The science of presence

I am doing some background study for a preach on the great commission where Jesus says “I will be with you always, until the end of the age”. He is talking about presence so I am thinking about presence. Being somewhere. And it has lead me here:

Steve Job’s early presentation. Apart from showing how much graphics have improved over the years, it show how he has grown in “presence”. Check out Olivia Fox Cabane

Talk on the science of personal Charisma.

and here is her blog on Steve Jobs.

She talks about three learned behaviours for Charisma. Behaviours of presence, power and warmth.

“presence is the single most requested aspect of charism when coaching executives. They want to increase their boardroom presence or their executive presence, and they are right to focus on it. Because presence turns out to be the real core of charisma. The foundation upon which all else is built., When you are with a charismatic master, take Bill Clinton for instance, he gives you the feeling that he is completely there with you in the moment. Present. And I’ve met hardened republicans who have told me ‘Bill Clinton, I hated him before I met him, I hated him after I met him, but while I met him, ma’am I loved the man.’ ”. Olivia Fox Cabane.

A few tips from her on presence:

“Just by focusing on your toes you can up your level of charisma immediately!”

Not sure how that works…

“Focus on the colour of the eyes of the person you are speaking with…obviously don’t overdo it.  A little goes a long way ”.

I can’t help feeling that though these things might help, they are a little deceptive. Would it not be better to focus on who the person is, as someone valued and made in God’s image, and worthy of respect, pus what they are actually saying?  She says we cannot fake listening or attention but isn’t simply focusing on someone’s eyes a means to produce at least a synthetic attention? Maybe I’m being too harsh. I guess you can do both. You focus on them but also make sure they know you are focusing on them.

“realise that giving people your full presence, is one of the most effective ways to make them feel that they are the centre of the universe. And guess what. Charism is not just how you make people feel about you it’s also how you make them feel about themselves.”

I keep thinking of God’s presence with us as I read these things. His presence enables us to think rightly about ourselves.

“Together with presence, power and warmth combine to create Charismatic magnetism”

Again, presence power and warmth describe God quite well.

A space filling posture  apparently makes you feel more powerful, and boosts energy, etc which makes you feel and stand even more confident.

“the single biggest obstacle [to power] is lack of self confidence”.

Fear is a great sapper of strength. Fear of who we are especially so. Confidence in God connects us to the greatest possible power though.

Imposter syndrome affects 70-80% of the population. People feel like it’s a matter of time before people find out they don’t know what they are doing and are exposed as a fraud.

“of all the emotions humans can feel, shame is the worst”

That’s true. It’s about who we are not just what we have done. That’s why it’s so good that Jesus covers our shame!

“just because a thought is in our head, does not mean that it holds any validity whatsoever”.

Good point! Very true. How then to identify the false ones? God’s word is a good place to go.

Obviously there are a few bones to pick out there but interesting stuff. I think presence, as it is being spoken of here, is an aspect of love. When we value people enough to give them our positive (warm) attention we express love to them. God’s presence does that wonderfully.


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