In any professional or recreational environment, the social dynamic is made of constant transactions. Like the stock market, people’s social value fluctuates during an outing, a night out, or a corporate meeting. Anything you do or say – and the timing with which you do and say those things – either supplements or takes away from your social value in that setting. A full analysis of social value in different settings is a study beyond the scope of one article on this website. However, one important aspect that is good to begin this study with is the shifting dynamic of controlling your physical presence.
When you arrive at a particular setting, you establish your presence. Your presence is now something you can leverage to influence others, if that is what you desire and have energy to do. The main goal of controlling your presence in a particular social setting is to establish a need to be seen and heard over other people. Your presence does not only consist of your physical body and space, but also the frequency of your contribution to any conversations that are occurring.
Don’t Yearn to be Heard and Seen
When aiming to leverage your presence to influence others, less is more. This general rule of thumb will place you ahead in social ranking over the ones who aim to be heard and seen, perhaps to their detriment. Human nature drives the need to establish presence and people frequently overshoot the appropriate boundaries. To make others yearn for your presence in sight and sound, you need to keep them hungry for it, never fully satisfying their desire.
Practice physically leaving earlier than the rest, and arriving fashionably later (in social events, without strict obligations present). Any fear you feel of missing out, hints on similar aspects of human nature that make people overshoot in their desire to be seen and heard by others. If you feel a fear of missing out creeping in, then you are doing the right thing. That feeling is the same one others will feel about you when you leave. They will develop a ‘fear’ of missing out on you, and everything that you bring to the social setting that you were in.
These traits can be studied in any person who holds a position of power, if noticed closely. Whether it comes naturally to them or is a product of learned behavior, their control of presence is impeccable. The one who can control their presence in a way that serves to influence others will place themselves ahead of competition and move closer toward the more immediate goals they have set.
There are Levels to Your Presence
Your presence can also be controlled at a more granular, per-person, level. You can be available and present toward a subgroup of people within your setting and be less available to others. Generally, be less available to people you want to be interested in you. It is a little bit counter-intuitive, but this method dictates you to be the most available to people who interest you the least.
Though it will seem boring to interact with people you’re not interested in, the ones who interest you will build up their craving for your attention. While you show interest in those who you care least about, the others will converge in. They’ll add a comment, and be heard laughing at your jokes. They’ll yearn to be heard by you, and will respond favorably to attention you show them.
Controlling your presence and knowing when to leave early will help you in the many facets of interacting with a group of people. The small nuances add up to big results in the long-term, so be sure to not underestimate even the most detailed aspects of your presence.