In today’s highly competitive business environment, every inch of credibility that your project matters to help you gain that advantage over your colleagues and competitors. Research has proven that higher the credibility quotient an executive displays more are his chances of getting a promotion. However, there are number of things about you that you are totally unaware of which is contributing to your bad credibility! Many of them are what executive coaches call as blind spots- areas that you don’t even know you have them. If that is the case, how do you identify them and get rid of them? Many of them could be totally unintentional and you could be oblivious about them but the point is, if others notice them and if they are contributing to being detrimental to your credibility, you need to identify them and get rid of or change them.
So how do you go about identifying these business blind spots? The best way is to ask a colleague or a junior to video record you during a staff briefing or a business presentation. As an executive coach, I video record my business clients using a smartphone that captures a video effortlessly. Then I playback the same and do a post-mortem analysis of every bit of what the client did with a figurative magnifying glass. Let’s now look at what to look for and how to correct them. There are 3 most common blind spots that many business executives have in a professional setting.
Typical gestures that a credible leader avoids is moving his weight from one foot to the other, scratching his hair or chin, smoothing back of his hair or fiddling with the pen or any other form of fidgeting. Similarly, try not to cross your arms or play with any jewellery or attire. This takes the attention away from your face and people get easily distracted. When you are composed and your actions are only used to emphasis a point, you come across as a credible leader. Similarly when you stand behind the lectern, cross your legs, put your face down, constantly look at your notes- you unconsciously present a picture of feeling threatened, afraid, and someone who lacks credibility. You need to pull yourself together and adopt a posture that says you are confident. Hold your head high, plant your feet slightly apart, and address the stake holders confidently.
Using superfluous words and movements seem to head the list especially among business leaders. If you are continuously interjecting words in the middle of your sentences like ‘er’, ‘uh’, ‘well’, ‘hmmm’, ‘like I said’, ‘really’ or ‘you know’, then your communication is not flowing smoothly. You need to let your sentences be crisp and flow without any fillers. This is important if you want to get your audience’s attention and influence them. Remember that when you stuff your presentation or business pitch with fillers, it’s hard for the content to come through and dampens the passion that should be a part of every presentation you believe in.
If you make a mistake or a slip of tongue, take it as a blessing! Surprisingly, your stakeholders would love to see the human touch in you. In fact, many global leaders intentionally make mistakes or bloopers to appear more vulnerable and in the bargain become more likeable among their teams or audiences. Either apologize and move on to the next point or make a self-deprecating joke about yourself to bring an element of humor in your business presentation or meeting. The trouble is, we tend to be harder on ourselves and the mistakes we make instead placing more attention on our audience’s need. This undue attention on ourselves makes us over-react to a mistake which could be totally unwarranted.
Executive Coaching, Mumbai-London