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6 Ways to Appear More Authoritative at Work

6 Ways to Appear More Authoritative at Work

Emerging leaders beware: are you undermining your own authority without realizing it?

Here are 6 ways to exude confidence and appear to be a leader, according to U.S. News & World Report writer Alison Green.

🎤  Get in synch, up front, with your direct report.

Have alignment with your supervisor on issues facing your team and company. You will lose authority if your boss reverses what you are doing and saying.

🎤  Know how to answer questions when you don’t know the answer.

You will not know how to handle every situation that crosses your path. To respond with confidence in these scenarios learn to use time as your negotiating factor. Example: “You’ve raised some valid concerns and you’ve given me lots to think about. I’ll get back to you on Friday.” Note: follow up when you say you’ll follow up.

🎤  Reduce your verbal clutter.

Fillers like “um,” “you know,” and “I think,” dilute your point, make you look nervous and decreases your gravitas. Try to erase this clutter by being aware of what fillers you use and wearing your imaginary Verbal Clutter Hat. Hint: practice this de-cluttering technique in less stressful situations and the habit will carry over into your work life.

🎤  Be aware of your tone of voice.

Don’t end sentences with a question mark unless they’re questions! This bad habit, called “upspeak”, negates your authority. Also, use declarative sentences. These are simple statements providing information or stating facts. Your tone of voice implies authority vs sounding hesitant and unsure.

🎤  Use the Power of the Pause.

Sounds easy but it’s not! You rush to fill in the spaces. You might chatter nervously or do a quick laugh/giggle at the end of your sentences. Both belie your sense of authority. State your thoughts and then stop. When answering questions you can pause to formulate your thoughts before responding. Become comfortable with silence.

🎤  Be straightforward.

Say what you want to say, even in difficult or awkward conversations. You will appear more confident and authoritative by being direct. Addressing issues is part of your job.

PowerPoint Power Tips (hint – stop doing what you always do!)

PowerPoint Power Tips (hint – stop doing what you always do!)

Audiences rebel against PowerPoint

Have you ever gone to sleep at night saying to yourself, “Darn! I wish I had seen one more PowerPoint deck today.” ?

Have you ever gone to sleep saying to yourself, “Darn! I wish I had been more inspired today.”* ?

You, all of you, from CEO to Sales to Personnel to Purchasing, you are killing us with your PowerPoint.

That’s because bullets kill.

Five Main PowerPoint Offenders

  • Too many graphics on one slide.
  • Too many topics.
  • Too many bullets & too many sentences (which are worse than bullets).
  • Too many details.
  • Too many dissolves, spins or other cheesy transitions.

Every Main Offender on this list starts with “too many” because you are over-stuffing each slide. We do not know where to look first. In the midst of our confusion, we stop listening to you in hopes of being entertained by something on your slide.

Boredom + lethargy sets in and we shift over to what we really want to do – a sneaky wild round of Candy Crush Saga.

So, what’s a great slide look like?

It’s VISUAL.

Effective slides incorporate these three commandments

  1. Thou Must use good, clear (not copyrighted by someone else) pictures that support your message.
  2. Thou Must think ‘Less is More’ when putting your slides together. At the very least, can you please take one busy slide with many points and divide it into several slides so that each one has only one point/slide?
  3. Thou Must remember YOU are the presenter, NOT your slide deck. Don’t hide behind your PowerPoint deck – literally (you’re standing in the dark or hidden by your computer) and figuratively (you’re reading your slides and adding nothing else).

On the other hand, keep doing what you always do and Speak For Yourself® & Associates will remain busy cleaning it up for you!

Any exceptions?

PowerPoint can serve as a report for the judge, or a financial record for a publicly held company. Depending on the industry and the speech function the PPT must include all the data.

For most presentations PPT needs to be streamlined. OR put the detailed charts and graphs as an appendix.

*FYI, inspiration comes from stories that reinforce your message that can be supported by great visuals.

© 2024 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved 

Photo ©:  123RF Stock Photo

 

Surprising Adds that Could Make You a Super Communicator

Surprising Adds that Could Make You a Super Communicator

Ever been to a business event, power breakfast or strategy session dominated by one person? How about a dinner party or book club? You know the one!

The best communicators aren’t always the ones who talk the most in these various settings.

Charles Duhigg, Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist, shares three ways we can be “super communicators” and really connect with almost everyone.

How to be a super communicator on a consistent basis

Ask questions

  • Super communicators ask a lot more questions. In fact, 10 to 20 times more questions.
  • Some questions invite you in. “Tell me more about your xxx.”
  • Some are deep questions – getting others to talk about beliefs, experiences. “How do you feel about being on the board of xxx?” Or, “Can you tell me a memory that is really important to you?”
  • Super communicators ask not just about facts but how you feel about what you are doing – all in hopes of creating reciprocal authenticity.

Be a humble conversationalist

Most super communicators were once crummy communicators. Duhigg’s research points out that these struggling communicators had to become keenly aware of having to listen intently to understand what the other person was saying. This heightened awareness propelled them to become super communicators with these attributes:  being honest, authentic,  vulnerable and nonjudgmental.

Looping for Understanding (great for conflict management):

  1. Ask a question … a deeper one. (see my first point above)
  2. Repeat back what they said.
  3. Ask if you got it right.

You don’t have to agree or disagree. “I understand where you are coming from. I think I’ve heard what you are trying to say. I have a different point of view…”

7 Super Communicator Goals

  • To listen for understanding.
  • To lower the burden of the conversation. You are not trying to get them to agree with you.
  • To find a connection.
  • To get others in the group to speak.
  • To be generally interested in what others are thinking.
  • To give credit to others when context permits.
  • To better navigate tough conversations.

Don’t dominate a conversation. Be the super communicator that makes the conversation of interest to all.

Thank you to Judy Dedmon Coyle for sharing this podcast with me.

Source: Krys Boyd’s NPR “Think” Podcast with Charles Duhigg, author of “Supercommunicators: How to Unlock the Secret Language of Connection

© 2024 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved 

Nothing Eclipses Your Executive Presence

Nothing Eclipses Your Executive Presence

Well, maybe on April 8, 2024. 😎

That’s the date of the once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse that will darken our skies, especially in my hometown, Dallas, Texas  … we are right in the middle of the path.

But, on every other day ➜

Show your executive presence by using the 7 C’s

Jun Medalla, writing for Business Insider, outlines these seven core tenets of executive presence:

☀️ Composure – Have grace under pressure. Stay calm.

☀️ Connection – Don’t hog the stage. Show others you’re engaged by asking for feedback and having good eye contact to all in the room and leaning towards those that speak.

☀️ Charisma – Share your positive energy by shining the spotlight on others. Listen, ask questions, have good eye contact and an open facial expression (aka smile). Make others feel understood.

☀️ Confidence – My mother-in-law, a professional portrait photographer always said, “Sit dynamically forward!”. Use body language to take control of the room. Sit tall. Stand tall.

☀️ Credibility – Demonstrate integrity, show expertise and good judgment, and be accountable, responsible and dependable.

☀️ Clarity – Prepare for meetings to avoid uncertainty. Use our Speak For Yourself® Blueprint presentation outline to strategize your 2 to 5 main points.

☀️ Conciseness – Less is more. Embrace your inner editor by asking yourself these 3 questions before you speak: “So what?” and  “Who cares?”  and  “Is anyone interested in this besides me?”.

Don’t get eclipsed by poor executive presence. You do not want to be kept in the dark, except from 1:40 to 1:44 CST, in Dallas on 4.8.24.  ☀️⚫️☀️

© 2024 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved 

Silencing The Noise – how to communicate in a crisis

Silencing The Noise – how to communicate in a crisis

You now know that Catherine, Princess of Wales, has been diagnosed with cancer and she’s in the early stages of chemotherapy treatment.

The British Royal Family, according to the NYT, “focused so much on privacy they created the information vacuum that resulted in all this white noise and nonsense.”

Catherine silenced the noise.

Communication vacuums

A communication vacuum happens when a gap is allowed between what a person thinks others know and what they actually know.

Ed Pike writes in Leadership Wizdom, “Leaving a vacuum in communication invites your team to fill it with their worst possible nightmares or scenarios. Every nuance that you did not realize that you had made can be converted into a skyscraper sized monster.”

How to handle business communication vacuums

1️⃣  Be aware ➜  As leaders you must be proactive about how you communicate information. Are you leaving gaps?

2️⃣  Be timely ➜  Consider if you can pre-empt and get ahead of the storm. Tell what you know, and what you DON’T know – along with when you hope to share more info.

3️⃣  Be transparent ➜ Why? Uncertainty paralyzes your team and their performance. Fill the vacuum with as much info as you can to give your team predictability and a feeling of control.

With eloquence and gravitas Catherine, Princess of Wales, cleaned up the “dirt” in this vacuum frenzy.

Acceptance Speeches – do’s and don’ts

Acceptance Speeches – do’s and don’ts

Congrats to all of you who get recognized by your peers.

Last night my cousin Neal received just such an award from the Northern TX PGA of America. My husband, Jim, and I proudly attend the President’s Dinner at a beautiful golf country club (of course!) and I have the chance to observe 16 award presentations.

Yep – 16 acceptance speeches, each being around 4-5 minutes! You do the math.

Don’t think “How boring can you get”! These guys do a great job and I stayed engaged even though I know nothing about them or their accolades.

What makes Acceptance Speeches work

My cousin Neal receiving the Byron Nelson Award

🎤  Brevity.  My cousin Neal begins his acceptance speech saying, “I didn’t have my glasses on when I read the instructions … I think the PGA wants me to speak for 4 to 5 minutes or 45 minutes!” He laughs. We laugh. And thankfully Neal sticks to the guidelines. Remember this adage, “Be brief, be gay, be gone.”

🎤  Authenticity – being true to your own personality, values, and spirit.  I stay engaged for the entire evening because each awardee speaks from his truths. The superintendent award winner is overwhelmed as he shares with joy and honesty, “Thank you so much for including us in your award banquet. We aren’t the golfers, we keep the grounds, grass and fairways ready so you can golf. I love ‘my’ golf country club. We have trouble sometimes with the creek that runs through it, but that’s not our fault!”

🎤  Inclusivity. What to include … you ask? First: Context about the award itself and the group that bestows the award on you. Second: People you wish to thank. Write every name down. Yes, even your partner’s name! One guy almost forgot to thank his wife!

What to avoid when receiving an award

❌  Winging it – No notes! No prep! No good!  You’ll go long on tangents and short on what you really want to convey.

❌  Digitizing it – reading your speech from your iPad or phone.  OK – You’re going to push back on this. Many of you rely on your digital notes, and when it works you’re golden. But you’ve also encountered times when your battery dies, the brightness of the screen fades, or the scrolling causes you to lose your place. Please bring your notes, on paper, in a font size you can see. (Better to be old-fashioned then lose your train of thought which did happen to one of the PGA awardees.)

🎤  If you don’t want to accept an award because you hate the thought of giving one of these speeches, call us! Happy to help you become comfortable receiving recognition you deserve.

 

© 2024 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved

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