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The Pleasure Principle

of Public Speaking






Amplify Your Professional Presence

By Lee Glickstein

Business and career fruition is largely the result of what I call professional presence. That is, your value in the world of commerce is determined by the pleasure of your company (personal presence), how you hold what you know, and the clarity and verve with which you express yourself.

Your expertise itself is the least of the equation, which explains why some of the most brilliant people do not attract business or get the best jobs, while others who do one thing well (and not necessarily superlatively) prevail.

Step One: Attune and Expand your Personal Presence

Shy and painfully self-conscious, I had no real sense of personal presence for my first 45 years, surviving as a typist and then a word processor. Twenty years ago I started becoming aware of this thing called presence which has since become my life passion and study.

I came to realize I was out of touch with my own presence because I'd spent my first months and years of life around people who were seldom present to me or aware of my true nature. This led to debilitating self-consciousness, stage fright, and life fright.

Out of desperation to "have a life," I founded a practice to get (and give) the attentive listening so many of us need in order to recover the natural flow of our authentic expression. That practice is called Relational Presence, which is attunement of personal presence to the presences of those around us, one person at a time.

To get there I needed to stand in the anxiety of not-knowing in front of a supportive group, time after time, until it became an adventure. Then the pleasure of community expanded to fill the room and became more interesting to me than what I might have to say. Only then would my words flow and resonate with sense and impact.

Thus, masterful personal presence is based on how you hold what you don't know. Otherwise your expertise will be diminished by your fear of forgetting at any given moment.

Step Two: Clarify and Amplify Professional Presence

When doing flows from being, you develop the capacity to speak and facilitate in the moment as the situation arises. Your expertise is available at your fingertips as you stay present and "think on your feet." Expressing yourself and your gifts fully without self-consciousness is what's needed to fulfill your purpose and make a real difference in the world.

Tools for Developing Your Presence

For a reality check on the state of your personal presence, gaze gently into your eyes in a mirror for a full minute and see how effortless and pleasurable it is to be with yourself. If you experience stress or want to look away, the good news is that you have isolated an obstacle directly in the path of your professional development. If so, do the mirror exercise every day and over the months it will work wonders.

© 2009, Lee Glickstein. All rights reserved.



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