You can become a more deliberate communicator!


Today I ask this question: What three adjectives do others likely use to describe you?

I often have my clients first write down how they would like to be described and then square that up against how they imagine they currently fare.

That’s the challenge today in my “The Communicator” column in the Your Work section of the Sunday Independent.

Check it out here!

If you’ve ever had a 360 report done on you, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, reach out to me or your employer to get one. Kind of like President Trump’s 100 Days gauge, without hitting the front pages. Reality. Check!

What we think about ourselves is less important that how we’re perceived by others.

It’s helpful to identify what traits or behaviours of ours may be holding us back.

It’s also important to not get defensive, but to get determined once you identify it.

Don’t cop out with the old, “Well, that’s just how I am” excuse. Instead, to use this expression I’ve learned since moving here to Ireland, “Cop on!”

It’s a lot like when my mom used to make me sit down at the piano in our dining room and practice. Every day for an hour. She would set the clock on the stove and I wasn’t to get up from the bench until the buzzer rang. Except sometimes, like the cheeky eight-year-old I was when I first started taking lessons, I would sneak over to the stove and move the alarm forward a few minutes to hurry it along.  Naturally, my mom had no idea that somehow in our home, the passage of time was magically accelerated. Ha.

But, like learning to play the piano, you also can practice taking incremental steps toward changing your behaviour as I discuss in today’s column.

Experts agree leaders are made not born. So now that you’ve been born, let’s get together to make you better!

If you have an A. B. C. (Appearance, Behaviour or Communication) question for me – please write to me here or in care of the Sunday Independent and I’ll try to answer it in an upcoming column!

Your first homework challenge, make it a great week!

Kindly,

Gina

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Bill Ford’s Engaging Body Language

Don’t use your body like a car to merely take your head in to the room! In today’s Sunday Independent, my weekly column, “The Communicator,” gives you three great body language tips for your next meeting or presentation.

Check it out!

And speaking of cars, on Friday I interviewed Bill Ford, the great-grandson of Henry Ford and the Executive Chairman of the company that bears his family name.

He was here in Ireland, along with his terrific wife Lisa and equally terrific sons Will and Nick, two of their four children, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Ford establishing a manufacturing plant in Cork.

In the University College Cork auditorium packed with pensioners from the factory, business students and local dignitaries, we had a “fireside chat” about the future of mobility, technology and leadership.

I’ll write more about what he said on the leadership topic, for next week’s column, which will also happen to be close to the 100 day mark for the presidency of Donald Trump, leader of my birth country, the United States. But, meantime, back to the Ford Company leader, if you weren’t in that auditorium to see him speak, you missed something critical: seeing how he delivered.  To me,

Bill Ford exemplifies the skill of using body-language to enhance a presentation.

He didn’t hide behind the lectern when he gave his opening remarks like so many other CEO’s I have interviewed.

He didn’t pace around the stage. He didn’t rock or bob on his feet as he stood. He was poised and confident in the center of it, angling his body to different parts of the room as he addressed them.

He didn’t read from a fumbling set of papers.

He looked directly out into the audience.

And perhaps most of all — he smiled.

His body language was a critical component of how he so compellingly connected with that audience.

Go online or if you’re here in Ireland, get over to your news stand and pick up a copy of The Sunday Independent and discover my top three tips how you can become more engaging in that way too.

And, of course, shameless plug, that’s one of the communications skills I train and coach here in my directorship role with Fuzion Communications. So, I’m happy to help you and your organization power-up.

Like the Ford Company says, “The Future is Unwritten.”

And much of how your future gets written is up to you!

Great relationships equals great communications.

Kindly,

Gina

Your name is the sweetest sound. . .

Early on in my professional career, I learned how important it is to get names right. In tomorrow’s Sunday Independent, I will give you my tips to help you get them right too.

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My first job in Washington was on Capitol Hill in a Congressional office. The Chief of Staff’s first name was Christopher.

“It’s Christopher. Not Chris,” he corrected me after I erroneously referred to him in the more casual manner.

Christopher wasn’t being fussy.  He simply preferred his name how he preferred it. We went on to have a very solid working relationship. I always respected him for reminding me. Nothing wrong with that.

Our names are possibly the most important part of our identity.

Later on, when I began working in television news in Washington at WTTG, I carefully made it a part of my job to learn and remember the names of everyone I met. I even made a little spreadsheet – listing names, positions and something cool or interesting about each person.

One day, about a couple of months in, I passed a producer in the editing hall whom I had probably met only once or twice before. “Hey, Mark,” I tossed out as I walked by.  I won’t tell you his last name, but the cool thing I had listed was his ponytail. Very un-Washington-like.

“Hey,” he turned, “you’re new, right? You clearly make an effort to remember names.”

He went on to leave WTTG to become the producer for The McLaughlin Group, one of the best-known and longest-running current affairs panelist talk shows in US television.

I never forgot Mark. Or Christopher.

And to this day, I try not to forget names.

Last week, I traveled over to Shannon to work with a group of directors from an aviation company. One of the directors’ first names was “Iarlaithe.”  I have learned plenty of great new names here in Ireland, but this was a new one for me.

“You probably haven’t heard my name,” Iarlaithe said to me. “It’s unusual.”

Yes, it is. It even says so when you Google it.

“An unusual Irish name that means ‘earl’ or ‘tributary lord,’” reads the citation.   The name is also Irish for the St. Jarlarth, who, research shows, was noted for his piety and his teaching ability as he founded a school in County Galway.

The current Iarlaithe I met last week is known to me for his ability with numbers and that he likes his curry very hot!

I find the more I focus taking genuine interest in people and their personalities and stories that surround them, the more I will remember the names that go with them.

I’m not perfect, mind you. Last summer, when I spoke at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Conference, I tried to show-off and go around the large ball-room and name everyone to whom I had been introduced. I got 99 percent – notoriously missing one gentlemen I had been having a wonderful talk with before I came up on stage!

Thankfully, he forgave me.  And I’ll keep trying to focus more!

 So if you’re one of those people who says you’re ‘just not good with names,’ don’t miss my column,“The Communicator,” tomorrow in the Your Work business section of the Sunday Independent to try and help you remember better.

Let me know what you think and how I may be able to help!

Also, if there’s a career communications topic you would like to me to cover in an upcoming column, or if you would like me to help you or your organization – please drop me a line at gina@Fuzion.ie

Great communications equals great relationships!

Kindly, Gina