Presence is a tool that helps us understand, maximise, and use our thoughts and emotions in healthier ways. When we are present we experience life in real time, and we can use that presence to improve our leadership by choosing to give our full attention to others and ourselves. Presence is not elusive It is a real thing, detectable when we are cognisant of being in the moment that matters. Leaders have presence as well as an ability to act through it. They create value in ‘real time’ as a tool for success. The benefits of presence Happiness Better quality leadership Improved focus Effective and efficient communication The opportunity to be your best self. How do I become more present? The capability is already in you. We can choose to become present through self awareness and practice. As the German writer and presenter Eckhart Tolle observes, there are two obstacles to becoming present: the past and the future. So how can we practice being more present in the workplace and in our everyday lives? Here are 5 ways to practice presence for leadership, happiness and success: 1. Be an active observer Actively observing even the tiniest things opens your mind and propels you to think differently. Little things can inform you greatly about a person, team, or situation – giving you insight and understanding where others miss it. 2. Take note In meetings or when you’re catching up with someone, write down a few key notes in a small notebook, not on your smartphone! Don’t write an essay, just enough to use to trigger the wider information later on. 3. Make communication personal As a leader, connecting and relating to others requires making communication personal. Recall a particular personal detail you gained from someone, and then open up your next conversation with him or her using that detail. 4. Just breathe Forbes writer David DiSalvo knows there’s substance behind the saying, and the benefits are research based. Stop once or twice a day and take several deep and full breaths. It stills the mind, increases energy and boosts alertness. 5. Schedule time for yourself You can’t be in two places at once. Make the effort to pre book parts of your day dedicated to preparing for your next meeting or catch-up, have a meal, or do actual work, this will lead to a much more productive day.