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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Communicate your way to Success

Do you want to know the secret sauce that can improve your career? Communication. If you do it well, you have a chance to make an impact that will help propel you to success. Feeling nervous is normal, and Kristi Hedges has shared the secret of how to deal with it. (See graphic.)

She is a Senior Leadership Coach and Author of 'The Power of Presence' and she has done extensive research to come up with these five criteria that makes for a compelling communicator.

1. Presence: She suggests this is the basis for everything. It should also come from within and not be a "superficial fix". Kristi says this quality is when a person is able to connect with others and inspire them. It's not about assertiveness or charisma. There is no point in showing up pretending to be someone else because no one can sustain that and people can see through it. So to make sure your presence is all about 'You', it has to be intentional, individual, and inspirational.
You could ask these three questions and pay attention to the answers you get:
- What do I want my presence to convey?
- How do I want people to feel?
- How do I need to show up as a messenger?

2. Buy-in: You need to work with a team/s and to do this, you'll need cooperation from everyone. The usual approach to get people on board is describe the project and demand they help. Kristi calls this the 'describe and demand' tactic. The better one is what she calls the 'Dial in' approach.

This tactic works when you take your idea out to people when it's not "fully baked". You describe it and then invite comments on it. Then acknowledge their feedback and then leverage that to fine-tune your own original idea.

3. Executive Briefing Skills: This is about presenting ideas confidently to senior management. Kristi suggests some good ways to get good at this skill. (See the graphic.) Also check out the webinar to see her suggestions on how to handle a difficult Q&A session, if they come up, at the end of a presentation.

She suggests asking the other participants if they feel the same way about a question that has been asked. So throw the question open to the audience. Another way to handle this, is to ask for time and people usually give it to you, when you are discussing new ideas/proposals anyway.

4. Virtual Presence: There are a lot of teams that now work virtually. And this is where issues pertaining to working 'virtually' becomes important. So to get people moving and pumped about what is expected from them, on those boring conference calls, (where most people are likely to be napping rather than engaging with others), you need to bring in energy, humour, and some improvisation to this. Also, keeping a lone ranger handy, to ask all the unwanted or unasked questions will help.

5. Feedback: You need to ask for it and give it. Though many companies are moving to asking for this "in-the-moment" and in a "proactive" manner, rather than a hindsight version of it.

So if you want to give and/or get good, workable feedback, Kristi suggests that you can go with giving constructive feedback. Or don't give any at all. It should also be given with positive intent. She emphasized that the quality of the feedback (whether receiving or giving it) depends on a person's presence.

Yes..it truly begins and ends with You.

Graphics are from the webinar. Click here to watch it: Communicate your Way to Success

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