by Connie Dieken

Real Versus Fake

You are living in an almost excessively “faux” world. 

Think about it: Lance Armstrong's seven Tour de France titles. Manti Te'o's non-existent girlfriend. You even witnessed exceptionally good faux singing at Barack Obama’s 2013 presidential inauguration. Pop singer Beyoncé later admitted that she lip-synched the national anthem because she wanted her performance to be perfect for the momentous occasion.  And it was perfect - until the United States Marine Band threw her under the bus by exposing that she wasn’t singing live.

It seems that no one and no place is sacred.  What’s real?  And what’s not?  Shams and phony posturing extend beyond inner qualities to external features.  Seemingly tight tushes are actually “Spanx’d” in place to conceal jiggling flesh.  Glowing tans are airbrushed over pasty white skin.  Voluminous-looking hair is clipped in to make thin tresses look fuller. The list goes on.

I wanted to know what's real and what's not in the business world. I've spent the last decade working on a research study involving 3,500 executives around the globe. My focus was on why some people are seen as the real deal and are therefore able to influence consistently while others are hit and miss. What I learned surprised me. All evidence pointed to one word: Presence. But what is presence? People bandy about the term executive presence, but what does it really mean?

The study revealed that your presence is not one thing. It's three.

Did you realize that you have three layers of presence that lead you to gain or lose influence?

  • Inner Presence. This is how you experience yourself. Too little and you can slip into anxiety. Too much and you tip towards narcissistic behavior.
  • Verbal Presence. This is how you reveal your messages to others. Think of it as a transfer mechanism. Too little and people don't understand the weight of your words. Too much and they can't wait to get away from you.
  • Outer Presence. This is how others experience you. Too little and you make yourself invisible. Too much and you come across as phony and disingenuous.

Staying centered is key. I'm excited to share specifically how to stay centered in all three in the following weeks.


Topics: Influence and Leadership :: Communication Skills :: Media Training :: Speaking