Seth Mattison, an author and futurist, was one of The PPAI Expo’s three Power Keynote presenters on Monday afternoon. Following an introductory session when Mattison and his fellow keynote speakers David Avrin and Rita Davenport gave short previews of their presentations, audience members split off into three ballrooms at the Mandalay Convention Center to learn more. Mattison drew a sizable crowd interested in his perspectives on the forces affecting the state of the workplace today.

Mattison has advised brands and organizations around the world on key shifts in talent management, change and innovation, leadership and the future at work, and he uses that background to arm his audience with practical tools and techniques to deepen their professional connections and amplify their capacity to positively affect change and influence outcomes.

He built his presentation around three common behaviors that he had identified among high performing individuals he has worked with. Mattison’s session broke these traits down, and explored how audience members can incorporate them into their own lives.

The first behavior was to start from a position of intention. Mattison stressed, “The intention that we bring to any situation ultimately sets the outcome.”

A position of intention can have an important effect on personal and professional relationships, because, as Mattison pointed out, when it comes to relationships, most of us are not very intentional. He shared the story of a business leader in the financial world and their e-mail exchange. The executive had come to the realization that he had stretched himself too thin, and wasn’t bringing the value he could to his interactions. He found renewed success when he identified the 25-30 people most important to him and set time aside to genuinely prepare and plan for their interactions.

Mattison challenged his audience to identify the 20 most important people to their success and ask themselves how they can prepare for and be intentional in these relationships.

The second behavior was building from a position of influence. A good communicator asks great questions, Mattison said, which supports an elevated perspective on a situation. And an elevated perspective leads to the creation of new value and unique work.

“We ask head-based questions, not heart-based questions,” said Mattison. “This is a mistake. Change your questions, change your life.”

He challenges the audience to steer away from dry, dull questions that don’t engage people. He asked each of them to turn to their neighbor and spend a few minutes asking and answering the question, “What do you like to do when you’re not working?”

Mattison’s third and final behavior common among high performers is that they connect from a position of presence.

“We are living in the age of distraction,” he said, “but we can only be impactful in the present moment.”

He relayed times in his own life when he failed to be present in his relationships, his mind a thousand miles away when someone needed him there. It left him cut off from their needs and unable to help or contribute. “Be here now,” he said. “This is the power of the present moment.”