I have never been so exhausted from a work related training before.  There was definitely the obvious “I can’t sleep because I need my bed” syndrome going on, but I think I’m emotionally tired as well.  For two of the five days, we used our brains in a different way and opened ourselves to honest feedback and a sense of vulnerability.

Let me back up for a second.  The two days that I’m referring to were centered around a Personal Presence workshop.  The 17 of us were divided into two groups, and each group was facilitated and led by an actor/trained leadership expert.  (Fun fact: our facilitator started the theater where Steve Carrell launched his career).  The workshop focused on the idea that by being more aware of how you portray yourself to people, you can build stronger, deeper relationships.  What we say is only small part of how we are perceived – voice and body language are actually more impactful than content.  I know this sounds simple and obvious, but after two days of working outside my comfort zone, I’ve come to realize that personal presence is a complex concept that requires careful thought and practice.

Both mornings, we started off with a discussion about how present we were in that moment, what our Emotional Quotient was (what emotion we were feeling), and what we hoped to gain that day.  I quickly realized that my presence needed work!  And I definitely walked away from these two days with some ideas and tricks for clearing my mind and focusing better.

What really set this training apart from others we’ve gone through was that all the learning was experiential.  We didn’t just sit through a lecture or presentation, but instead, we would discuss a topic and then do activities to illustrate the idea. 

My favorite activity was when we received monologues from various plays and had to act them out in front of the group.  For example, one of my goals was to work on controlling my emotions (i.e., being serious when needed), so the facilitator gave me a monologue from “The Rabbit Hole.”  The scene was extremely emotional and sad, and it required/forced me to channel and control my emotions so I could act out the role.  It was super challenging but so much fun!  I have a new found respect for actors!

Another huge component of this training was Passionate Purpose – the idea that by aligning your purpose, emotion, and message, you will achieve greater reach and impact.  For example, if you are trying to elicit empathy from your audience, you have align your words, the emotion in your voice, and your body language.  You would want to make eye contact, perhaps use a softer voice, and really use words that would connect with your audience’s emotions.  The facilitator really helped us think through the various purposes and how we could use all of the things at our disposal to frame our message in the most effective way possible.  Powerful stuff!

I could honestly go on and on about the things we learned!  I absolutely love understanding more about how I can positively influence and impact the people I come into contact with and really believe that no matter how well you think you know yourself there’s always more to learn.  Don’t be surprised if more concepts/ideas from the week are discussed in upcoming posts.  Smile


By Parita

6 thoughts on “Personal Presence”
  1. Sounds like an amazing (and exhausting) training – I always think they are the best because even though they are mentally draining, they seem to be more engaging (i.e. don’t feel like they last forever)!

  2. Sounds like you work for a great company who really have faith in their employees to grow and develop over time…and are willing to help them to do so! Body language absolutely makes a difference…even more so than content in some instances! Glad u took so much out of the training and hope u can catch up with rest this weekend :)!

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