Did you know that much of what you communicate about yourself has nothing to do with what you say?
Long before we open our mouths to speak, our clothes, body language, location, positioning and facial expressions have shouted volumes to those who observe us, creating an image in their mind. If this image is at odds with what we are saying, others may be confused and our message is undermined.
So, our carefully crafted presentation, astute comments and lofty insights are all fighting for attention with the physical signals that we are giving out loud, clear and often inadvertently.
Research shows that we tend to like the people we see as being genuine more than those that come across as inauthentic. If you have ever wondered how is it that some people are remembered, listened to and given opportunities when others seem to have to work so much harder to make productive connections, then here is your answer: authenticity.
Do you want your audience to understand that you have prepared thoroughly for this meeting and that the outcome is important to you? Then consider dressing more smartly than usual to demonstrate the point. If you are aiming to show your concern for the issues a customer is experiencing with your delivery team, then now might not be the best time to crack a joke, even if it is only to cover your nervousness. If you suspect that your colleague has a problem and want to encourage them to open up to you so you can help, a snatched five minutes chat in the corridor probably isn’t going to do it; you’ll need to show that you are willing to make time to listen to them.
When we learn to be aware of how others see us, we will be able to align our behaviours and our image with what it is that we stand for as individuals, and so present a more authentic version ourselves to the world around us. That we way, we’ll build more productive relationships and get more done.