There’s a myth going around out there in the business world that I want to clear up. This myth has to do with your clients and customers. This myth says that your clients and customers want to know that you care about them. Well I’m here to tell you, this just isn’t true.
Now before you get all upset with me, hear me out:
Today’s audience can smell in-authenticity from a mile away and consumers are demanding transparency even more due to social media marketing. It’s imperative for success that you learn to be confident, powerful and authentic so that your message gets across and MOVES people to action.
If people get any hint or feeling that you are not walking your talk or being totally authentic, they simply won’t do business with you ( or be friends with you for that matter).
The truth of today’s world is that it’s not enough to simply be powerful when you interact with others and it’s not enough to just be compassionate and loving. You have to be all of these things and also stay totally authentic to you, and that looks different for each of us.
People, clients, and customers don’t want to know that you care about them. They want to FEEL that you care about them.
People want to do business and be inspired by people who have presence; a magnetic presence that they can feel connected to. We want to buy from, learn from, and be friends with people who are at home in their bodies and light up from the inside.
Your Personal Presence: The Most Important Communication Tool you Have
If I were to say personal presence started in a particular place in the body, I would say it begins in your belly; a place that martial arts and many eastern philosophies call Hara and it lies 2-3 inches below your belly button (on the lower side if you are woman… we have hips, what can I say?) This is a powerful center in your body and when you are there, you are “home”.
We live in a culture that is largely disconnected from our physical body most of the time. What do I mean by this? Have you ever been speaking to someone and all of the sudden their eyes glaze over and you feel as though they’ve “left the building”? You want to ask them “ is anyone in there?” This is what I mean by being not present or not home.
Some cultures place a lot of value on being home. The Japanese actually have a practice and artform called Haragei, which means the art of the belly. It is the “unspoken way” used in Japanese society to decide immediately and silently whether or not a person is likable, trustable, and worthy of your time and business. Haragei is the act of influencing others without words; with your presence.
They even have a saying; “Hara de kangaenasai” which means “please think with your belly”; in essence, go deeper, stop being rational and think with the essence of your whole being. They also have a saying, “hara-goe” which means “belly-voice” and is the kind of voice that resonates deep from within the belly, and carries a presence of integrated connectedness. In modern day Japan, a person will be accepted by others or shunned, in business and personally, by their gut feelings towards you. This is a normal and accepted way of life.
Fortunately, most cultures aren’t this extreme, but as I said earlier, the average person’s authenticity radar continues to grow stronger and stronger daily. The truth is, that this “Belly Voice” actually has the ability to carry with it your feelings.
When you speak with presence in your belly, you allow people to connect with you authentically and they won’t have to guess if you care about them, they’ll literally feel that you do in your presence and your voice.
Practical tools for increasing your level of presence and magnetism
I want to share with you a few simple tools that will help you light up the room with your presence and create deeper, more meaningful, and authentic connections with everyone in your circle of influence. These are the steps I teach my students and clients when we begin our work cultivating personal presence:
- Check in: Are you present in your body as you walk into a room to network, meet a client or talk on the phone?
- Come Home: Focus your attention 2-3 inches below your belly button. Take 30-60 seconds to become very present here.
- Ground your energy: Part of your personal presence is energetic and every energy system needs to be grounded. We trust and feel comfortable around people who are grounded vs those who are up in the air. Ground yourself by consciously imagining roots coming from your feet into the ground.
- Move and Speak from your Belly: When you walk, lead with your belly. When you speak, imagine speaking to the person in front of you from your center. Feel the sound vibrate up your body and out your mouth, keeping your body open ( arms by your sides and shoulder tension released).
Try it and let us know what you noticed! How do you practice being “home” when you connect with others?