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What are you doing while you read this? Are you leaning back in your chair with your feet up on the desk?  Are you sitting up erect and tall on the edge of your seat?  Are you standing? Are you walking on a treadmill?

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Just what am I saying that I’m not saying? 😉

How do you sit during a meeting that you are NOT leading?  Do you lean in toward the speaker and nod at appropriate times?  Do you smile slightly in encouragement?  Do you look at your phone that’s under the table? Are you texting someone?

Take a look at the pen you are using.  Is it something you are proud of?  Or is it some ratty thing you grabbed from the junk drawer on your way out the door – or did you have to dig to the bottom of your purse and pull out an empty container of TicTacs and a couple crumpled Kleenex before you could get to it?

Where are your eyes when you are first introduced to someone? Looking kindly and directly at their own eyes while you think about what they must be feeling?  Looking down at their shoes?  Looking down at your OWN shoes?! 😉

Are your shoes polished or scuffed?  Are your clothes sharp and appropriate? How about your hair and nails?  Clean and shiny or slightly off?

Your appearance, your posture, your expressions are your choices. Every moment of every day.  I’m not talking Top Model here, obviously.  And we don’t have to all be carbon copies of some business image stereotype.    But we can and should take responsibility for our choices.   They are sending messages to others whether we want to believe it or not.

Last summer, as I arrived to lead a presentation training session for a large group of sales managers, I noticed one woman in particular.  She was leaning back in her chair with a scowl on her face. Her arms were tightly folded across her chest.  More than unhappy, she looked downright angry.

Oh, oh,” I thought.  “This gal is going to be a challenge.

But, interestingly, this woman was, in fact, one of the most active participants of the group.  She really dug in, crafting and delivering a dynamic introduction using the methodology I taught.  After the session, I took her aside and told her I was pleasantly surprised at how engaged she was considering how off-putting her demeanor had been at the start.  She told me she had been told this before, but didn’t realize she could actively take steps to change it.

Yes, you can change.” I said, “But it will take active commitment and effort.

She departed the room walking taller and smiling at me as she waved goodbye.

Taking ownership of your appearance and your behavior are all part of being an engaging and effective communicator.

If you want the part, then you must look and act like you do.

Copyright 2015 Gina London.  All Rights Reserved. 

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