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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Presence -- The Audience Magnet -- StrengthsExplorer


Kids talented with the Future Thinker theme love to dream about what is yet to be. They consider possibilities rather than challenges and enjoy imagining themselves in the future. What will their lives be like? What adventures will there be? They likely see bigger, more detailed visions of their future than others around them do. 

The StrengthsExplorer theme of Presence describes children who are especially talented in front of a room. They are natural performers who can understand and feed off of the energy of others, especially when given some form of spotlight or purposeful attention. Children with Presence have no need to command attention. Instead, they attract it gently -- through finesse rather than volume. The nature of their magnetism might be small or big, but regardless of what they’re performing, children exceptionally talented in this theme are better than most at capturing the interest of others.





It’s often easy to spot Presence when it shows up in the form of humor, but Presence might also be demonstrated through thoughtful inquisition, provocative ideas, serious storytelling or even compelling instructions. At its core, Presence is about leadership through captivation.

Whatever children with Presence choose to do or be, it’s likely to happen in conjunction with their followers. Others, kids and adults alike, will listen to what they have to say. These children are keenly aware of their listeners, and tune in to them in response. They’re not simply kids others hear; they’re the kids who hear others and elevate the energy of the connection through responding.

To notice Presence in younger children, you might look for those who change the group simply by being a part of it. They use language they hear, meeting others on their own individual frequencies. Look for children who capture your attention in the things they say or do. You may observe this when children speak up for others or make a grand entrance. They’re the ones whose eyes light up when they’re the center of someone’s attention. They feed off of it and may become even more grand, witty, bold or conversive.

Adults can likely relate to the Influencing element of Presence. Of course, this may change with other talents that create dynamics for the kid, but at its core, Presence is about creating an effect on other people. It might be helpful to see kids with Presence as your own cofacilitators, rather than as disruptors. For example, a teacher stopped attempting to “shush” the joke-teller in class, promising that if he could stay connected to the curriculum until just before the end of class, he could have the last 5 minutes to tell a pre-approved joke. When this kid’s attention wandered, he took the rest of the class with him. Keeping him on track with the promise of a spotlight kept the whole class more focused.

Here are some affirmative words to describe and accept Presence:

  • Entertaining
  • Captivating
  • Present
  • Leader
  • Influencer
  • Performer
  • Storyteller
  • Tuned-In
Know a kid with Presence in your world? Think of yourself as the house manager to their theater. Your kid thrives with an audience. How can you either be the best audience or fill the seats in front of them?

This might include buckling in and letting them take you on a journey. Play with them when they invite you. Be surprised when they offer you new information. Or just don’t touch your phone for an hour when you’re around them. They crave attention, especially yours. And giving it to them, especially those with Presence, is giving them the space to practice their talent. Consider asking the questions below as great starters to understanding their talent.

  • What’s the hottest topic in your classroom today?
  • Who smiled because of you? How did you make that happen?
  • What did you teach your teacher?
  • How should we spend our time today?
  • What would you like to play?
  • What’s the most exciting part of this story?
  • What story can you tell?
  • Wanna hear a joke?
  • What’s the funniest thing you heard?
  • Who needs some cheering up?
  • What should we all be thinking more about?
  • How do you know when someone is listening?
Affirm children with Presence by understanding that attention is their currency. Don’t couple attention and neediness. Instead, allow them to bask in attention. Allow them to enjoy receiving it. And help them understand the healthiest and most effective ways to gain it.

Share the space they’re creating for you. How? Look at them. Listen to them. Laugh when they laugh.

GODOIT CHALLENGE

Grow: What can you do this week to help invest in your PRESENCE child?

  1. Good One
    • Learn and tell a new joke or story. Learn it together, and separately practice telling it during the day to others. Debrief with your kid about what worked, what “landed” and how you could tell. 
  2. Eyes Up Here
    • Put your kid in charge of facilitating a specific family or classroom conversation. Tell them it’ll be their job ahead of time, and then follow their lead as a good participant.
      • Would you rather? Icebreaker at dinner
      • Questions to review the day
      • Recognition and celebration
      • Prayer
      • Attendance 

For more information on the tool itself, including a sample report, check out StrengthsExplorer.

Register for the 2019 CliftonStrengths Summit

The goal of this podcast is to improve the conversations we have with children, to help adults accept, affirm and grow the natural talents within kids. Special thanks to Dr. Mary Reckmeyer, Jerlene Mosley and Johnny Liesveld. 

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