Book Review – The Power of Presence.

The Power of presence

The Power of Presence – Unlock Your Potential and Engage Others by Kristi Hedges. Presence is what all successful program and project managers have. It’s when a person walks into a hall and his colleagues subtly acknowledge your arrival. You see the present when a project team listens to its manager addressing the objectives of the project or anytime a portfolio manager talks about the benefits of the business. That will be realized from the quarter’s projects. However, we will discuss in the book review the power of presence what if you lack it or don’t feel like you do? How do you go about getting people to responsibly around you?

Unsurprisingly, according to Kristi Hedges, it’s not about other persons at all. According to her, Executive presence starts within your head. It resides in the way in which you think about yourself, the abilities you possess your environment, and even your potential.

That means that most of what you require is right there within you. For instance, if you are highly-skilled in fields such as baseball coach, you can tap into the skills and bring them to your workplace. 

3-Step Model From Kristi Hedges

It’s not possible to change the way people act but it’s possible to change the way you act, which eventually enhances your presence. Book review the power of presence of this book explains Hedges presents a 3-step model known as I-Presence that builds presence, that is:

  • Individual
  • Intentional
  • Inspirational


People connect with other people and not with leaders without faces. Consequently, you must be an individual who’s relating to people as individuals.

According to Hedges, smiling is crucial. Indeed, though she has divides this book into the above three sections, the majority of her points she puts across could perfectly fit under various headings. 

Hedges also address why it’s crucial to get feedback because it can be hard to better your presence if you don’t have an idea about your current baseline.

It’s difficult to do that, however, since it’s different from requesting your team to audit your project based on the project management checklist alone. In that case, you’re requesting people to make a judgment for you and it’s difficult to find honest answers.

Kristi goes on and suggests talking to a mentor, trusted colleagues, or friends at the workplace, which she terms as a good point to start. 


Presence is enhanced by someone’s values. It’s also underpinned by what the person wants to be recognized for. Then, the situation one is in impacts his or her presence and the attitude or feeling one wants to show in that particular situation.

It’s essential to get your intention right and allow your mood to match with the right emotion or situation. Part of improving the appropriate presence for the appropriate situation is to manage how one dresses.


There are many fluffs around this section. However, Kristi presents a simple suggestion to develop inspiration in one’s listeners basing on David Rock’s work. It’s presented in the form of a SCARF model as follows:  

SCARF model From David Rock


You should ensure that you deliver your message in a way that it’s not seen or felt as a threat by your listeners. According to the model, Status tends to increase when a person is publicly recognized or praised. So, you must think about your team and ensure you mean it. 


It’s good that you set expectations properly and allow people to be aware of what’s happening on every stage of the project. 


Ensure you’re not micromanaging your project team. Allow them as much space to control their work as you can.


We like to feel related to other people and feeling that sense of belonging. So, ensure your social events and project meetings are inclusive. 


Unfairness encourages frustration and can’t help you win the attention of your listeners. Ensure you’re making fair decisions regarding the project and you’re thoroughly explaining the rationale behind it. 

What I Liked About the Book

I liked everything about the book but mostly the section covering inspiration. Kristi addresses inspiring language. According to her, it’s important to use inspiring words more than mere information.

She suggests that we try to use phrases such as “I will” rather than “I might” because the latter will keep us in the realm of providing people with information instead of inspiring them. She says that being interesting is a part of being inspiring. 

My Recommendation

You should all note that THE POWER OF PRESENCE: Unlock Your Potential and Engage Others, isn’t a book for project management. Instead, it’s a book designed for everyone attempting to enhance their impression at the workplace. 

The I-Presence model explained above is a little contrived. However, it’s such solid advice and you can give it to those people you’re mentoring. Nevertheless, you’ll want to first build their personal presence as giving feedback can be a tricky matter.  

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Author: Booksimian

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