Presence is the art of being in the moment during the presentation and connecting with the audience – inspiring and energizing them. Tired, nervous or hyperactive speakers bore their audiences. Being a present speaker means your mind and body are wide awake, and your senses heightened, while you simultaneously radiate calmness and relaxation.
Actors with stage presence are good role models for impressive presentations: “Whatever I do during my performance, I do with my full attention. If I’m standing, I’ll be standing, if I’m walking, I’ll be walking, if I’m speaking, I’ll be speaking. At that time, I’m not thinking about the past or future; I’m living in what I’m doing at that moment.”
There are three main forms of presence:
Physical presence: Physically present people are consciously aware of themselves and their body. They notice their impulses and feelings, and express these without getting lost in thought.
Physical spatial presence: People with a high degree of physical spatial presence are perceived by the audience as filling a space. They enter the room and all eyes are immediately on them. Their own attention is focused on being aware of their body and noticing the space around them.
Contact presence describes the mindfulness and attentiveness the speaker shows the audience. They communicate openly with the audience.