It’s True – Actions Speak Louder Than Words!

bigstockphoto_Businessteam_At_A_Meeting_878809How your body tells the world what you’re really thinking.

When I was starting out in my career, I used to rush through the halls with my head down and stayed completely focused on my tasks.  When someone would stop at my office door, I would respond with a quick glance over my shoulder, or without moving my eyes from my computer.  I thought I was being efficient; I thought I was demonstrating that I was a focused hard worker…I was wrong on both accounts.

Much to my surprise, my colleagues provided feedback that I was unapproachable and standoffish.  I was shocked!  I thought I was just staying focused and providing a positive example.  Those close to me knew I was nice and a team player.  But my non-verbal communications were telling most of my peers that they were unimportant, which was the last thing I wanted to communicate.  Since then, I’ve changed my body language to be more open and inviting.  And you know what? I am much more productive.

After I made some changes, my office relationships got much stronger, I felt closer to the team and I received several promotions.  What I’ve learned is that over 80% of what we communicate is done through our body language.  So when our verbal and non-verbal messages are in conflict, it throws our audience off and they will always believe our body language over our words.

What does this mean for you?  It means you could be self-sabotaging yourself without even knowing it, just as I was.  Not to worry, it’s happened to the best of us.  All it takes is a little body-awareness to get your body language in-sync with your verbal communications.  Here are some illustrations to show the difference between good and bad non-verbal communications.

Which person would you want to work with?

iStock.woman virtual.small Stressed man

I hope you said the smiling lady. The man’s body language is communicating that he’s stressed out and unapproachable, whereas the woman is smiling and approachable.  When we’re at our desks, it’s import to keep good posture, relax our jaw and smile.  Smiling relieves stress and helps you think more clearly.  This will make you feel better and you’ll be more inviting to co-workers and leadership.

Who would you rather talk with?

Boring Phone Conversation iStock_000007701331XSmall

The man who is smiling on the phone appears to be more open and easier to work with.  Believe it or not, people can feel your body language over the phone.

Now that you’ve got the swing of this, here are some tried and true tips for showing good body language.

  1. Smile – Smiling is contagious.  When you smile, it makes others feel at ease and you’ll seem much more approachable.  Plus, it makes others smile back and creates better rapport.
  2. Make Eye Contact/Keep Your Eyes Level – Looking up or down communicates that you don’t want to talk with others.  It makes you appear standoffish.  Making eye contact communicates that you’re open and inviting.
  3. Stand Straight – When you stand up strait with your shoulders back and your head held high, you are telling the world that you are a confident individual – and this is one of the main components of executive presence.  Slouching communicates insecurity and a host of other messages that you DON’T want to be sending.

Great body language and facial expressions is the key ingredient to having Executive Presence and may be the difference between getting the job, winning a client or securing a high-level promotion.

To get more tips for using your body to effectively communicate, download our “10 Essential Body Language Tips” – following these guidelines will help you communicate that you’re poised and confident. Click here for a free download.

If you are serious about wanting to up your game and communicate more powerfully, we invite you to attend Powerful Presence, our 3-Day Intensive Workshop where you will join other high-level executives, business owners and professionals to learn how to leverage your personal talents in order to create an amazing and Powerful Executive Presence.

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Don’t be Boring…Be Engaging!

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By Kimberly Gerber

Last week we talked about the importance of bragging to get you promoted, selected or elected.  We also mentioned that there was an art to it.   You don’t want to bore your audience…you want to ENGAGE them.  Below are 3 additional tips for graceful self-promotion that will get you noticed and keep your audience engaged.

  1. Be brief, be bright and be gone.  When you want to share some impressive information, think of it as an elevator speech.  You only have a few floors to get your message across.  So, you need to make a brief and confident positive statement and then be quiet.  Don’t go on and on about yourself, or rattle off a list of accomplishments.  This is boring and makes your audience want to flee.
  2. Volley the conversation. Once you’ve shared your information, turn the conversation over to the other person.  This graceful act shows that you are interested in them, and an interesting conversationalist.   It’s also the polite way to communicate.
  3. Change up your repertoire. Keep an updated and current supply of information ready to share.  If you share the same thing too often, or have a very narrow field of topics, you will get boring.  This also applies to the questions you ask.   Change up the questions you ask others to keep your conversations fresh and topical.

Practicing these three techniques when you share positive information will keep others coming to you instead of running from you. If you’d like to meet with communications experts and learn more about how to be engaging, sign up for our next 3-Day Intensive Workshop.

Want to Get Noticed? You’ve Got to Brag a Little!

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By Kimberly Gerber

I know many of you just said . . .”What???”  When it comes to getting noticed, bragging is a big deal!  You’ve got to be willing to self-promote if you want to be promoted, or selected, or elected.  Self-promotion is the act of promoting yourself and it doesn’t have to be obnoxious.  In fact, graceful self-promotion will build self-confidence, your personal brand and help you achieve more in your career. There is an art to effective self-promotion, which is why we’re going to explain how to effectively use self-promotion to propel your personal brand image and get you noticed!

1.  Send Updates – This is the easiest way to start getting noticed. An update can be a simple email to your leadership team sharing some great news regarding the progress you’re making on a project, a project’s completion, results of an initiative, etc.  Updates like these keep your leadership in the loop and let’s them get some good news. Plus, your leadership might share it further with other members, which further promotes your accomplishments.

2.  Seize Opportunities – When the opportunity presents itself, be prepared to share some positive and impressive information about yourself.  Too often we think that our work should speak for itself, but it’s not always obvious to those around us.  So, if we want to get noticed, we’re got to talk about it.  Don’t worry; you don’t have to be obnoxious.  A short and simple statement is all it takes sometimes to create a positive impact. An example would be running into someone on your leadership team or a desirable client and they ask, “How are you doing?” Don’t just reply, “Doing well, how are you?” Instead say, “Doing great – I just finished a 6 mile training run. ..It’s going to be a great day,” or “Fantastic– we just launched the new company website and everyone is thrilled with the initial response!” Then you’d follow up with “how are you doing?” Did you notice how short and to-the-point that was? That’s all it takes to create an impact, and there’s no need for more unless asked.

3.  Accept Compliments Gracefully – When someone compliments you, say “thank you.” Too often people deflect or, even worse, reject compliments. When a compliment is deflected or rejected it makes the compliment giver feel affronted.  Meaning, they were insulted in return for their compliment.  A simple and gracious “thank you” will do wonders for your interactions.  Also, be sure not to down-play or self-deprecate yourself.  Downplaying a compliment such as “great job on this” would be something like, “It was nothing.”  A response like this communicates that you don’t value your own contributions.  A self-deprecating remark would be something like, “Anyone could have done it.”  This again takes the value away from your contributions and will damage your own self-confidence.  Instead just say something like, “Thank you, I appreciate your saying that.”  This is a more productive way to accept a compliment and it shows appreciation to the person you’re talking with.  Talk about a completely different interaction experience!

Practicing these three techniques will help you promote your accomplishments in a graceful way.  It’s so easy that you can begin today. And don’t be surprised at how fast you start getting noticed.

If you’d like to meet with communications experts and learn more about self-promotion and getting noticed, sign up for our next 3-Day Intensive Workshop.

Show Some Courage – Go Ahead and Assert Yourself

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By Kimberly Gerber

Assertiveness is the ability to have your voice heard in a clear and confident manner. Assertiveness gets people to notice and actively listen to you. While Assertiveness is often bold, it should not be confused with being aggressive.

Aggressive behavior is often angry and destructive. People who are aggressive generally intend to subordinate others in order to get what they want with the least amount of interference or challenge. That is not assertiveness. Ultimately, it is not effective and it damages relationships.

An assertive person projects confidence and self-control. They are perceived as poised, articulate and fair, and they are able to hold solid boundaries as well as lead the thinking of others. A great leader is an assertive leader. It’s having the courage to communicate our thoughts, ideas and contributions.

Learning to be assertive is a skill that you can master.

And, it is important that you do because, without the ability to effectively assert your voice, your success will be limited. The more often you’re able to assert yourself by demonstrating your ability to think strategically, solve problems, generate ideas and create solutions, the higher value you’ll have with those around you.

Here are three ways to assert yourself for greater success:

Self-promote – Send updates to your team and leadership on what you’re doing. Congratulate the team on your mutual successes. Don’t let the work speak for itself and don’t assume your boss knows all that you’re doing. The only way to ensure your work gets the credit it deserves is to let others know about it.

Seize opportunities – Reveal flattering information about yourself in your conversations. Be prepared to share some positive information about yourself the next time you run into leadership or others that you need to impress. But don’t go on and on, which would bore your audience. Instead, give a few facts and move on. I’ve always liked the motto: “Be brief, be bright, be gone.”

Accept compliments elegantly – When you say “thank you” for a compliment, the giver feels appreciated and so do you. Plus, it allows you to own the compliment.

Practicing the above three tips will allow you to have your voice heard as you promote your strengths, abilities, and successes in a professional and effective way. These assertiveness techniques will increase your recognition and your perceived worth to those around you. You’ve already done the hard part by doing the work, so promote it as a way to celebrate your success. The rewards will be worth the effort.

Look for more advice regarding the above three tips in future posts. If you’d like to meet with communications experts and learn more about communications and building your self-confidence, sign up for our next 3-Day Intensive Workshop.