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85. The Presence Paradigm™ - Jen Vellenga

In this episode 85, Jen V. dives into her method for gaining speaking presence through the Presence Paradigm™ – Confidence, Focus, and Influence.

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Hey, I’m Jen Vellenga from the Speak with Presence podcast. I’m going solo today without my cohost, Jennifer Rettele-Thomas. She will be back next week.  I’m following up today about last time I went solo. I spoke on The Presence Paradigm, which is the core foundation that I created from the training that I provided actors over 20 plus years of training in the classroom as a director, as a professor, working with students on stages and professionals to help them show up with confidence and with presence from moment to moment in all of the plays I was charged to bring to fruition.

And so, the presence paradigm is my own thought leadership pulling together those ideas of actor training into a program and a methodology for communicators in the workplace. So, I wanted to go over the presence paradigm a little more thoroughly in this podcast episode so you understand what that framework looks like.

Imagine at the center you have presence. If we believe that those who show up with presence are able to influence others and provide leadership that makes you feel as if you want to follow them, not a superficial charisma that says, ooh, they’re exciting and fun. But a presence that says they’re intelligent, they have emotional intelligence. They understand me, they will listen to me. That kind of presence. Being in the moment. Being where you’re meant to be, when you’re meant to be there. Knowing that if any complications or challenges come up, you can adjust even if you don’t know the answer.

So, the presence paradigm has presence at the center. And around that center, there are three other components, you and your confidence, them, your audience and your focus, and your belief or your thought leadership and how it influences. And I believe that when you have all of those things in that around the presence idea, this paradigm, who you are, who they are, what you believe. When you have that all aligned, you do naturally have presence. It doesn’t mean you’re perfect, but you can show up in all circumstances without being rocked. And even if you are, you can adjust to what you’re given.

The you piece of it, which I believe is where your confidence comes from, is about your identity, your expertise, your training, your credentials, and your delivery.  As a communication and leadership coach, most people come to me thinking I’m going to train on delivery. And that’s actually the smallest piece of what I do. Delivery, tips, tools, superficial ideas about how you might say things or move or hold your hands or what methods you use to practice.  Those things are all good, but they don’t even begin to touch what presence really is all about.

So, we’re going to leave the delivery for our tips and tools. I can still share some information about that. But let’s look at the holistic approach. You, your audience. You’ve probably heard what’s in it for me before. WIIFM. People say, what’s in it for me. It’s true that we all think, what’s in it for me?

We want to know what we’re going to get out of the things that we invest our time in. So, when you interact with an audience, or another person, just know that you may want something from them, but they equally want something from you. So, the them component is about where you put your focus.

Nerves, I hear about nerves all the time. Nerves will overwhelm you if you are focused all on yourself. If you focus outwardly, then you are going to have an easier time with your nerves. One of the ways I think about that is, as if you had a spotlight in your belly, so, uh, people get nervous because they think, ah, I’m stepping on a stage or a conference stage or into the office or in front of people and the light will be shining on me, metaphorically and literally.

And if you think about it the other way around, that the light is shining out on them, then that allows you to remove those nerves a bit. They may always be there a little. Remove that focus on yourself and put it out on the other, and that immediately shifts your intention. So, understanding that your audience wants something from you the same way you want something from them.

So how do you listen? How do you not only listen and speak, but listen to receive what you get from them. So, listen, receive the information, let it land on you, and then connect.  That’s about your audience. And then you always have to know what you believe, and that shifts and changes over your lifespan. So few of us, unless we’re doing a great spiritual work, meditation work, journaling, we really don’t think, maybe therapy for some people, but we don’t think about how we shift and change and grow over time.

And so really understanding what you believe, what you used to believe, how you’ve changed, and why.  Why you believe what you believe, especially in the workplace. Why you’re even there in the job that you do. When you understand that, and you can start to craft your thought leadership around your expertise and your audience and your beliefs, then you can show up with a kind of very secure confidence, and authentic presence that can’t be rocked.

And when you don’t know how to answer something, you can still show up like that authentic present leader that you see in your spheres that you want to be like.  So that’s the presence paradigm. Presence at the center. Understanding who you are, understanding who your audience is, and putting your focus there, what they want from you, and then thinking about your beliefs and your thought leadership.

When you can craft that all together, you’ve got presence, and I believe you can show up in any circumstance, on any stage, and truly be present and trust yourself that you will be able to navigate and communicate effectively, and even with influence. 

So that’s what I’ve got today for the Speak With Presence podcast, The Presence Paradigm.

It is the bedrock, the foundation from which we train our clients. If you enjoyed this, let me know. Drop me a note, [email protected]. I’d love to hear from you. We’ll be back in two weeks on February 27th. I’ll be back with my cohost, Jennifer Rettele-Thomas, and we’ll have an interview for you.

Thanks for listening.


Jen V. & JRT

Jen Vellenga and Jennifer Rettele-Thomas are the co-founders of Voice First World®, a communication and executive coaching company. They train executives and leaders on the Presence Paradigm™, a communication technique created from Jen V’s decades of training actors to perform authentically, with presence, on stages, on audio, and video. If you want to learn more about how to speak and lead confidently, book a discovery call at

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Jen has been magical in helping me to identify my voice and my VOICE! The ways that she has holistically addressed my strengths and my areas of improvement have all made me feel so much more confident.

-Cate R.
Politician, Chicago, IL