‘State’ in this context in the dictionary it offers “the particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time” and when your particular condition is just rush, rush, rush then we miss out on preparing ourselves for the best state of mind to be in for the situation.

If you build in extra time to just prepare your state, to think about what you want to have happen, what you want to say, avoid, include, decide as you move through your day you’ll find you won’t be operating on the back foot. You’ll be ‘at choice’ as I’ve heard it called.

The difference it makes to your energy as you consider how you want to show up, how you want people to perceive you can make the difference between you getting the response you want. Or not.

We both know we pick up on others’ energy. Their breathing, their pausing, their demeanour. Well, they pick up on ours of course. Women tell me they rush from one thing to another and say they’re conscious of their heels being heard clattering down the hallway or stairs. This gives the impression we’re on the back foot. Hurried. Late.

So, as an idea for you if any or all of the above has made you nod, here are a few things to do instead:

Take a breath when you put the phone down. Take just a moment – 30 seconds – to stare into space and consider what just happened. What was agreed. How was that person doing? What you noticed.

Dial in to conference lines 3 minutes before you need to be there. Be the one who’s ready to be ready rather than scrabbling around finding the dial-in details.

Even if you’re late, gather yourself in the lift or in the restrooms before. Just for a moment. Instead of running or bustling to where you’re going, try consciously striding with measured steps. It calms you down.

Choose your state. Tell yourself how you’ll be as you move to your next meeting, call or engagement. Instead of “I hope I’ll get what I want” or “I must make this happen” try to be more specific with yourself. “I’m calm, open and committed” for example. Instead of “I must speak up and be heard at some point” try “I’m prepared and adding value by contributing”. It tells your brain what state you want to be in.

Personal presence is one of those ethereal things. People feel your energy, your gaze, your breathing, your pace and all those ingredients come from your state.

What’s your most effective state to go about your business? If you want any further clues about the importance of planning for your state, here’s a few words from Tony Robbins, the super successful author, motivational speaker.

“Put yourself in a state of mind where you say to yourself, “Here is an opportunity for you to celebrate like never before, my own power, my own ability to get myself to do whatever is necessary.”


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