Your attitude as you listen, respond and interact with others is always more important, and more obvious, than anything that you say or do. Respect, charisma, professional polish, and manners will carry you a far greater distance than anything else!
Try this quick self-assessment:
- Check your appearance and mood before leaving home. Ensure whatever frustrations you may have encountered earlier (spilled milk, crabby spouse, a new mural in crayon on the wall) don’t show up in your facial expressions or body language and project a different message than you intended.
- Always be aware of the tone being set. The first few seconds will set the tone for the rest of the meeting, whether friendly, defensive, aggressive, interested and caring, ready to do business, etc. Your goal is to positively grab their attention and “keep” it.
- Step back and hear yourself. Would you want to listen to you? This includes clear speech (no mumbling or uncertainty), a firm yet warm and engaging tone, confidence, and truly believing in what you’re saying. We can tell when someone is sincere.
- Watch and compare verbal & non-verbal signals. If someone says something positive while flashing an annoyed glare accompanied by stiff body language, the message will definitely come off as insincere or untruthful. Non-verbal signals are the most honest form of communication. For greater credibility, the face, body and words need to be consistent.
- Force yourself to stand tall, walk with authority, look others in the eye and speak up. Why? Because the most important thing a person can wear is confidence!
- If you’re nervous, you may need to speak more slowly and lower your pitch (especially if you’re a woman) and maintain control of your hands.
- Remember: Winston Churchill was a self-made speaker. He was 5/5” tall, stuttered, lisped and had little college education. He was so terrified of public speaking that he passed out while delivering a speech to the House of Commons. However, he practiced his speeches for four hours and became a great orator and statesman! Learn what you need to go forward in your life and practice, practice, practice.
- Remember…you are awesome!!