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Seb Anthony

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Cut a dash


I have to run a course on Presence. Trouble is it is like sex appeal, you can't describe it but you recognise it when you see it. Can anyone point me in the right direction to gather material? Any hints on how to approach the subject?
christopher morrison

5 Responses

  1. Presence
    A tricky one this, try the link below as it is a good site and the USA study this as a theory much more often than we do in the UK. ONce you are on the site there is an articles page which is useful for cherry picking some ideas. I hope it prompts some thoughts for you.

    I suspect you can only train those who have it naturally to make more of it. I am not sure at all it is a transferable skill!

    0870 241 3998

  2. perhaps you have an answer in your own assessment
    As the previous commenter has said this is a tricky one, but perhaps you have an answer in your own comments. If we have no definition of it but we recognise it when we “see” it you could run interactive sessions based around pictures, videos and audio recordings of people who you select as having some degree of “presence”, then facilitate discussions around what it was that created the aura of “presence” in that instance. You could use real and artificial examples such as newsreels/recordings of speeches and films/TV programmes. If you really wanted to challenge the delegates you could then get them to try to achieve a level of “presence” on-screen themselves. I’d love to do it!

  3. Laban analysis
    You may find the work of Rudulf Laban extremely useful. He analysed inner attitudes and gestures within the attitudes.
    His work is very popular with actors and acting teachers, it’s the only significant work I have ever found on the nature of presence or charisma a characteristic that most ‘stars’ have and can be developed.

    He defines the inner atitude as ‘ADREAM’ a state that actors aspire to attain whist performnig. Within it you will find “OVERPOWERING” – the stuff of pop legends, “SOMBRE” – Clint Eastwood, “IRRADIANT” – Audrey Hepburn, “LOFTY” – Geilgud and Bogart.
    Within the attitude there are contending elements, its all rather complicated to explain and I’d certainly recommend reading up on his work.

    He also analysed dance.

    Good luck

  4. Prescence
    Hi Christopher

    In a previous incarnation as a Royal Air Force Officer, I was for some time an instructor at RAF College Cranwell. We used to impress on the officer cadets the need to develop a “presence” so that people would know they were an officer even when not in uniform.

    We believed it was a combination of a number of factors:

    * The way we dressed – always smart, even when casual. Pressed clothes, clean shoes, etc.
    * Incontrovertibly good personal hygiene.
    * An erect and alert stance.
    * Good eye contact.
    * Clear diction with a strong, but not necessarily loud, voice.
    * Presenting informed and mature views on whatever topic of conversation was current.
    * A good standard of general knowledge to support the above.
    * A firm but not painful handshake.
    * Etc.

    No rocket science here, but giving some thought to how we are perceived by others can work wonders!


    Phil Wheeliker

  5. a quote from Brecht
    ‘There is nothing as interesting on stage as a man trying to take a knot out of his shoelace’


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