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  • May 14, 2014
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Concerning Comportment

I often talk to Marines about their presence and bearing. How we carry ourselves is nonverbal communication to those around us. We encourage Marines to carry themselves with quiet professionalism and competence.

A friend once mentioned I have a bearing that, among other things, says: “Not to be f****ed with.” I often joke I am not a big man but I do take up a lot of space. Keep in mind, puffing up your chest and mean mugging everyone within sight and hearing indicates you are a douche vice capable of handling yourself. When you are trying too hard it laughably shows.

I never actually considered how we verbally impact others until recently.  Physical presence is often discussed but I don’t think I’ve ever contemplated verbal presence before.

During my recent travels, foul weather in Chicago stranded me in Phoenix overnight. I called a hotel shuttle to pick me up. The driver arrived, but I didn’t see him among the other vans and shuttles hustling about. He got out, maneuvered through the gaggle of people standing around and walked right up to me. I saw by his name tag I had just spoken to him on the phone.

“How did you know it was me?”

“Well, you looked like the voice I spoke to on the phone.”

It was a compliment I think?

Semper Fidelis!
America’s SgtMaj

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9 comments

  1. It was a compliment. I get that all the time. People think I am an over sharpened knife in drawer full of spoons. I don’t think of myself that way, but I’m not going to tell them that.

  2. Lin, I really didn’t think I was speaking in any kind of command voice. I suspect people who know me would say I tend to carry myself with a certain degree of levity. Of course, that in itself can also indicate a level of confidence.

    Eric, weak ass spoons!

    Anonymous one, again conveying gravitas isn’t how I imagine I come across but who knows?

  3. @Lin, @Eric, @SgtMaj Without really being aware of it, some of us are able to succinctly or wordlessly project an aura of intensity, gravitas, and “not to be messed with”. I believe this is a learned trait, but I really have no idea how we train ourselves to achieve it. Others are aware of our facility, and sometimes have the courage to tells us we have it.

  4. Curmudgeon, unfortunately that was not me. I own a SIG 716 and no ARs.

    Anonymous One, I suspect it isn’t training the aura but the aura reflecting training and confidence. We used to call it ‘presence.’

    Conspicuous, done!

  5. America’s SgtMaj:

    The same goes for me if you find yourself in Portland, OR: any time, date, or whatever. Even if it’s just a couple hour layover at PDX (may the good Lord save you from such a fate).

    Contact info upon request.

    Paul L. Quandt

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