Manage This … In the moment

To succeed in business, you need more than intellect and a strong work ethic. Selling your ideas and getting promoted depend on “leadership presence.” If you’ve have seen strong leaders in action you know what I mean; they have a certain something that is often hard to define, a way of communicating, of presenting themselves. I identified it long ago. Then, as I was honing a training class on the topic, I discovered I wasn’t the only one. In their book Leadership Presence, Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar describe it in detail.

They define leadership presence as the ability to connect authentically with the thoughts and feelings of others.

The book uses the PRES Model of Leadership Presence:

P = Being Present — the ability to be completely in the moment and flexible enough to handle the unexpected.

R = Reaching Out — the ability to build relationships with others through empathy, listening, and authentic connection.

E = Expressiveness — the ability to express feelings and emotions appropriately by using all available means — words, voice, body, face — to deliver one congruent message.

S = Self-knowing — the ability to accept yourself, to be authentic, and to reflect your values in your decisions and actions.

The first characteristic: being present. It’s particularly hard to do with society’s emphasis on multi-tasking. Confusion, distraction or overwhelm can lead to fear, which keeps us from being completely present. It can be fear of failure, fear of what others think or fear of being hurt emotionally. I’ve seen this manifest itself in numerous ways: not speaking up in meetings, not offering ideas or appearing very unnatural when public speaking. It is your “inner critic” that tells you very negative statements and allows yourself to believe them.

To conquer the fear and inner critic, you need to be in the moment. The authors state three guidelines for being present in the moment: focus on the physical, change your perspective, and let thoughts go and feelings be.

When you focus on the physical, it means being aware of your breathing —consciously breathing from your belly (or diaphragm) helps you relax.

Changing your perspective involves thinking about something that gives you confidence, focusing on your goal or using humor.

Finally, letting thoughts go and letting feelings be is accepting your fear and recognizing that you create your own thoughts, they are not reality.

Think about a situation in which you are not at your best. Then try some of the following techniques when you are in that situation: be aware of your body, including breathing from your belly. Notice what your inner critic is saying to you. Change this negative self-talk and focus on things that give you confidence. Finally, realize that your inner critic is not reality. Accept your feelings.

To get one-on-one coaching or training and learn more specific ways to be present in order to gain leadership presence, contact Kerrie Halmi at Halmi Performance Consulting: or 510-336-0654.

Manage this …. in celebration of National Women’s Month, I will tell you why your organization needs to focus more on women right here in March.

Please pass this to others who would benefit from it.

If you want specific references for any of the material, please let me know.

About the Author: Kerrie Halmi is a coach and facilitator specializing in people management skills. Her passion is increasing women’s success in business. See

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February 2007 :

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