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12 Examples of Personal Presence

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Personal presence is the ability to signal or countersignal social strength. The following are illustrative examples.

Social Status

Social status such as physical attractiveness, youthfulness and wealth. For example, an individual who is obviously wealthy or attractive may have a certain level of personal presence that may be increased or decreased when they start to talk based on their actual social ability.

Social Proof

Social processes that demonstrate an individual's social status in areas such as reputation and popularity. For example, an individual who seems to know people everywhere they go.


The ability to make darkness and absurdity strangely pleasant. A valued social skill as humor creates joy out of bleak situations.


The ability to be humorous and intelligent at speed. Wit is a fearsome social skill that allows an individual to dominate conversation and argument alike.

Self-Deprecating Humor

Perhaps the bravest and most difficult to master form of humor is to make fun of your own weaknesses. Done right, this is a potent type of countersignaling that is also humorous.

Risk Taking

A willingness to take social risks such as questioning what people fear to question.


Demonstrating kindness or a reputation for trying to do good. In many cases, nice people enjoy significant social respect particularly if they are perceived as genuinely nice as opposed to strategically nice.


Likeability largely stems from people's ability to identify with you. Being too strong can decrease likability. For example, being good at arguing without being funny can decrease your likeability as you are viewed as a source of stress or perceived as arrogant. Socially strong individuals who are fun and weak in some way are typically highly likeable.

Imposing Presence

Power, authority, physical presence, wit and combativeness can create a fearsome personal presence that people may find impressive and intimidating.


Style is a distinctive character that shines through in an individual's appearance, behavior and work. This can be a potent source of personal presence as people respect those who are able to realize an image of themselves and communicate this spirit to the world.


Unaffectedness is when an individual knows who they are such that they aren't easily influenced or discouraged. This requires self-esteem such that an individual doesn't require constant validation from others. Unaffectedness represents a type of social strength as people are commonly sensitive about what everyone else is saying, doing and thinking such that the unaffected stand out as calm, cool and collected.


It is common for people to create social masks and fake things. In this context, those who are authentic tend to have a stronger personal presence even if they are showing off their weaknesses without concern. The reason authenticity works may be that it tends to be more emotionally vibrant as things are difficult to fake. For example, a fake smile is never going to beat real joy or laughter.
Overview: Personal Presence
The ability to signal or countersignal social strength.
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