The 5 behaviours that could give you the recognition your deserve
The fact that some people seem to command attention means you’re missing out on other opportunities, such as promotions.
If you think your good work in itself is enough for you to be given recognition or promotion, look around you.
There are those being offered the hand up or the back slap and you cannot, for the life of you, figure out why.
There are others who may be as competent as you but what are they doing to be so appreciated?
You don’t want to be jumping around, shouting, “Look! Look what I’ve done. I’m so clever.”
Thankfully, you don’t have to.
So here’s how to get noticed without having to holler your achievements from the office roof garden.
This article deals with 5 key actions you can apply immediately, practising from your next encounter.
1. Increase your charisma: listen
The way one listens is absolutely key to presence and elevates standing. Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s book, ‘Why you need Charisma’, in which she states how active listening increases your standing. It brings to mind a client from the energy industry who wanted a particular team member to speak up more in meetings. What he really meant is that this individual needed more managerial presence. Teaching the client to actively listen did the job: using paraphrasing, summarising statements and questions. The who truly listens actually shines brighter than those with verbal spillage. The Turks have a wonderful proverb to sum that up – “If speaking is silver, then listening is gold”.
2. Your body’s doing more talking that you think
I recall a lesson at drama school about how much can be said in silence by watching a 10 minute performance of Sir John Gielgud alone on stage, saying nothing, except with his body and facial expressions.
Sometimes it’s not what we say but what we give away. Our non-verbals can bring our point home or undermine it. A strong part of any actor’s training is how you support what you say with your body and face. Studies show that we are more likely to trust and believe people when their gestures are congruent with words. So even on the screen, seeing hands helps increase sincerity and rapport with others.
3. Speech patterns
Uptalking, the habit of a rising intonation, as if asking a question subverts gravitas. Caroline Goyder, in her book ‘Gravitas’ discusses the value in changing to falling intonations and downward gestures that project decisiveness, a technique used by skilled leaders to assert authority. By emphasising key words in phrases, uptalking can generally disappears. Here’s a post on 3 vocal mannerisms that will hold you back unless you, like, y’know, sort of, get rid of them? Yeah? (Clue to one of them was just there…)
4. Pre-emptive put downs:
When we frequently apologise or prefix a suggestion with a phrase such as, “This may be stupid but…” Dr Judith Baxter, a Senior Lecturer of Applied Linguistics at Aston University, calls this ‘double-voiced discourse’. This thwarts your authority and, from my experience is particularly prevalent amongst women.
I was at an event listening to four men and one very senior woman in conversation. The woman had spoken about for about 30 seconds in a 10 minute conversation.
When she eventually piped up again, she began with, “Sorry. Can I just interrupt here…?”
Not once did I hear men talking like this.
There are times indeed when you need to cut in but you needn’t be sorry for adding value.
It’s about the way you do it. I heard one female Strategic Director state, “Save the ‘sorries’ for when you really are sorry. Then your apology is sincere.” Here you can see how people minimise themselves with their language, and what you can use instead.
5. Package your point
Being able to make a clear succinct point in plain English is valued at senior level. So instead of talking about ‘leveraging ecosystems to increase client take-hold’, refer to speeding up the sales cycle. Lower down the pecking order, people are echoing the obscure language around them as a means of security, often without necessarily knowing what’s really meant. They may not have a clue what they’ve just said, but they thing they got their big boy pants on when they’re saying it. Spelling it out in simple, unmasked language, indicates a level of confidence that speaking Business Bullsh!t Lingo doesn’t.
Your Action Steps
1. Listen: When you’re next speaking to someone, remind yourself to listen more. In ‘low risk’ social conversations, use more questions and paraphrasing before sharing opinion, commands or advice. Notice the impact on how you relate with others.
2. Be more aware of gesture, especially self grooming ones such as stoking your hair or neck. These can make you look uncertain.
3. Are you asking a question? If you’re uptalking, emphasising key words in your points with both gesture and pitch tends to get rid of the habit.
4. Don’t be so sorry: cut out the apologies. Use them when you really mean it.
5. Get to the point: note down your thoughts in bullets before speaking in meetings to avoid waffle. Speaking up once, adding quality, is better than waffling on for ages, adding little.
Stuck? I help individuals sharpen their skills to deal with clients, colleagues or investors. They’ve won recognition, promotions and tens of millions of pounds in investment. Whats more, they’re simply happier. And that’s gotta count for something, right?
Contact me here regarding my 121 and group training.