Page 1

Being The Best You Can Be

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

1


Module 1: First Impressions Last

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

2


Background – Personal Impact & Presence ‘It takes 30 seconds to make an impact.’ Albert Mehrabian, Silent Messages, Wadsworth, 1971, 1985 Your image and how you use it is central to others’ perception of your abilities, skills and potential. It is amazing how quickly you make an impression on others. You need to pay attention to your image because: To develop your business you will need to sell yourself to others. In a service economy people buy you. While adapting to the environment you work in you need to stay true to yourself, and know how to do this. There is a clear relationship between impact and self-confidence; each feeds off the other. Confidence is contagious, but so is lack of confidence. You have the ability to create the atmosphere you work in through generating a positive impact.

Projecting the right image can mean the difference between success and failure. We are so much more than what we do. Career progression is not just about doing a good job, but about: Getting exposure with key people Visibility Personal credibility Networking Sending out the right messages Being positive Creating the right image Your personal presence is the experience people have of you and the memory of you they will take away.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

3


Who makes impact and how? In the media every day we are bombarded with images of people who make an impact: politicians (nationally and internationally), actors, artists, sporting heroes, etc. These people inspire strong reactions from their audience, both positive and negative. Before you can effectively make an impact, or make yourself memorable to the audience that you face (be that one person or a thousand), you need to have a clear idea of what you think impact is, or should be, to give you the results you want. Think of some famous people that you would define as being charismatic, having personal presence, creating impact, and try to define what it is about them that gives them this quality. Chances are, you’ll have focused on people whose image is everywhere, but who are unknown to you, other than in pictures or on TV. Now try the exercise with people you know, or have met. Analyse what it is that they think, feel, say and do that gives them this quality and then define which of those qualities you share with them or would like to develop.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

4


First Impressions What impression do others form of you when they first meet you? Try the following. Use a mirror, preferably full-length, to see what choices you make: Smile and introduce yourself. It may seem strange to try out different facial expressions in the mirror, but have a go and see what impression you feel you give Notice your favoured or preferred expressions. Do you tend to smile, frown, look tense, dreamy, etc? How do you want to look? Try it out. How do you choose to stand? Do you look uncomfortable or at ease? Apologetic or confident? What do you look like when you stand tall and confidently proffer your hand and smile? Try it out. Remember, this is not intended to be an exercise in wishing you looked different. This is about realistically appraising your initial impact on others. If you don’t do it, be aware that other people are doing it for you all the time. Get ahead of the game and feel that you can adapt your behaviour to suit the situation. It’s an instant confidence boost. You have just a few seconds to make a good first impression and it's almost impossible ever to change it. So it's worth giving each new encounter your best shot. Much of what you need to do to make a good impression is common sense. But with a little extra thought and preparation, you can hone your intuitive style and make every first impression not just good but great.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

5


What About Your Image? Ask yourself which of these values are necessary for others to get the right ‘feel’ of your image, which do you already radiate and which need work?

It helps to get an impartial acquaintance to tell you what qualities you do project and might need changing. Close friends and spouses may not be the best to ask.

1 If you met me today for the first time, what kind of person would you say I am? 2 What impression did I make on you when we first met? 3 How has your impression of me changed, if at all? 4 Overall, how would you describe my image? 5 Is there anything about my image that you would recommend I change and, if so, why?

Try the following questions Some common reasons for changing your image are: I want to be as successful in my business as I can be. I am not being taken seriously in meetings (why?) I’ve gained weight and need to look slimmer. I look older/younger than I need to. I feel out of date. I need to convey that I’m capable of more responsibility. I’m up against tough competition. I always get interrupted by others (why?) I am single again and want to revive my social life. Presentations are now part of my job so I need to overcome the fear of public speaking. I am relocating abroad. I am no longer a corporate person but need to market my own business. I need others to think I am more dynamic.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

6


First Impressions Last – Or Make A Lasting Impression? After shaking hands you can read so much about a person and the most vital impression is formed within 15 seconds of meeting someone.

In order to present a positive image you need to understand what you want to project. If you are not clear about what you want to project you won’t project your star qualities clearly to others.

There are some three special steps one can do achieve this.

Choose from the following how you feel you want your image to LOOK – circle six: Stylish

Classic

Approachable

Expensive

Understated

European

Professional

Attractive

Elegant

Casual

Relaxed

Successful

Modern

Dramatic

Creative

Young

Chic

International

Arty

Powerful

American

Traditional

Cutting edge

British

Choose from the following how you feel you want your image to SOUND – circle up to six: Approachable

Dynamic

Thoughtful

Reserved

Well mannered

Fun

Friendly

Natural

Trusting

Confident

Formal

Easy going

Energetic

Slick

Sensitive

Assertive

Helpful

Considerate

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

7


Unassuming

Extroverted

Choose from the following how you feel you want your image to FEEL – circle up to six: Motivated

Sensitive

Free spirited

Decisive

Risk taking

Independent

Kind

Generous

Opportunistic

Conscientious

Competitive

Political

Ethical

Supportive

Sociable

Resilient

Innovative

Driven

High-quality

Authoritative

Impulsive

Influential

Refined

Optimistic

Self-aware

Authentic

Flexible

Impactful

Honest

Determined

Focused

Capable

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

8


Module 2

Self-confidence tips n’ tricks

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

9


How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

10


The Most Important Thing About Self-CONfidence The most important thing about self-confidence is the first three letters in the word CONfidence i.e. it’s all a CON. As long as you look and sound confident, then you may not feel confident, but your customer does not need to know this. But remember, there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. With regards to sounding confident, it’s about the power of your voice and not sounding nervous, using filler words like er, um, eh etc. Equally, it is about having the appropriate tone.

The power of your voice There are 6 factors that affect the way we deliver speech:

Voice Voice and speech are not the same. Voice is the sound we are able to produce and everyone's voice is different. Speech is what we do with our voice and again everyone has different ways of speaking. We take our voice and the way we speak for granted. Being more aware of the way we speak is crucial to developing influential and persuasive speech.

Articulation Articulation is the production of individual sounds and is vital to developing good speech.

Assimilation Assimilation is the running together of words or sounds.eg Richard Dimbleby or bus shelter. Because we are so used to hearing our own voice we take it for granted. Being more conscious of the need to assimilate words is important in influencing and persuading.

Rate Rate refers to the number of words we speak in a minute.

Pace Pace refers to the length of time a speaker pauses between ideas or thoughts. More complex situations require longer pauses.

Inflection/Tone Inflection is the amount of emphasis or stress we put on words. We need to be conscious of the accents and tone we place on the flow of words.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

11


With regards to looking confident it’s about your appearance and especially your body language, which we will cover as a whole subject later in this session.

Handling Your Inner Critic Are you your own worst critic? Do you remember events which went wrong? Do you brood over mistakes? Do you ever find yourself procrastinating? Do you ever worry about decisions? If so, don’t worry! We all experience the inner critic at some time or another. At its worst, this voice can destroy your confidence, affect your performance and prevent you from reaching your potential. Often what we hear are messages from the past which may not be helpful to the current situation. As a start, draw a picture of your inner critic and give it a voice and a name. Create an identity separate from your own. It is easier to ignore a negative voice which isn’t your own. Draw your picture below (and remember the voice and name):

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

12


Developing A Positive Inner Dialogue Unfounded fears and worries often stop us performing at our best. For example, Anil’s new business as a printing company meant that he had to present different parts of the business each month and share progress and ideas with the different new and potential clients he had. He hated giving presentations and found that beforehand he would have a sleepless night, arrive at the venue feeling tense and then race through his presentation as quickly as possible, making no eye contact with his audience. He knew he could do better, but somehow he couldn’t break out of his pattern of fear. The fear was causing a downward spiral of stress, bringing about a less than perfect performance. Anil worked on all the negative messages he was giving himself and replaced them with positive ones, thus creating a positive inner dialogue. Consciously replacing the negative with positive helped him to be more relaxed and he was able to review his performance. Both he and the people he worked with saw an improvement.

Changing Your Inner Dialogue If you have any negative inner dialogues, replace them with more realistic positive messages and turn your performance round. Give your mind positive messages to help you prepare for success.

Maintaining The Inner Engine Research shows us that our emotional state influences our behaviour. Our behaviour includes the messages we send to others when we make our impact. Controlling your emotional state means that you can be in charge of your external behaviour and this sense of control gives a feeling of confidence and freedom. Part of your ability to manage your emotions comes from a sense of well-being. If you take care of yourself physically, you feel stronger and more able to face new challenges. Also, you have more energy for fun times, and that gives you an increased sense of enjoyment in your life and minimises your stress. ‘The man who has confidence in himself gains the confidence of others.’ Hasidic saying How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

13


Negative Thoughts & Double Column Technique Write below all your negative thoughts you have about your new business and then challenge them!

Negative Thought

Challenge

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

14


How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

15


Negative Thoughts & Challenges

Negative Thought

Challenge

I can’t stand the pressure of not knowing how much I’m going to make.

I can stand it. It’s difficult but I can put with it. It is good for me.

I am just not good enough.

I am not perfect. Like everybody I am good at some things and not so good at others.

What is the point trying?

If I don’t try, I won’t know. Trying in itself will broaden my experience and skill. Nobody is expecting me to do it perfectly.

What if I make a mistake – it would be awful.

Everybody makes mistakes. It is good to make mistakes because it is the best way to learn.

I have nothing to say – I’m boring.

I have opinions, thoughts and feelings. I like reading and going out. Perhaps I need to improve my ability to express myself. I can practice.

If people really knew me they wouldn’t like me.

There are things about me that are likeable and things that are unlikeable – just like everybody else.

Everybody else has a better time than I do – they’re all happy.

I don’t know this for a fact. Just because they seem busier doesn’t mean they are more satisfied.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

16


Some Self-Confidence Techniques To Try What would you like to improve about yourself? Although we may not want to admit it publicly I think a lot of us feel like we could use an improvement in self confidence. Fortunately there are better advice out there than the often exclaimed “Just be more confident, man!” or “Have another beer!”. There are actually quite a few practical tips you can use to raise your self confidence. As usual, with these tip-lists, don’t try it all at once. Just try a few suggestions and see which ones work best for you. Some of them you’ll need to practise a bit before they start to pay off. It’s like playing the guitar or football, it might not work too well the first or second time you try it. And keep in mind that you have a choice. You can choose if you want to raise or lower your self confidence. Many of these suggestions can only boost your confidence temporarily. But this can allow you to do something you may not have been able to do before. And as you do it you build a deeper confidence in yourself. And collect concrete proof that you can actually do and achieve a lot of things.

Memory Visualisation One of the best self-confidence techniques is that of visualisation. When you are about to go into a new business meeting or meeting with a difficult customer immediately before this picture someone/something that makes you really happy or laugh. It does not have to be a picture of someone/something. It can be a video. It can be of a person (grandmother, happy childhood memory, son, daughter in fact anyone) and it does not have to be a picture. It can be a video (a moving image) of something that makes you happy no matter what. Even better if it’s something that makes you both happy and laugh. Then, when you go into that situation you will look and sound that you are upbeat and happy, and this will have a positive impact on the person that you are meeting.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

17


Pick A Song That Makes You Happy If you are in your car or listening to your mp3 player while going to see a new customer or supplier, select and listen to a song or album that makes you happy. Whatever your musical preference is. A song that gives you good memories, like attending a festival and seeing the song live or your favourite artist/group. As some of us are not visual, then this is a great alternative to visualisation.

Ask yourself: What’s the worst that could happen? It’s easy to get lost in a vague fear – or very improbable scenarios – of what might happen if you go through with something. When you really ask yourself what the worst thing that could happen you get a clearer picture, a bit of fear vanishes and you discover that the potential consequences are seldom as frightening as you first thought. By doing this you define the potential consequences and also discover that whatever might happen you can manage and recover from it.

Make a plan to do something. Then follow through This is probably one of the most important and effective ways to building lasting confidence. When you decide to do something and don’t back down but go through with it you get proof of your – often underestimated – capabilities and your confidence in yourself soars.

Face a fear This is not an easy one. But the reward is big. If you face a fear then your confidence takes about ten steps up. And for every time you face a fear you can slowly start to discover that the classic quote “There is nothing to fear but fear itself” was not just another empty cliche.

Fake it til you make it. One way to break out of your own self-imposed limitations, take a step out of your comfort zone and build confidence is to play a part. This might sound like it couldn’t work. Like you are just making things up and lying to yourself. Well, that might be the case. But it still works. If you don’t feel confident, fake it and play the part of how you would think and behave if you were confident. Soon you’ll really start to feel confident. The part becomes real.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

18


Use your imagination Let´s say to you have an important meeting coming up. Visualise how great the events will unfold – see and hear it – and also how great will you feel at this meeting. See yourself smiling, being positive, open and having a great time. See the excellent outcome in your mind. Then release by visualising that it has already happened, that the meeting is over with the desired result. This is surprisingly effective and will get you into a great and relaxed mood before even stepping into the first, second or twentieth meeting. If you are having trouble seeing yourself as confident then imitate someone else. Find a confident person – perhaps an athlete, perhaps a movie star, perhaps a relative – and copy him/her. See how/she walks, talks, moves and carries him/herself. Then just imitate that behaviour in your visualisation.

Use your body If you start fidgeting with your leg you’ll soon start to feel nervous or anxious. If you start to walk slower you’ll soon start to feel more relaxed. To feel more confident, use your body in more confident way. Walk, sit, stand and move in a more confident way. If you don’t know how, imitate as described in the previous tip. Copy how confident people in your surroundings, on the TV or at the movies use their bodies.

Awash yourself in positive memories It’s a common habit to let previous failures and bad experiences wash through your mind before you do something important. Replace that habit by actively letting positive memories, accomplishments and experiences wash through your mind for a minute or two instead. We often forget these positive things and our minds become focused on the negative memories. But this is up to you, you have a choice. And the product of your choice is a factor in your level of self confidence.

Take it into the future One great way of putting things into perspective and choose how much you let everyday happenings affect your confidence is to take a look from the future. Ask yourself: Will this be a big deal in 5 years or something I’ll even remember? This takes you out of being wrapped up in what just happened. And the answer to the question is almost always a no. By using this question it gets easier to handle your

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

19


day to day troubles and realise that in a larger context most stuff is small stuff you don’t really need to sweat.

Realise that the past does not equal the present What happened last year, last month or yesterday does not equal tomorrow, next month or next year. You create your future in the present and you can to a large degree decide for yourself how much you let the past affect you and your future. Even if your confidence has been low for the last 10 years does not mean that it has to stay that way. You can choose to change your future and life. You can let go of previous thoughts that have not been useful for you and that’s ok. You can choose new thoughts to think. This realisation untangles your mind from a self-made prison, creates a sense of possibility and makes it easier to change negative thought patterns.

Be good to yourself You might treat yourself badly. Realise that there is no need for doing that. Even if you have done up until today, you can choose to stop it. Be good to yourself instead. It’s ok. It’s allowed. It’s pretty pointless doing the opposite unless your goal is to make unhappy, complaining people happy. An important part of being good to yourself is recognizing your strengths and developing them. This will not only helps to improve your skills but also your confidence in your own abilities. Another and smaller – but important – part is simply learning to accept a compliment. It’s ok to say “thank you!” and feel good about yourself.

Learn about how your mind actually works Everybody is different but what is more important, people share a lot of similarities in how our minds work. What has worked for others may work very well for you too. For me it’s been quite enlightening to learn about different common patterns of thought. Now, when I know what some of them are it becomes easier to not respond in a knee-jerk manner when for instance my ego feels threatened or when someone is trying to influence me through various popular methods of persuasion.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

20


Module 3 Assertiveness techniques that work

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

21


How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

22


What is Assertiveness and Why be Assertive? TO ASSERT - To state an opinion, claim a right, or establish authority. If you assert yourself, you behave in a way that expresses your confidence, importance or power and earns you respect from others. - From the Oxford English Dictionary Assertiveness is standing up for your right to be treated fairly. It is expressing your opinions, needs, and feelings, without ignoring or hurting the opinions, needs, and feelings of others. Because people want to be liked and thought of as 'nice' or 'easy to get along with', they often keep their opinions to themselves, especially if those opinions conflict with other people's. But this sometimes leads to being taken advantage of by people who are not as nice or considerate. Asserting yourself will stop others from cheating you and you from cheating yourself out of what you deserve. Assertive behaviours include: Starting, changing, or ending conversations Sharing feelings, opinions, and experiences with others Making requests and asking for favors Refusing others' requests if they are too demanding Questioning rules or traditions that don't make sense or don't seem fair Addressing problems or things that bother you Being firm so that your rights are respected Expressing positive emotions Expressing negative emotions

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

23


Perceptions – The Way It Is

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

24


The Problem With

Barriers To Communication ‘Perception’ is often a barrier to communication. To successfully overcome barriers in communication we have to change the way we think. We must make a ‘journey’ from the way we see it to the way others see it. When we both see the ‘way it is’ together we can start to resolve any issues and problems that have occurred. This way, we can work at the resolution together and at the same time and be sure in the knowledge that we are both seeing the ‘way it is’ together. How good are you at communicating with others? From the way I see it

To the way they see it

AS SU ME

To the way it really is

Do you always see things the same way as others do? Perhaps, for up to 85% of the time, what about the other 15%? That’s when, if you don’t see ‘eye to eye,’ things can go wrong! When things do go wrong, the difference of opinion becomes a real barrier to the overall communication process. We live in stressful times and in our desire to do a good job in resolving problems, as quickly as possible, we often ‘assume’ that others see the issue the same way as we do.

All too frequently, the problems that we experience sound and look similar and we tend to resolve them in the way we know best. In reality, most of the time, our communication with others is successful. But when things go wrong it is usually because we have ‘assumed’ that others see the problem, issue or even an opportunity the same way as we do. When they do see it differently from us, a barrier comes between us, things can go wrong, and those barriers can often seem insurmountable and in consequence generate frustration and tension for all parties concerned. To improve our effectiveness in communication, when dealing with our ‘internal customers’ (colleagues who rely on us to get thing done), and our ‘external customers’ (who pay for our goods, products and services), we must change the way we think about working with them. Instead of always ‘assuming’ that they see things the same way, we should ask them first how they see the situation. If they see it the same way (most of the time), we can find solutions much more quickly, but we are doing it together, with neither party trying to impose the way they see it on the other. We can find out if they see it differently by asking them, and when we do this we know exactly what they see, feel, hear or expect from us and/or the situation. Thus we can secure 100% accurate information on the way they see it and when we see what they see, we can work on the solution, get their ‘buy in’ and work together to achieve a result. To change the way we think we have to stop ‘telling’ others the way we see and start ‘asking’ them the way they see it. This way we remove the barrier of our own How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

25


‘perception’ and work not on our ‘assumptions’, but the 100% accurate ‘facts’ of the way they see it, compare it to the way we see it and then we can both focus on ‘the way it really is’ together; altogether, a more effective way to communicate.

The three-step process for saying "No" When you want to refuse a request yet come across as being co-operative use the acronym ACT:

Acknowledge Circumstance Transform Acknowledge the request Say something to recognise the request. Make a short comment to let the person know that you heard and understood them and are considering what they said. Clarify your Circumstance Tell the person a bit about your own situation. You do not need to be specific, and keep it very brief. Mention what it is that keeps you from being able to honour their request. Transform your refusal into a positive Suggest alternatives or make a comment that reaffirms the relationship. For example, the following statement contains all three elements of ACT: "It sounds like a great idea. Unfortunately I have another job on right now. Perhaps I can help out next week."

Example phrases using ACT Acknowledge

Circumstances

Transform

I understand this is My current situation is … Perhaps next week I can important to you. help. Normally I would love to My policy is … Thank you for asking. help out. I appreciate you thinking I have other plans. I'm sure you'll find the of me. right person you need. How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

26


I would if I could. I wish I could help you out. I see you need help.

I'm grateful that you thought of asking me.

I have other involvements Have you considered …? tonight. I'm not well-suited to do Here's an option that what you need. could work … After checking my Have you considered schedule I can't give you asking …? the time that you need. After realising the nature I wish you success with it of the request I will have in… to decline your offer.

Saying No In 2 Parts When you say "No" in two parts it can sound stronger. If you are faced with someone who attempts to argue with and manipulate everything you say then a two-part "No" works best with them. Examples of the two-step process for saying "No" use either Acknowledge and Circumstances or Circumstances and Transform, as shown in the table below:

Acknowledge

Circumstances

I’d love to.

However, I’m busy right now.

Thank you for asking.

Not this time.

Sounds interesting.

Transform

My manager has already asked me to finish something I have other commitments.

If you like, you can ask her.

I have a 3pm deadline to meet.

I wish I could.

Do not feel guilty Once you have decided to say 'no', it is important not to waste emotional energy on feeling guilty. Remember, you don't lose friendships, people's respect, or your job from occasionally saying 'no'. Saying 'no' merely shows that you know your own limitations, and others will respect you for that.

Think about what you are telling yourself that stops you from saying "No". Don't think: • •

If I say "No" they won't like me. I better be nice to them.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

27


I shouldn't say what I think.

Instead, think in an assertive manner: • • •

What are my true priorities? What response best serves my true priorities? How can I communicate that as graciously and effectively as possible?

Words To Avoid and Words To Use Words to Avoid

Words to Use

Hopefully

Definitely

Probably

Will you?

I’ll try

Are you willing?

Maybe

What have you considered?

Easy

What are the options?

Difficult

What are the alternatives?

Hard

Thank you

Little

Which do you prefer?

Would you...

What works best for you?

Could you...

Which suits you best?

Can I...

How can it be corrected?

You’ve got to...

How can I help?

Must

What do you want me to do?

Should

Here are some options

Need

I made a mistake

Best

I understand

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

28


Worst

I understand your concern

I’d like you to...

I apologise

When you don’t...

Will/willing

Always

Able

Never

Unable/unauthorised

This is challenging

We

I

Us

Me

Ours

Module 4

Controlling your emotions

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

29


Emotional Intelligence – Self Test

1

I know which things in my past influence my emotional reactions today.

2

When we’re working to deadline, I can feel relaxed, and make it enjoyable and productive for everyone.

3

I give honest, direct and respectful feedback when I feel someone is behaving in an unhelpful way.

4

I make sure I find the time to praise people when they’ve made a good contribution.

5

I listen carefully to try to understand the other’s point of view and how they’re feeling.

6

I can hold back hostile thoughts in a disagreement, even though I would like to ‘blast’ them.

Rarely

Occasionally

Sometimes

Usually

Often

Indicate below how much each statement is like you:

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

30


I feel comfortable sharing my knowledge and experience with my colleagues.

8

I can build good support networks to help me personally and professionally. I ask for support when I need it.

9

I manage conflict by seeking common ground. I don’t allow bad feelings to fester.

Rarely

Occasionally

Sometimes

Usually

Often 7

10 I readily defer present rewards for future goal achievement. 11 I feel comfortable learning anew, and letting go of old ideas and ways of doing things. 12 I can control anxiety to avoid getting stuck. 13 I lead a balanced lifestyle. 14 I notice when my body is telling me I need to relax or energise myself, and I do it. 15 When I start to have negative, defeatist thoughts, I can replace them with positive thoughts that motivate me. 16 I can sustain optimism in the face of repeated disappointment. 17 I regularly step back from today’s urgent demands to remind myself of where I want to be, and what I need to do to get there. 18 I manage anger by putting things in perspective and keeping calm. 19 I avoid feeling helpless in frustrating circumstances by focusing on what I have control over. 20 I act on the belief that I can choose a different way. It’s not ‘just the way I am’.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

31


Rarely

Occasionally

Sometimes

Usually

Often 21 I pick up subtle verbal and non-verbal signals that show how people are feeling underneath the surface. 22 I can handle rejection because my self-esteem is strong. 23 I can reframe, or find alternative ways of viewing, a bad experience. 24 Others would describe me as having lots of drive. 25 I state my concerns without anger or passivity when I am being excluded. 26 My personal vision and values keep me focused in times of greatest difficulty. 27 I avoid procrastinating, and take decisive action after considering my options. 28 I sense out and explore opportunities. 29 I am able to take calculated risks without worrying too much about the choices I’ve made. 30 I don’t just sit and react to events. I take control of my own future.

Score your responses as follows:

Often

=

4

Usually

=

3

Sometimes

=

2

Occasionally

=

1

Rarely

=

0

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

32


Transfer your scores for each question to each row below. Then add up your totals for each of the five columns. The scoring interpretation is on the next page. C

A

R

E

S

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6 Q7 Q8 Q9 Q10 Q11 Q12 Q13 Q14 Q15 Q16 Q17 Q18 Q19 Q20 Q21 Q22 Q23 Q24 Q25 Q26 Q27 Q28 Q29 Q30 TOTALS

NB: This questionnaire has been designed to challenge your thinking about Emotional Intelligence. It is not a standardised psychometric instrument and should not be used in any way to categorise, select or label anyone.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

33


EQ Alternative Interpretation Creative tension

Manage the tension between dealing with the present and creating the future.

Active choice

Being proactive and not procrastinating or worrying about the choices you’ve made

Resilience under pressure

Managing pressure positively

Empathic relationships

Building relationships of trust and credibility

Self-awareness and self control

Knowing what you’re feeling and moderating your internal responses

Any score of 18 or above on any of the 5 competencies indicates that you excel in that particular aspect of Emotional Intelligence (although it would be useful to check your self-rating with ratings by others who work with you). 12-17 indicates a strong foundation for development. 0-11 indicates that you may need to explore the particular competence in some depth and find ways of building that particular aspect of emotional intelligence. Any individual item rated 2 or below may be important area for you to work on. Consider how much benefit you will gain if you invest time and energy in moving the rating up to a 3 or 4. Now choose up to 5 items from the EI self-test that you feel are important for you to work on. Discuss with your colleagues what you will do to strengthen these areas.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

34


Exploring the results of the Emotional Intelligence Self Test Here is an opportunity to explore and consider the results of your emotional intelligence self test.

Your Scores Competence

Score What does this mean for me?

Creative tension

Active choice

Resilience under pressure

Empathic relationships Self awareness and self control

Action Competence

What actions and behaviours do you want to change or develop and how?

Creative tension

Active choice

Resilience under pressure

Empathic relationships Self awareness and self control

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

35


Choosing Your Attitude Having the right attitude is of paramount importance when it comes to running a successful business and to ensure that you stay in control of your emotions. There are three golden rules to choosing your attitude.

1. If attitudes are contagious, is mine worth catching? Ask yourself, and ask if you were to imagine of your answer about yourself to this question, is it a positive, contagious one or a negative, yet skill contagious one? Behaviour breeds behaviour. So, you should have an air of good attitude, personability and approachableness. Because if you’re not feeling happy, then this is given away so easily in both voice tone and non-verbal body language. Especially when you walk into work in the morning, ask yourself, “is my attitude worth catching today”?

2. Choose your attitude from moment to moment. Ultimately, you should catch your attitude and how it may be coming across, and re-choose a more positive one when necessary. You have had an eventful and busy day and done both some repetitive tasks and been asked the same question 20 times that you. You have to remember that the other 19 people that have asked you that question asked for the very same reason that the latest one did, they were asking a genuine question that they wanted answering. At that, or any similar situation, re-choose your attitude to a positive one – verbally, visually and vocally.

3. Get others to ‘catch you’ As a lot of attitude can be observed as indicators in body language, and the tone of voice, sometimes you are not even aware of what you are doing, or how you are coming across? Ask them to give you feedback and their point of view in a situation where they feel (or you retrospectively feel) could have been done differently.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

36


How To Gain Control Of Your Emotions The Steps Change the cause of emotion. Fix the thoughts, fix the emotions. Circumstances do not cause emotions – rather, your thoughts and attitudes about those circumstances do. The only exception is when emotion is driven by a physical chemical imbalance in the brain, which can be identified and treated effectively with medication. Realise that thought is not the same as logic. Logic is a system for reasoning, and reasoning is what you do with your thoughts. You may be brilliant at handling your thoughts, but what thoughts are you handling? Even if your thoughts are accurate, processing a dozen facts about a situation may well lead to error if you are unaware that an additional 99 facts are relevant. Recognise that you have the right to have whatever feelings—and any emotion—you want to have. But you also have the right (and responsibility) to select and use thoughts that benefit and enrich your life, and those around you. Re-think your attitudes about your circumstances—change your thoughts—and you will significantly change your feelings and emotions (at least enough to positively affect your daily life). Increase your awareness of and look out for moments when you feel an irrational thought or attitude coming on. Recognise and identify that emotion, then ask yourself, “Where’s the proof in that?" or “What evidence do I have that validates this feeling?" Then use all of the knowledge, tools, and evidence at your disposal, and your best judgment to behave appropriately – to do otherwise cheats you. Choose the right time and the right place to express your emotion. Controlling your emotions doesn't mean ignoring them. It means you recognise them and act on them when you deem it appropriate, not randomly and uncontrollably. Cultivate mindfulness.

Top Tips Learn to recognise and anticipate "triggers" that set you off on an irrational thought path. Often simple awareness of these triggers gives us enough time to avoid or handle them. Watch for "all or nothing" thinking. Most of life is a gradient or gray scale, rather than a set of absolutes or extremes. Many situations and events may seem as if they are black/white, good/bad, yes/no; but reacting as if they are can easily lead to irrational and unhelpful attitudes, emotions, and behaviours. Sometimes it's hard to "do it yourself." If all fails, seek guidance from a supportive psychologist or therapist. Some experiences like watching a film, hearing a sound or tasting a food (sensory input) can trigger or bring about good emotions. The more good ones you can How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

37


recognise, pay attention to and be aware of, the easier it is to put yourself in that kind of a recognisable mood. It's far easier to get out of an angry or sad state of mind when you can know what happy or joyful state of mind is like.

Reviewing Impact Have you ever noticed how we love to replay negative incidents in our minds? The reaction to this scenario might be one you recognise‌ John loses his temper with his boss during a meeting. Although the situation is resolved by the end of the meeting, John cannot stop replaying the incident in his mind and wondering if it might affect his career progress. In the middle of the night, he wakes. The incident springs to mind immediately and he cannot sleep for thinking about it. A week later, he sees two people arguing in the street. He relives the argument in the meeting. Five years later, John can still recall this meeting in great detail. The feelings he experienced at that time are immediately clear and he feels the same discomfort he felt then. It’s as if it happened yesterday. For some reason, we love to spend time reviewing the things we have done wrong, or the times we have felt embarrassed. This means that our frame of reference is often negative and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Making an impact is all about feeling good about yourself, feeling that you have the right to be present. It’s important that you put good memories in an accessible place for times when you need that boost of confidence.

Critical Incident Exercise Take a piece of paper and write at the top of it an incident that you can recall in which you felt at your most effective. It might have been in or out of the workplace and it might have happened some years ago. The important thing is that it was a very positive event for you. Try to remember as much detailed information about this incident as you can. Now do the same with a negative incident (often much easier to recall). Again, as much detail as you can, but be sure to include the following questions: What have you learned from this incident? What would you do differently next time? Did anyone else directly affect the outcome of this incident? How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

38


Learn to do this on a regular basis, making it a habit to review positive incidents, and reviewing negative incidents only once or twice to evaluate objectively what you have learned and what you would do differently next time. The practice of doing this will increase your sense of self-efficacy (a psychological term to describe situation specific self-confidence). The more confident you feel about a situation, the more comfortable you can be with making an unforgettable impact.

Module 5 Watch Your (Body) Language

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

39


How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

40


The Importance Of Body Language

We spend the first few months of our lives communicating without words and the skill, to some extent, never leaves us. Fear, sadness, happiness, love and hatred are all emotions which we can express ourselves or detect in others through body language. People can send and receive body language from 4 main areas: Facial expression and eyes Arms and hands Legs and feet Torso positions and posture

Facial expression and eyes We receive most non-verbal signals from the face. Poker players develop the skill of hiding their feelings so that nothing is given away through their facial expressions and hence the term 'poker face'.

Arms, hands, legs and feet The general rule regarding arms, hands, legs and feet is that closed positions (crossed arms and legs), signal resistance and open positions signal receptivity.

Torso position The torso position can be the hardest to read because posture and seating can be personal and a matter of individual preference. Nevertheless with practice we can learn to read signals from the way someone sits or stands and thus develop a finer sense of communication with them.

Remember: Make sure your own body language is in tune with and reflects what you are saying verbally. Read the non verbal signals of the person with whom you are negotiating to ensure they are 'in tune' with their verbal communication.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

41


Matching and mis-matching The golden rule of body language is 'the closer you match the other person's body positions, without being overtly obvious, the more likely you will be to build rapport'.

Three reasons why our body language does not reflect what we are saying: We are experiencing an energy drain. Expressing ourselves through gestures requires extra energy and if we are tired, those gestures will appear tired in themselves. We are not concentrating on the communication of the moment. We can still deliver the words even when our mind is beginning to wander and this is a time when our body language can easily fall out of step with our words. The important thing is to concentrate all the time on making sure the connection works. We have developed bad communication habits. Imagine the smiling letch who leers forward with a tense smile and sneers 'why, I wouldn't hurt a fly...' - a good example of the facial expression not matching the true meaning behind the words. If we develop poor communication habits it is worth working on breaking those habits.

Reading someone else's body language Reading the body language of the person with whom you are negotiating is an important part of the process. For instance it can tell us whether the person is receptive, paying attention, losing interest or getting angry with our messages. Learning to read someone else's body language means we can adjust our approach to that person. Based on what we can learn about other people's moods we can temper our own words and actions accordingly. This is the secret of building good rapport with the person we are negotiating with. Complete shifts in body language can be more telling than isolated movements. They can signify that your opponent: Is talking about a sensitive issue. Is losing interest Needs a break or stretch Is turning off to your arguments Watch the body language, it can act as a traffic light. It can signal whether you can proceed, whether you need to be cautious and shift your own approach, or whether you need to stop, check understanding, check progress or even check whether the other person is still 'with you'.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

42


Some Body Language Indicators

Remember, the following are indicators only – no body language movement should be made in isolation. It is a combination of the voice and several body language ‘shifts’ that paint a better picture for you.

Anxiety  A stare, parted lips, finger on teeth. Depression  Sitting head down, shoulders bowed, hands between knees. Dominance A body confrontation, leaning towards the other party, jutted head or jaw, looking hard in the eyes. Hands on hips, pointed finger, firm lips.

Boredom  Head down, eyes semi-closed, lips set, head supported by hand. Thoughtfulness  Chin stroking, head scratching. Attentiveness  Still body, cocked head, looking intently at speaker. Shame  Drooped body, avoidance of eye contact. Sincerity  Straight gaze, seeking eye contact, hand on heart, restriction of blinking. Meeting Ritual  Wave, smile, eye contact, kiss. Refusal to Accept Something How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

43


 Covers then rubs the eyes. Disapproval  Brush specks off knee or pick lint from clothes, dry washing of hands. Suspicion  Narrowed eyelids. Indifference  Shrugged shoulders. Pleasure  Pupils widen, smile, relax. Surprise  Hand over mouth, open mouth. Joyful Surprise  Sudden opening of eyes. Submission  Bowed head, folded hands. A Negative Evaluation  Hooded eyes, fingers cradling nose, cross-leg over knee, hand on ankle. Protective  Arms clasped around body, adopting the foetal position. Fear  Frozen into immobility, alert eyes narrow, closed mouth, retracted head and body.

Anger  Closed fists. Disorientation or Conflict ‘Meaningless gestures’. (Hands playing with each other, gripping and squeezing each other, continuous irritable changes of position, scratching scalp or eye corners, scratching nose)

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

44


Module 6 Building rapport and trust

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

45


The Importance Of Building Rapport

Rapport is crucial in life; the connection between two people. The unspoken words that tell that person “we are on the same page”. The ability to develop genuine strong rapport with people will bring benefits to many areas of your work k (and life). Whether it’s getting to know a visitor quickly and personably, getting served faster at the bar or getting your way because someone likes your banter, you get so much more out of people who feel genuine rapport with you. When you develop the e skills to create powerful rapport with people, you can’t help but feel powerful. It’s like you can win anyone over and come out on top in any given professional or social situation. It truly is a great skill to have. Your aim should be to create rapport with everyone you interact with. There are no negatives from having strong rapport with a great many people. You will get the best out of people when you feel a strong connection with them (as soon as possible).

Activity: The Top Ten Of Creating Rapport In your allocated groups, you will be asked to take the set of Creating Effective Rapport Cards, Cards, and using flipchart/blue-tack, flipchart/blue select the top ten tips that your group decides on. On the flipchart, explain your reasons why and even group them together toge if you feel that is a more effective way to demonstrate your selection(s). Please now close your Workbook as the rapport-building rapport tips are provided on the following pages.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

46


Twenty Top Tips For Building Effective Rapport

1. Open Up To People Give something of yourself away; open up to people. Have you ever noticed how telling someone a secret and having them keep it safe makes you hold that person in high regard? I am not advocating telling everyone you meet your deepest darkest secrets; just use the principles. When you tell people something about yourself, (other than the usual, name, age, job etc.), it gives them a window into your personality; a chance to see some of the real you. You are sub-communicating communicating to them: “I am open open to you and it’s OK for you to open up to me.” You will often find that they will start to tell you things about their lives. You are already communicating on a deeper level than everyone else he or she may have met that day.

2. Use Appropriate Humour Use appropriate self-deprecating deprecating humour. Almost counter-intuitively, counter intuitively, the ability to laugh at yourself actually demonstrates a real strength of character. It is an Alpha trait to not care what other people think of you. The people you are talking to are not perfect either. They will find it easier to relate to a person who can laugh at themselves. Think about it, how hard is it to relate to someone who takes themselves extremely seriously and who will not allow anyone to make a joke at their expense? Be cool and professional though.

3. Talk To People At Their Level How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

47


Be mindful of their vocabulary and listen to what they give you (about their jobs, lifestyle etc.) that you can ‘latch’ onto. Within one minute of an interaction, you should know what type of person you am dealing with and therefore will adjust my diction and conversational threads accordingly. If you were talking to a visitor who’s filling in their car registration details, you might talk about how far they’ve travelled to drive to the building. If you were talking to a graduate interviewee, you may talk about the degree they’ve had and where they studied. This is all about positioning yourself at their level of intellect and engaging them in topics that they would have an interest discussing.

4. Empathy You should always try to see where the other person is coming from. Seeing things from their perspective is a very powerful skill to have when you are creating connections with people. Empathy is about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes while still staying in your own, but establishing a common and shared interest to communicate on at the reception area.

5. Give Genuine Opinions You should give your genuine opinions on topics and explain why. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to connect with a sycophant; someone who agrees with everything you say? There is no substance or depth there within which to build a meaningful connection. You will readily disagree with someone if you genuinely do not hold their point of view. You should always do this in a very respectful/ humble manner and let them know my reasons for your opinion.

6. Give Genuine Compliments Only where absolutely necessary, pay genuine compliments to people. If you notice something you like about a person, you should verbalise it to them. If, through your verbal interactions, you hear that someone has a strong sense of family values, comment on it and tell them you think it is a very good quality to have. If a guy has a tie or pen that you like, tell them.” Compliments are not supplication as long as they are genuine and delivered in the right way. Compliments are also a sign of inner strength; you will find that most people who are insecure find it hard to praise other people.

7. Show Them That You Are Multi-Dimensional This means constantly mixing it up from being “comedy Phil” to “serious Phil” to “deep and meaningful Phil.” Not only does this display a great depth of character, it also increases your chances of finding a connection with people. Some people just want to laugh; some are more interested in discussing the current global economic situation. By displaying a multi-dimensional character, you are increasing your chances of connecting with them all.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

48


8. Don’t Brag About Yourself Don’t brag about yourself; this comes across as tacky and will put people off; modesty is so much pertinent. Let your achievements come out through the course of natural conversation. People have the ability to praise themselves without making it look like they are bragging.

9. Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover Never judge anyone. Whenever you ask questions and find out about people, never judgemental with your responses. Someone who feels they are likely to be judged by a person is unlikely to truly open up to that person. It is very difficult to create rapport with a person who has kept their barriers up.

10. Rapport Is Interdependent With Trust The core element of building rapport is about being a good person. Over time, people will realise that they can trust you and this will lead to them opening up more to you. Note that some people take longer to open-up than others. Apply these rapport-building principles and every person will open-up quicker to you.

11. Shake Hands With Everyone Shake hands with everyone– It’s a tiny detail, but a handshake is symbolic of a connection between two people. When meeting someone or a group of people in the reception area, ask for their names and introduce yourself to each one of them with a firm (not limp) handshake.

12. Talk About What They Want To Talk About You should talk about topics they want to talk about. Most people like to talk about their interests and their lives; you should facilitate that conversation. If you are talking to a professional sportsman, you may ask him/her how his/her preparation is coming along for their next event, or you should talk about their sport in general. If you are talking to an Estate Agent, you should ask them about their jobs; the upsides and the downsides.

13. Be Direct Be direct with everyone you meet. People should always know where they stand with you and this is so much more conducive to building rapport than someone who never speaks his or her real mind. Being direct does not mean being rude, it just means being honest with your intentions.

14. Have Exemplary Manners You should have exemplary manners; they are very important. Not saying please and thank you and just having general poor manners is one of the most unattractive things a person can be. Basic manners cost absolutely nothing and they are a very How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

49


attractive quality.

15. Basic Common Sense Manners Asking people their names and introducing yourself. This is basic common sense manners and should not be forgotten. When you find out someone’s name and then introduce yourself, you will have started the rapport instantaneously.

16. Eye Contact Maintain good solid eye contact when you speak. If your eyes dart around the room, it will send the signal that you are nervous and this will make the person you are talking to nervous (not conducive to developing strong rapport).

17. The Power Of Your Voice Speak in a strong clear voice. As with eye contact, if you have a weak or hesitant voice, this will communicate that you are nervous; you will project these nerves onto others around you and you will make it harder to create a bond with others.

18. Laugh Out Loud Laugh loudly and freely. If someone says or does something very funny, do not sit there and try to look cool, laugh out loud. You should let others know that you have found their joke or comment funny.

19. Matching Language And Expressions Everyone has a selection of words and expressions that they use over and over again. Try to imitate and match their language and expressions (as long as they are appropriate and professional).

20. Taking An Interest And Remembering Previous Encounters Ask questions and really listen to what they tell you, which will help you should you meet them again. When you next see that person, you will have a much stronger connection with them as I will know more about their lives. “How did your exams go?” “What was it like in Thailand?” “Did you win the football?” You are using common sense principles to get to find out more about people and their lives and you are creating strong rapport with them in the process. Asking people to share their knowledge with you not only creates a connection with that person, but the help you receive may also help you in your life.

And finally…Master Vs. Remember How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

50


But don't just fill up your head with all these tips about rapport. We need to master it and not keep it in our head. Use it like a habit and not always think of what to do next in our thoughts. This will allow everyone to create rapport easily and naturally.

Master Vs. Remember Master: We practice it one by one until we don't need to remind ourselves to do it. We just do it naturally. Remember: We fill all the information in our head and stuck on what to do next. We can't really be clear what to do next but just recalling what we remember. Our advice. Pick just a few and practice them for some time until you perfect them. Then pick some more.

Building Trust - The Big Challenge A challenge for any business is how to build trust between people who may not know each other and rarely meet. There’s a big difference between the Trust Tax and the Trust Dividend (as per below):

The Trust Tax Low Trust = Low Speed + High Cost

The Trust Dividend High Trust = High Speed + Low Cost Which one of the above makes more sense for you?

Trust in the team‌ Is vital for any team to be successful Helps collaboration through the sharing of knowledge and experience Encourages people to be open and honest with each other Promotes new ideas, risk-taking and allows people to go beyond their comfort levels Is a way of developing co-operation Trust exists when people deliver their promises and commitments to team members, share information and demonstrate a level of competence. An initial meeting gives you the chance to start building relationships and trust. This is, however, the easy part: building on it and making it work from a distance are more demanding.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

51


Necessary behaviours The basis for trust comes from being: Clear about what has to be achieved Competent Skilled at communicating with each other Prepared to listen, telling the truth Reliable: meeting commitments and promises Calm at times of difficulty or crisis Positive even when things go wrong or faced with criticism Above all, trust comes from what you do over a period of time – the actions you take – and not simply from saying the right words. Trust takes a long time to develop, can be lost in a moment and should not be taken for granted.

Demonstrating trust as a role model You can show that you are trustworthy by: Being consistent in your behaviour to other team members Being seen to be fair Giving recognition when it’s deserved – not trying to take the credit for the work of others Anticipating problems and being proactive Respecting others and dealing with any conflicts you may have in private and not in public Being positive even when things go wrong. Mistakes will occur: acknowledge what happened, talk it through, learn and move on Not blaming technology for communication failures – virtual meetings are about people and relationships, not technology Being a good example for people to follow

Positive steps As already mentioned, developing trust is much more difficult if people have never met. If a meeting is not possible, try to set up a session using a combination of email, your team website and video conferencing to share personal details and interests In the early stages, put your efforts into getting to know each other socially, rather than focusing totally on work

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

52


Be prepared to raise the subject of ‘trust’ and what it means. Work at getting a common understanding As a team, the more involvement and input you have into what you do and how you do it, the greater will be the chances of trust developing

Treat each other with respect at all times: Be prepared to give people the opportunity to demonstrate that they can be trusted. Don’t make snap judgements about your colleagues Don’t hesitate, however, to speak to people who don’t keep their promises If you suspect a colleague is not being honest or is keeping information back, have a word with them in private If your agreed standards or rules aren’t working, then do something about them. They may need adjusting.

Swift Trust Researchers who have studied how trust develops suggest that it increases as people learn: The benefits to be gained from trusting each other and the penalties for not doing so Who to trust and the degree to which they can predict others’ behaviour

A lot of partnerships teams are, however, temporary in nature (e.g. construction projects, films/theatre, those dealing with accidents or disasters), with tight timescales in which to operate and achieve goals. Myerson, Weick and Kramer (Trust in organisations) have argued that a different form of trust is needed in these temporary teams – one that they called ‘swift trust’. The targets and timescales don’t allow the luxury of developing relationships over time. Members must move quickly to set goals and operate as if trust was already in place. Often, having to hit the ground running is enough to focus people’s attention on developing a way of working and learning to trust. In these situations where speed is critical, trust is developed by: Focusing on the goal and timescale How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

53


Placing emphasis on doing and involving, rather than relating to each other Concentrating on the task and/or process rather than on people Respecting people’s professional skills and specialisms (individuals don’t have to prove themselves to other team members) Sorting out problems and difficulties quickly and making decisions on the spot Having a competent leader who picks reliable people and makes sure that they have all they need to perform, thus avoiding arguments over resources – a sure sign of lack of trust

Trust - Fact or Fiction There are a number of debilitating myths that keep us from enjoying the dividends of high trust. Working with a partner, discuss which of these statements are the Facts and which are the Fictions

Fact or Fiction? 1.

2.

3.

Trust is a soft feeling and cannot be measured The impact of trust or its absence can be instant Only integrity can build trust

Fact or Fiction? Trust is hard, real and quantifiable Trust is slow to achieve and takes time to have an effect Trust is a function of character and

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

54


4. 5.

Trust can be created and destroyed Lost trust can be restored by joint effort

6.

The competences required for trust can be learned

7.

It’s too risky to trust people in business

8.

Trust is established one person at a time

confidence You either have trust or you don’t Once lost, trust cannot be regained You cannot teach trust, it’s just about the kind of person you are Not trusting people in business is a risky strategy Organisations can trust one another

Planning Your ‘Level’ Of Trust – The Trust Matrix In order to instil a feeling of trust with your customer, it takes a considerate and considerable effort to be effective and display smart trust, a concept popularised by Stephen Covey (as below).

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

55


The 21st Century Approach For Trust The Trust Matrix is an enabler towards providing a fresh new approach approach for building trusted relationships with others. For some, it’s the excitement of keeping pace with social networking and its impact on business and technology. For others, it’s the How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

56


dismal failures and disappointments associated with the “black hole” network where we learned that countless hopes and dreams can vanish into the void with a simple click of the SEND button. For some, it’s a subtle combination of the two. But regardless of the reason for joining, there are still certain aspects of membership that occasionally need to be re-examined so that we can all benefit from the inherent value each person brings to the group (whether they are ‘contractors’ or not). It’s time for us to remind ourselves that the heart and soul of networking is the building of connections, and that truly meaningful connections — relationships — are always built on trust. Trust is a kind of Rubik’s Cube that correlates the dimensions of character, competence, credibility, capabilities, integrity, and respect. For those who are serious about incorporating trust values and principles into their daily lives, there is perhaps no more important book than Covey’s “The Speed Of Trust” to read while spending some quality time with your favourite highlighter. The Trust Matrix is a way of thinking about the role each of us plays within an overall organisation and how our daily actions either help to build trust (creating trust equity) or wear it away (creating trust deficits).

Some Basic Assumptions To understand how the Trust Matrix works, let’s begin by laying out some fundamental assumptions about ourselves as a collection of individuals: • • • •

We all have different wants, needs, and desires (W/N/D). We are all at different stages in our personal career management or career transition journeys. We all have different personalities and therefore probably gravitate to different styles of networking. We all have different expectations for what the organisation can or will do for us.

An Individual Experience and a Shared Experience As we start to embrace the notion of being a valued cog in a giant wheel of friends and associates, we begin to realise that it’s no longer accurate to view our niche in the network as just a solitary, individual experience. Although we never lose our How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

57


individual identities, we are now, by definition, interconnected — and, for better or worse, interdependent too. Despite our individual differences, we now find ourselves pooled together in a Warm/Trusted Network made up of a large and diverse group of members. As such, we have some new responsibilities, both to ourselves and to each other.

How Do You Build Trust Equity? Your actions and behaviours carry a significant level of consequences simply because you are gradually becoming more and more involved in the lives of others. It’s very much like leaving a trail of trust transactions behind you wherever you go that’s visible not only to those with whom you interact directly but those who learn of your reputation by association. Without ever intending to do it, your interactions with others leave a kind of trust fingerprint that’s visible across the network so that others gradually learn how to measure your integrity, reliability, and willingness to reciprocate. Based on their assessments, they decide if you are worthy of their cooperation, respect — and, of course, trust. As you keep commitments, especially the tough ones requiring an often inconvenient expenditure of time and energy, word of your trustworthiness gets passed along the communication pathways of the network. Your trust profile can easily start to take on characteristics of world-class dimensions when you expend energy to help others and you do it consistently, reliably, and with unquestionable integrity. Beyond that, if you really want to ratchet up the trust accolades, do all of those things but be sure to do them with genuine humility. Recipients of such extraordinary treatment will probably line up at your doorstep — not to ask for favours, but to present opportunities.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

58


How Do You Lose Trust? It’s far easier to lose trust than to acquire it, but the truly bad news is that, while losing it occurs as a fleeting effortless moment, recapturing it — at least back to its original levels — can seem like climbing Mt. Everest with a backpack full of bowling balls. Let’s examine some broken trust scenarios to see how a few ill-considered actions cause substantial damage to an individual’s trust profile. As you read these items, try to keep the full irony of the situation in proper perspective: the bond of group responsibility pulls on all of us with equal force, yet in a moment of weakness, loss of composure, or a sudden and overpowering urge for the quick fix, we can suddenly lose sight of our niche and do severe damage to our trust equity, equity that may have taken months to build. We’re then forced to expend an inordinate amount of time and energy to recapture it, if that’s even possible.

1. Magic Bullet It is terribly easy in today’s age of information overload to fall victim to the allure of the magic bullet. This typically happens when someone, usually under great stress and perhaps otherwise well-intentioned, caves in to the pressure of finding the easy way out of a particular challenge. It usually takes the form of a careless phone call or e-mail message in which members clearly step out of bounds with regard to the core values of integrity, respect, responsibility, and compassion and can make them appear smug, aloof, brazen, presumptuous, self-absorbed – even imperious and condescending. Magic Bullet people have trouble accepting the fact that processes are in place for establishing good, solid connections. They become agitated, abrupt, and occasionally flat-out rude when they discover that these processes will not be circumvented just to fit their specific timetable. They also tend to forget that there’s another individual on the receiving end of the hostilities, and that the recipient will be completely justified in viewing the offensive behaviour as a breach of trust, especially if the use of procedural shortcuts seems to be part of a new and disturbing pattern. Worse, there are no internal rules preventing victims from sharing the unpleasant incident with other members, so gaining a reputation as a Magic Bullet person is tantamount to committing networking suicide.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

59


2. Entitlement Mentality This method of trust degradation occurs when someone chooses to remain stuck in the old, traditional “employee” mind set instead of gradually migrating to the new paradigm of being the CEO of his or her own business. Those who remain predisposed to wearing an “employee’s hat” have a strong tendency to feel entitled to receive a certain type of treatment, usually related to the preservation of stature they once held within a company’s organizational structure and having little to do with actual accomplishment or proven competence. True CEOs do not allow themselves to be perceived in this manner since a dependence on entitlements reveals weakness and an inability to take care of one’s own affairs. Those who abuse trust by indulging in the Entitlement Mentality often do so by making absurdly self-centred requests of others that, tragically for them, tend to have the effect of broadcasting their audacity — and their insecurities — all in the same breath.

3. Reciprocity Failure There are people out there who have a tough time with reciprocity. They just don’t get it. Although it’s not a complex principle and although it’s highly unlikely they don’t grasp it, they nevertheless have a great deal of trouble practicing it. Unfortunately, reciprocity is the transactional currency that members exchange in order to build trust and develop relationships. As relationships develop, we can’t use cash, credit cards, or PayPal to ensure their continued success. Networking currency is built on the trust standard, not the gold standard. Those who fail, especially in a team environment where the natural rhythm of giveand-take has already been adopted as the norm, quickly lose the respect and trust of others. They allow themselves to be branded as an unreliable, bankrupt link in the chain.

4. Deception or Hidden Agendas Deception and hidden agendas represent a special type of poison for relationships that have managed to build up moderate levels of trust equity over time. This behaviour mechanism is particularly insidious because those who become victimised justifiably feel a sense of betrayal once the deception is exposed. The response can range from bitter disappointment to undiluted outrage. Wilful deception is not a minor offense. In all of the ways in which trust can be damaged, How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

60


this is one that almost always provides the most difficult path back to restoration since it is rooted in a wilful disregard for the rights and feelings of others. Of course there are people who just have a difficult time expressing their intentions well, and they can certainly be forgiven and coaxed to improve their communications skills. Some just misstate an occasional fact or two, so no real harm is done. But for others, sorry to say, duplicity and deceit are hardwired into their genetic makeup and couldn’t be removed with a fleet of bulldozers. It’s worth pointing out that hidden agendas have a nasty habit of exposing themselves in the most embarrassing and inopportune ways. Those who deal in deception very often find themselves publicly humiliated when the truth eventually illuminates their dark side. Bottom line: Garbage in, garbage out.

5. Withholding Information, Communication Failure, Gossip Being a reliable conduit of good, dependable information is the mark of an esteemed trusted person. The flip side of this is wilfully engaging in the spreading of misinformation or information that is known to be suspect or questionable. The behaviour of regularly dealing in the spread of questionable information is gossip, and gossip plays fast and loose with the bonds of trust. Some researchers actually believe gossip in the workplace is a form of violence, an actual form of attack. This is because offenders often feel they must emote frequently, aggressively, and with no regard for diligent fact-checking. Workplace e-mail is one of their favourite weapons; ironically, it’s also one of their biggest trapdoors since more and more companies are adopting a zero-tolerance policy on using e-mail indiscriminately and irresponsibly.

6. Closed-Mindedness Although all of these trust-busting scenarios weaken or destroy bonds of trust between members, some are notable for their ability to cause genuine hurt and pain. Closed-Mindedness is not one of them. Closed-Mindedness is practiced by those who are totally and completely inflexible about certain matters and could not be encouraged to examine an opposing viewpoint if they were offered weekly shipments of gold bullion direct from Fort Knox. Their single-minded ‘exclusionist’ view precludes them from even considering alternatives and options. As a link in a ‘trust chain’, those who practice closed-mindedness cause a great deal of frustration and anger on the part of those who’ve just received the latest How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

61


tirade of inflexibility. What makes this an anger event instead of a pain event is that no one ever believes there can actually be people out there who are so rigid in their beliefs and averse to giving even minimal consideration to other points of view.

The questions that trigger the anger response go something like this: How can this person ever believe he/she will ever be taken seriously – about anything? With that level of inflexibility, how is it possible to conduct even the simplest business with them? If there is an unwillingness to budge from one’s point of view, ever, about anything, then why would I want to invest any trust in such a person? The answers, of course, should be quite obvious.

Conclusion Trust is one of the most important things that keep people bonded to each other in meaningful relationships. It is earned in small but continuous fragments, often over very long periods of time. Once built, it becomes the defining characteristic of almost all human relationships. Once lost, it can be extraordinarily difficult, though not impossible, to win back. A wise approach to networking must always involve paying careful attention to the hard work we must perform to earn the trust of others and the countless ways in which it can be squandered.

How To Appear And Sound More Confident In Business & Life

62

Clubber's Guide To Assertiveness & Self-Confidence  

A guide to assertiveness and self-confidence.

Clubber's Guide To Assertiveness & Self-Confidence  

A guide to assertiveness and self-confidence.

Advertisement