This past week I attended a spiritual Leadership conference in Orlando, FL, not as a speaker, but as an attendee. I wasn’t dressed up, I didn’t have an entourage, I didn’t have any products with me, and I didn’t have on a name badge. I just wanted to be incognito amongst a crowd of thousands of other leaders and to absorb the great teachings of the speakers. On the second day of the conference, I went into the exhibit hall to visit some of the booths and to pick up trinkets (you know how we trick or treat all of the wonderful giveaways that companies have at their booths).
I visited a booth promoting Tampa. Since moving here just a few months ago, I’ve yet to really explore all of the beauty that the Tampa Bay area has to offer because I’m on the road 80% of the time speaking or training. I began talking to one of the women and for 10 minutes we exchanged introductory information about what we each did for a living. Turns out that she was a national sales manager for an event management company and her role was to book all of the hotels for large conferences that come to Tampa, handle their onsite logistics, and help them secure speakers. I shared a bit about what I spend 80% of my time doing on the road. Just then, the other woman in the booth interjected herself into the conversation and shared her name and what she did. Also turns out that she was an events coordinator for a large firm that worked with events all over Florida and was also responsible for securing speakers. She admitted that she was immediately drawn to me when I started speaking to her colleague and she knew that there was something different about me. She went on to admit that after overhearing what I did, she just had to jump in.
The Gift and the Power of Your Presence
Immediately she indicated that she thought that I’d be the perfect speaker for a business women’s conference that was occurring in Tampa this fall. We exchanged business cards and I committed to stay connected. She promised to make contact with the Founder of the conference to let her know about me. By the time that I had finished visiting other booths and made my way to another session, she had visited my website, previewed one of my videos and immediately made a virtual (email) introduction to the Founder. Within the hour, the Founder had responded and indicated that she had already heard about me from someone else that had heard me speak at a recent conference and who happened to live in Tampa and was working on the programming for this women’s conference.
So, although I went to this conference incognito and was there for my own personal and spiritual development—with no name badge and no speaking role, I walked away with a speaking engagement at one of Florida’s premiere women’s conferences. It turns out that even though I had done no marketing, made no sales pitches, or made no efforts to talk about work, the gift of a powerful presence did it all for me.
This woman in the booth didn’t know who I was or what I did as I walked up to her booth. She said it was just an aura about me that appealed to her. Wow!!! This is what PRESENCE looks like and how it can work in your favor.
So here’s what I learned from this experience…..
1. You can never hide your gift and you should never underestimate the power of your presence. It exudes from you even when you are not even trying. Your gift makes room for new opportunities and new connections that you would not otherwise have;
2. Your website can make or break your brand. Don’t build a low budget website if you want high profile opportunities. It represents you and if it doesn’t appeal to a potential client and it doesn’t grab them in the first few seconds, you have lost an opportunity;
3. I had her at hello. How you approach and treat people makes a big difference, and first impressions are key. We all know that they are formed within 3 seconds of meeting someone. You have to exude confidence, passion, conviction, and purpose in your body language, your appearance, your tone, and your demeanor;
4. It’s always about connections. Remember: everybody knows somebody who has something that could be a blessing to you OR you have something that could be a blessing to them. This speaks to my 3 ft. rule. If you come within 3 ft. of someone you should BE prepared to be a blessing or to receive one;
5. Always walk in a spirit of expectation and readiness. You never know who is watching you, what opportunity is around the corner, or who may become your next client. Though I wasn’t at the conference to drum up business, I was ready when the opportunity presented itself. And that brings me to my last point.
6. Have your elevator pitch perfected. When she asked me what I did, I could articulate it in a clear, compelling, and concise way.
As a result of this connection, I now have someone who helps plan and execute conferences all over Florida and bigger than that…she knows other event planners who are seeking speakers all over the country. This was a BOOM moment, thanks to the gift and the power of presence. So never underestimate the power of YOUR presence.
For more strategies on how to build a powerful presence, check out chapter 4 on The Power of First Impressions, and chapter 5 on The Three P’s of Personal Branding in my book: “Reinvent Yourself.”