1. Drop the Notes.
2. Increase Eye Contact.
3. Trim Your Agenda.
Most people can’t get away from speaking to other people in their business life. That fact multiplies by at least 1,000 when you are a strategic leader of any organization. Whether one-on-one, small or large groups or even media interviews, how you communicate verbally and with your physical presence really matters. Here are a few ways to instantly boost how you show up in all these settings. Use them to increase your influence in measurable and priceless ways.
DROP THE NOTES
If you know what you’re talking about, why do you need notes? And by this, I mean when you are introducing someone at an event or doing a team rah-rah at your annual company-wide conference, for example. Certainly, if you have a keynote speech or serious client content to communicate, a sheet with a few bullets or notes won’t cramp your style. For short duration remarks, kill the notes. True for men and women, but women should really take note. This is one area where the playing field is not equal. When women show up with notes, the immediate sub-textual message could read, “she doesn’t really know her stuff.”
INCREASE EYE CONTACT
There’s a reason why witnesses in court lose major credibility if they have shifty eyes when they take the stand or can’t seem to look the attorney or jury in the eye. Without staring down the people you want to influence, holding your own and not being afraid to intentionally use eye contact will only help your brand. Growing a presence that includes great eye contact also boosts the overall reputation and day-to-day mechanisms of your organization. When leaders use and model strong eye contact, the sub textual message reads as transparency and cements how this type of behavior is expected from others in your work environment.
TRIM YOUR AGENDA
Less is more. I say this often to clients and people I mentor in nearly all settings. If you know you have 60 minutes for a meeting, avoid packing your agenda with 60 minutes of content. Leave breathing room for your colleagues and clients to engage with you and others. You will likely get more done when fewer words fill your PowerPoint and your meeting agenda. Less is more also applies to phone messages and emails. Trimming helps you up your influence as people come to learn every word will count.