The Power of Presence: A book review by Bob Morris

The Power of Presence: Unlock Your Potential to Influence and Engage Others
Kristi Hedges
AMACOM (2012)

How and why powerful intentional presence can be a “personal game changer”

As I began to read this book, I was reminded of one of my favorite songs in the musical and film, Chicago, sung by Amos Hart (played by John C. Reilly in the film version) who characterizes himself as Mister Cellophane:

“And even without clucking like a hen.
Everyone gets noticed now and then
Unless of course that person it should be
Invisible, inconsequential me….”

Most people in most situations lack the ability to attract favorable attention. They feel invisible. Worse yet, many feel they deserve to be ignored because they are “inconsequential.” Fortunately, Kristi Hedges has developed what she calls “I-Presence, a model I have found to be the `secret sauce’ of executive presence. It is equal parts communication aptitude, mental attitude, and authentic style. It combines a supportive inner mindset with the outer skills needed to create the natural, confident, consistent leadership presence.” Actually, the information, insights, and recommendations that Hedges provides (with appropriate modification) can help almost anyone, including but not limited to executives) to develop with she characterizes as “intentional presence.”

Specifically, “understanding how you want to be perceived and subsequently communicating in a manner so that you will be perceived the way you want. It means aligning your thoughts with your words and your actions. And it requires a keen understanding of your true, authentic self, as well as your impact on others.” In essence, Hedges offers to help her reader to complete a process by which to develop these separate but interdependent capabilities:

o 100% fulfillment of one’s potentialities
o 360º perspective on interaction between one’s self and one’s environment
o moral compass for what is right…and what is not
o sixth sense for what is appropriate…and what is not
o street smarts for what will work…and what won’t

She immediately establishes a direct, personal rapport with her reader and sustains it throughout the 14 chapters and six appendices. Also, she inserts dozens of diagnostic exercises throughout the narrative that can help her reader to identify and then address specific areas of personal growth and professional development on which to concentrate.

Henry Ford and Pogo offer observations that suggest why this book can indeed become a “game changer” for many of those who read it and then (key point) patiently but persistently apply what they have learned from Hedges. According to Ford, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you`re probably right.” Now Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Everything any reader needs to derive maximum benefit from the material in this book is located between their ears and in their heart. I agree with Darrell Royal that “potential” means “you ain’t done it yet.” If your potential is locked, this book can be a key. Now what? That’s up to you.


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