Nothing Can Substitute For Presence

And nothing can substitute for Alexander Technique lessons in developing presence. Otherwise your constricting habits take over and no amount of doing, no amount of yoga, will get you back to the grace and poise you had as a child.

I don’t agree with many of the prescriptions below. They simply won’t work. Holding your shoulders back may sound like good advice, but it does not permanently correct posture. It works only temporarily for as long as you maintain that direction and it isn’t impressive. It makes you looked forced and rigid.

Here’s a report:

Nothing can ever take the place of presence. The world is simply a reflection of the energy we put out from within. Consider the fact that it is impossible for someone to know your history at first glance. You don’t walk around with a resume taped to your chest announcing your finer points to the world. People are drawn and respond to the physical energy you display. We analyze your “visual resume” to form an opinion of you within about 3 seconds of first meeting. Everything you say and do from this point is judged on the basis of that 3-second opinion. It’s not a question of rather that is right or wrong. It’s a fact of life we must learn to work with.

…How come the President never leans back during the State of the Union address as he does in casual conversation? The reason is that a tall, erect posture displays self-confidence, which allows others to be confident in you. Information received from a slouched, downward-looking presenter is automatically assumed to be incorrect. Whether you’re selling insurance, asking for a discount, or convincing her she wants to give you her number, you must present a confident, convincing posture.

…How you move your body is a reflection of your thoughts. No one can read your mind. Yet, what makes them ask, “What’s wrong?” Your body tells exactly what’s going on in your head. To have a strong, positive presence you need to monitor your thoughts. When you put yourself into and keep a positive state of mind you will move with freedom and confidence.

Consider Kennedy’s smiling youthful style compared to Nixon’s serious tight-shouldered demeanor, or Obama’s smooth, bouncy stride versus McCain’s rigid military marching style. Both are examples of the nation’s support for a younger, less-experienced candidate due in part to their presence.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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