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Emotional Presence: It's Just Good Business

by Judy Ryan

The affairs of the heart are directly connected to the brain and it’s the heart’s natural intelligence that must be unfolded for the brain to operate with greater efficiency.

-- Magical Child, Joseph Chilton Pearce, Plume, 1992

Imagine you’re with a prospect. You are listening to that person’s challenges and goals and thinking about offering practical support. You may be asking lots of questions. But are you connecting with your heart as much as or more than you are with your head? How would you know, and why should you care?

What is emotional presence?

When I was learning to improve my public speaking, I participated in an innovative program called Speaking Circles. The emphasis was not on learning techniques related to stage presence but rather on emotional presence. We started by sitting across from strangers and keeping eye contact without speaking for five minutes. It was uncomfortable, vulnerable and awkward. It was also deeply satisfying once I learned that to be authentic and influential, I must allow all of me to be seen and shared and offer the same to others. “All” includes thoughts and feelings. This was at total odds with the notion that as a speaker, I should present a strong, invulnerable stance as the expert, practice for hours and learn techniques. It was new to exchange emotional support with my audience and welcome and provide connection with an open heart as priority over providing content alone.

What does emotional presence look and feel like?

It does not look like jumping in with solutions (initially). It looks like recognizing the emotional experiences of the other and communicating this recognition. Imagine your prospect says, “I hope I can afford your services because I really want to move forward with you.” Rather than saying, “I’ll work with you on pricing” (which you might say later), you connect emotionally, saying: “I see. You’re excited this might be a solution, but you’re afraid to get your hopes up in case it’s out of your budget.”  When your prospect is ready, you will know what to say from your thinking mind, which is just as important as but not more important than emotional presence.

Emotional presence is gaining credibility and momentum.

Many of us have been taught to fear and disdain this philosophy of opening our hearts and affirming the emotional. However, it is woven into the work of many past and current highly influential people. One example is business writer and consultant Patrick Lencioni, especially in his book “Getting Naked,” in which he contrasts two radically different approaches to conducting business. One is to be the expert and prove it by posturing as invulnerable, all-knowing and intellectually superior. The other is to jump in as a good and trusted friend, helping immediately and freely admitting your weaknesses because your heart is in their corner and self-protection has no place in the exchange. Dan Price, owner of Gravity, is another example. He made an innovative move to pay all of his employees a minimum of $70,000 a year so they can relax when it comes to their financial concerns and focus on service. Researcher, author and speaker Brené Brown shares the power of emotional presence and our hunger for empathy and authentic connection in her highly popular books and presentations. Celebrities, philosophers and more are recognizing the power of the heart and mind together!

If you wish to improve your business (and personal life too), consider your ability to strengthen and communicate emotional presence. You may find it is the missing link to your peace of mind, joy and success.

Owners, community leaders and educators hire Judy Ryan and Lifework Systems because they want the advantages of an extraordinary workplace. Judy’s book, “What’s the Deal With Workplace Culture Change?” is available FREE at You can also contact Judy at 314-239-4727.

Submitted 8 years 59 days ago
Categories: categoryThe Extraordinary Workplace
Views: 3406