Good Read: Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

Written by: Amy Cuddy, Review by: Angela Fieler

Most people know at least one leader who inspired and motivated them to do great things. Chances are that those leaders had great presence. At Baird Group, we teach that leaders to be both visible and present. We find visible and present leaders are more effective, especially when it comes to retention. In our 8-week course, Be the Leader Nobody Wants to Leave, we coach leaders on how to “show up” and how to project themselves using tone, body language, and communication style.

Using Your Body to Shape Your Mind

If you want a different perspective on presence, consider Amy Cuddy’s book, Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges. The question that Cuddy addresses is how do leaders show up when they don’t feel like they can inspire and motivate others? She suggests that you start by leveraging the power of your body to shape your mind. “Let your body tell you that you are powerful and deserving and you will become more present, enthusiastic, and your authentic self.” If you are a Grey’s Anatomy fan, you’ve seen Amelia Shepard’s “power pose.” She stands with her hands on her hips, feet spread shoulder width apart, chest thrust out, and head held high. She stands kind of like a superhero. She does this before every big surgery. Watching Amelia do it on TV is not the same as doing it yourself. Cuddy gives some real, practical tips on how to empower yourself through posture with a few simple exercises.

Posture is Power

Cuddy doesn’t stop there. She also reminds us to pay attention to how often we pose in powerless ways. I certainly never thought about the “iPhone posture” – or posture in general for that matter – and its impact on my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in certain situations. What I have noticed since reading the book is that when I am more aware of my body language and my posture, I can exercise a little more control over how outside forces are affecting my self-image. And that, Cuddy would say, is being present.

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