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Everyone seems to be talking about IQ and EQ these days. Our emotional intelligence is considered to be a key factor in the composition of our overall presence. However, Amanda Farley, SSDM partner and accounts director, says radical transparency is what it takes to be “present.”

What is “presence?”

During a recent TogetherDigital Detroit “fireside chat,” Farley talked about her professional journey. Nine years ago she joined SS Digital Media, a promising local start-up agency, and she made it her mission to learn whatever was necessary to be able to apply her PR degree to the psychology of internet behavior. Besides devouring loads of industry-specific information, it is her “presence” in the digital marketing arena that has made her a subject-matter expert.

The moderator asked about the light-bulb moment when Amanda knew she was the real deal. In the spirit of transparency, she revealed that, early in her career, she was asked a tough strategy question in a client meeting, and after a brief moment of doubt, she knew that, of course she had the answer. Digital media had become part of her DNA. By quickly summoning what she innately knew, her “presence” immediately gained the trust of her client.

What does it mean to “be present?”

Amanda empowers SSDM team members to draw upon their innate expertise and that of their teammates to solve client challenges. The agency’s flat organizational structure encourages collaboration. More than just the physical closeness of the bullpen, the totally open atmosphere depends on radical transparency, with clients and co-workers.

When asked what advice she would give her younger self, Amanda suggested to “take a deep breath and a moment to think things through, especially when you’re anxious to rush forward.”

Owning and growing presence

In response to several questions about “owning” your presence, Amanda noted that self-awareness is a life-long endeavor. As we grow and change, our presence does too, so the occasional, uber-honest re-assessment helps us understand our best role in any situation.

For instance, at SSDM, three positions of empathy are recognized – visionary, technician and manager. As they become more self-aware, team members are expected to assume the role that best fits the situation.

Presence is everything. The way we query and respond, give and take, review and recommend is an essential part of who we are and how we fit into the workplace ecosystem.