Not long ago I was scheduled to meet with a business leader; we were going to talk about some of the services I could provide for his organization. To do that, I started doing what I usually do before any meeting; I researched the person, the company and the potential challenges they might have.
In this particular situation, the stakes were very high (for me at least), I spent some time digging and finding all information that I could learn. The more I learned, the more I was getting nervous. For some reason over preparing was making me nervous, the total opposite of what I was hoping to accomplish.
The reality is that even though preparation is important, at some point, we must stop absorbing content and information and start preparing our minds for the encounter. It is important how much do you know, but it is even more important how do you convey what you know, we must learn to acquire presence.
In her book “Presence” Amy Cuddy talks about the definition of presence and how difficult that is to define. But she nails what she thinks the three most important components are; confidence, comfort level, and passion. Those traits can’t be easily faked, and they will help us in any circumstance.
When I was doing all the research on this individual, my goal was trying to impress him with my “knowledge” of him and his company, but what I didn’t realize is that sometimes trying to show how much you know might come across as arrogance. One thing I have learned from reading Amy Cuddy’s book is that having presence, is about “a genuinely confident person that does not require arrogance. A confident person hears others and integrates those perspectives in ways that create value.”
Sometimes, however, stress gets in the way, big time. Especially if the stakes are high; we are going to a job interview or to negotiate a raise or to give a big presentation. What Cuddy advises; is imagining approaching that event with confidence and excitement and leaving without regret. Imagine yourself leaving the interview with a job offer, or a big fat raise, or the applause of your audience after you delivered a killer talk. In the process, you will be practicing the three components of presence; confidence, comfort, and passion. I wrote a similar post at the end of 2016.
Arnold Schwarzenegger had breakfast with a big competitor of his, Lou Ferrigno before a big competition. When Arnold was asked about how he felt going into the competition, he said he’d already called his mom and told her he’d won!
This is an excellent example of what Cuddy says we need to do, and that is what I will do when I finally get to reschedule that meeting.
Check the Arnold Video.. skip and go to 2:13 for the "I told my mom I already won quote"