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Help I have no presence!

(16 Posts)
bluejeans Wed 26-Aug-09 18:44:23

I've been told (during an appraisal) that I lack presence in the workplace!

I guess this means that when I walk into a room nobody notices sad

I can understand this as I am quite quiet in meetings, I don't always contribute much. I am hardworking, a fair manager and experienced in my field. However I think I am going to be held back as although I know my stuff I don't 'talk the talk' and I'm rubbish at thinking on my feet and telling people what they want to hear

I do have good frienbds at work and am sociable and chatty with those I know well and in small groups but at times when I really need to mke a good impression I go quiet and can't think of anything to say

How can I change, or is presence something that can't be faked?

And has anyone else ever been told this, should I be insulted?

OurLadyOfPerpetualSupper Wed 26-Aug-09 19:10:54

I suppose you can either choose to be insulted (maybe the person who told you was a bit blunt), or find ways of improving in this area.
I've become aware in the last few years that I'm frequently invisible, but it's maybe not such a big deal for me as I'm an SAHM (maybe it should be a big deal).

There's a book called 'Presence' by Patsy Rodenberg - can't link as I'm on an itouch.

She adresses this problem, seeing it as unfair that some people seem to have it in spades while others wither on the sidelines.

I thought it seemed good, but as usual with self help books you have to go through a series of exercises, which I never quite got around to doing.
It gets some good reviews though (only one stinker), so might be worth a look.

bluejeans Wed 26-Aug-09 19:19:32

Thanks ourlady, was thinking I was even invisible on mumsnet!

Didn't realise someone had written a book on the subject - sounds interesting and I do agree about doing the exercises - always seems a good idea in theory...I will look into the book anyway

Umlellala Wed 26-Aug-09 19:31:12

Hey, I did a training session called Faking It in the Classroom (am a teacher!) all about pretending to have confidence.

Is mostly about eye contact, spatial awareness and posture.

If you email umlellala@hotmail.com I can try to find the handout and email/send it to you if you like?

bluejeans Wed 26-Aug-09 19:33:36

Brilliant - thanks Umlella will do that now, never heard of anything like that before!

pasturesnew Wed 26-Aug-09 19:36:16

one easyish way ... I think ... is to give people praise when they have done things well, even if outside your team e.g. if you attend a presentation by a colleague that was good you can tell them or e-mail them to say so afterwards, people appreciate this and will think of you more often.

Umlellala Wed 26-Aug-09 19:37:08

just check the address- umlellala (is a bit of a mouthful, sorry!)

bluejeans Wed 26-Aug-09 19:49:23

umlellala - email sent!

Pasturesnew - thanks. I will try that one tomorrow!

Speckledeggy Thu 27-Aug-09 22:46:13

Hmmm....

Does it really matter? I'd take it with a pinch of salt, personally. Just because one manager thinks that does not mean it is true.

We are all unique. It wouldn't do for everyone to be the life and soul of the party. You obviously have lots of other fab qualities and it's very hard to be someone you're not.

Just be yourself. Remember also that laughter is a good way of bridging the gap.

dollyparting Fri 28-Aug-09 10:02:15

One way to help with "being quiet" is to plan well before hand.

If you are going to a meeting find out who will be there, and plan a couple of things to say to each of them. When you arrive at the meeting, look for someone who is not actively involved in a deep conversation, and say "Oh hello xxx, I just wanted to say that your presentation last Friday was really interesting" (or whatever).

You don't have to get into deep conversation, but they will often respond by telling you more, and you avoid that horrible feeling of standing around the edges of the room clutching your cup of coffe and feeling out of place.

Also go to a meeting with some idea of what you do want to say. If there are plans for something new - think before hand what will be positive. If there are some problems to be discussed, then think what might help to solve them (and ask other people for their ideas) - it can be sometimes feel easier to present other people's ideas than your own e.g. "Well I have talking to the sales staff about this, and they feel it might improve performance if we did x"

My manager once asked whether I was going to actually join a conversation of whether I was going to hover round like a mouse! It felt bed, but actually he was reinforcing what I felt inside. I found that a few techniques really helped me to appear more confident and then other people started to assume that I was confident.

Steamroller Fri 28-Aug-09 10:22:43

You seem to have taken it on board and agreed that you 'have no presence' - to me, it sounds like a ridiculous thing for a manager to say and, depending on the context, could even verge on bullying. What does it mean? You're quiet? Is that it?! So what? You're there to work (which you do, and do well, it sounds like) not entertain the masses! Is it about your lack of confidence? If so you can address that, like others have said. But beyond that, you know your stuff, you do your work, and that should be enough. 'Presence' my a*!!

puddinghead Fri 28-Aug-09 12:18:53

Agree with Steamroller - and I'd much rather work with people like the OP rather than those who shout loudest and don't listen!

Fiver Fri 28-Aug-09 12:59:27

Well you could always go into work in patchwork flares, massive platform shoes and a big flowery hat. No one could fail to miss you then grin

Or develop an incredibly annoying and loud laugh (works for my colleague) grin

Umlellala Fri 28-Aug-09 21:30:29

Glad you found it useful (as you emailed me)! I do agree with what the others said that it doesn't necessarily mean you don't actually have a presence... and that it might be better to be quiet than overbearing and annoying.

Really like Pasturesnew suggestion though - great way to improve your visibility at work! grin

bluejeans Sun 30-Aug-09 11:27:09

Hello all

Thanks for all the great replies - already put some in place on Friday and they worked! (particularly the spatial awareness thing) It's been really helpful coming on here and discussing it, as well as reassuring that shouldnt get too upset about it so thanks again. Will save this thread and come back to it when I feel despondant again

Fiver - I may try this if I get deperate!

Umlellala Sun 30-Aug-09 17:35:05

grin that's great - well done! Hurrah for mumsnet.

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