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To be annoyed that I seem to lack presence?

(38 Posts)
Flamingoblue1 Fri 29-Jan-16 20:42:15

Hello all. It's came to my attention that I appear to lack presence. I'm in quite a senior job and have been for a while. Never had an issues getting a job or getting on with colleagues. I, however, lack presence. I find that my point, although valid, often go overlooked and people talk over me. This has been a problem in all 4 jobs I've had in my career. Today it happened again and I feel that other people are stronger characters. I won't talk or run my mouth if I'm not right and don't like confrontation so maybe that's an issue. It's started to become apparent that I'm a weak person and that doesn't feel good

tobysmum77 Fri 29-Jan-16 20:47:14

No you aren't a weak person you are a successful person.

I think work can be complex, you have to play people sometimes and let them have their say if it's important to them to spout their shite but put a plan into place to get your point heard somehow.

Susiesoop Fri 29-Jan-16 20:50:24

I have suffered from the same thing, buy it has improved. Would recommend watching Any Cuddy's Ted Talk on power poses (making sure you are not assuming low status positions when speaking)...also beware of subtle undermining indicators in speech/emails ''just' wanted to say' and also something that I am terrible for doing 'here is great idea x y z...but of course maybe it wouldnt work if a b c'...doh! But YANBU it is a 'thing' but definitely something that can be worked on rather than innately unchangeable.

Susiesoop Fri 29-Jan-16 20:54:06

Ps not agreeing with you that you are weak after reading your op again! Not weakness at all.. Presence is a skill like any other, some people have it but it can def be practised. Assertiveness doesnt have to be loud shoutiness either IMO...

toffeeboffin Fri 29-Jan-16 20:55:53

Read the thread in S&B, 'How to look intimidating'.

Good tips for presence too.

thesandwich Fri 29-Jan-16 20:57:30

Google patsy rodenburg second circle YouTube talk- she is a famous acting coach. Might help!

annandale Fri 29-Jan-16 21:04:34

Walk like a queen.
Listen like the CIA.
Pauses can be powerful.

Flamingoblue1 Fri 29-Jan-16 21:08:28

Thanks guys. I sometimes feel like people think I'm dense and can't be bothered with me as I can't do things for them. Maybe I'm just crap lol

CaptainCrunch Fri 29-Jan-16 21:15:16

Presence isn't something that you can cultivate. If you don't have it, tough.

Susiesoop Fri 29-Jan-16 21:22:29

Nope, total load of rubbish Captain Crunch. Presence is about status and status is indicated by our body language and tone. It is totally possible to practise 'high status". Charisma on the other hand is harder to define, and therefore change.

Flamingoblue1 Fri 29-Jan-16 21:30:28

I'm at the stage where I think I need to accept I'm not cut out for senior roles tbh. I tried lol

tigerdriverII Fri 29-Jan-16 21:31:16

I've needed to push myself forward at work over the last couple of years. This has worked for me:

Body language and preparing how I'll sit, stand, act
Use of language, editing out all the "sorry, but I have an idea"
Wearing clothes which suit me, are comfortable as well as business appropriate but thinking every day about what works for that day.
Even more important, wearing shoes that don't impede me. Fussing about in heels doesn't empower me.
Making myself be quiet and not feel I have to speak
Being very present and active in email conversation
I don't by the way conform to a corporate dress code in any meaningful way.

Acting as though I believe that I have something important to contribute.

I mentor a few people and often suggest that they blow their own trumpet, especially the women: we're not very good at that in the main.

HilarysMantelpiece Fri 29-Jan-16 21:47:12

OP I read a fabulous book...I'll have to google to find it
The author is a London based acting teacher/voice coach type person.
I've listened to her talks somewhere online but didnt find them as good as the book.

Until I find it...just picking up on what you said...

I sometimes feel like people think I'm dense powerful people don't care what other people think of them- they are clear of their own goals- and when they listen, they are looking to understand the speaker's point of view not figure out how they are perceived

and can't be bothered with me as I can't do things for them
the trick is not to be bothered that you perceive them as not bothered IYSWIM grin

maybe I'm just crap ..... well, thats the problem isn't it?
If you think it, it will leak out in microexpressions.
I've found journalling and mindfulness fab for identifying and challenging my sense of being crap...and owning that sometimes I am crap but that's my issue and no-one has a right to shame me into submission about it.

thesandwich Fri 29-Jan-16 21:47:41

Do you have a mentor or coach? They can help! You can develop it- if you want to!!

HilarysMantelpiece Fri 29-Jan-16 21:49:28

Above post not very coherent- had a sick child last night.

Ingredients are: deciding that you are as cut out for a senior role as anyone else. There is no magic dust that gets sprinkled on people who get there; they decide they want it and do the work to get there.

Some of that work is on their own internal dialogue.

Who are you to decide that you are not good enough?

HilarysMantelpiece Fri 29-Jan-16 21:57:08

Gravitas by Caroline Goyder

Phineyj Fri 29-Jan-16 21:59:56

The Patsy Rodenberg book is called Presence - it's very good and also practical.

thesandwich Fri 29-Jan-16 22:20:36

Yes- patsy rodenburg book and YouTube stuff is excellent and what Hilary was talking about

GratuitousSaxandViolins Fri 29-Jan-16 23:12:40

I second Gravitas as a book. Are you always so hard on yourself? Do you tend to up and down or have you felt like this constantly?

I only ask because I'm also in a senior position - sometimes I feel like superwoman and can do anything, sometimes I feel like everyone feels I'm rubbish, I don't feel as capable as others and that I'm out of my depth.

It's often a state of mind in my opinion and you'll be surprised at how many senior people feel this way. Alot are just good at pretending.

A simple trick I use is just smiling and saying hello to people as I walk around the office rather than keeping my head down and walking without interacting. I've seen others do it and it radiates confidence, presence and actually can gradually lift your own spirits.

Making your voice heard is covered really well in Gravitas.

redexpat Fri 29-Jan-16 23:24:39

I was going to say try reading nice girls dont get the corner office.

iamworkingonit Sat 30-Jan-16 17:35:12

Hello Flamingoblue1 I can (unfortunately) identify with your problem, I am too often at staff meetings and will start to talk and someone will talk over the top of me. It is humiliating. I am about to google the books recommended and go from there. It is all very well for people who don't have this problem thinking it's not really anything to feel bad about but from my experience it isn't a great feeling.

InionEile Sat 30-Jan-16 17:50:42

It's called being a woman. HTH grin

Am only half-joking. I just have noticed in working life that women managers tend to get heard less than men and their ideas are often overlooked or attributed to someone else who has a penis

HilarysMantelpiece Sun 31-Jan-16 15:34:02

I agree- it IS being a woman.. culturally and socialising into "helping" roles, Sheryl Sandberg being in a Wall Street office where none of "boys" knew where the ladies loo was (cos no woman had ever been there to ask).

Woman DO get heard less than men for saying THE EXACT SAME THING.

I've found that trying to compete with them doesn't work for me...what does work is learning how to go very still, quiet and powerful with absolute conviction of being in charge and being the most knowledgeable. Self-doubt is fatal.
I walk into a meeting and take up space immediately..I take the time to consider where I sit...as close to the centre of power as possible. I don't address the meeting, I may make my point to the chair only, recruiting them as my ally.

It sounds arrogant...and it is to an extent... but I keep my wobblies for my own office.

I'd love to continue this if you come back OP. You said you're in a senior position and it sounds as if this sense of lacking presence came from an appraisal?

Canyouforgiveher Sun 31-Jan-16 15:45:23

Presence isn't something that you can cultivate. If you don't have it, tough.

Disagree completely. You can fake it if you don't have it naturally.

Some good advice on this thread already. here are some more tips I got from an executive coach.

1. Dress really well and dress so you are comfortable too. So wear power clothes that make you look serious and senior but don't you require you to tug at your hem or fix your collar etc. Wear shoes that are comfortable enough that you can literally keep up with the pack, if a meeting/conversatioin is happening on the go.

2. Like others said, don't use any qualifying words. "I think that" "perhaps we should consider" etc. At your next meeting notice how the louder confident people (men) don't do this. Say "we must look at our figures before we proceed" rather than "have we thought about looking at our figures because I was thinking that ... "

3. if you feel you are being overlooked at a meeting but have something you want to contribute, get up from the table, walk over to get a glass of water, and then say your piece before you sit down again - you are more likely to be attended if you are the leadership/standing position.

4. Get in first - as in ask the first question/make the first contribution. I forget where I read someone suggesting those of us not good at figures point out a particular line of the excel spreadsheet and say "could you explain the importance of these figures" I tried it. It is surprisingly effective at eliciting information.

Every single woman I know in business has had the experience of making a contribution, being ignored, and then listening to a man make the identical contribution and being praised for it. Many times. It is infuriating.

Flamingoblue1 Sun 31-Jan-16 15:54:44

Hello thanks all. This hasn't come from an appraisal: they've always been good I just feel dwarfed by people. Should change my name to mouse lol

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