In business many professionals will try to use the power of words to undermine you in order to feel superior – the ‘Status Game’ is very hard to escape from throughout your career. Therefore, you NEED to know how to play the game effectivity to earn respect in the workplace. Presentation coach Simon de Cintra, author of Unlock Your Business Voice: How to Sound As Good As You Think, reveals his best advice to achieving an equal playing field through adapting your communication style.
“My Business VOICE Methodology” is a practical five step process designed to help you assert your authority in the workplace. In business, the days of all sizzle and no substance are definitely on the ropes. The fastest growing businesses are high tech, and whichever way you look at it, the age of the Expert Introvert is now truly upon us. Giving you an empowered business voice will help you move forward and ensure your expertise and creativity is respected and utilised.
Step one: Vocation
Being an expert in your own head is actually not as important as being understood by colleagues. Having the ability to persuade others with endless expertise is not going to earn you authority – it is an important factor but should not be your sole aim when communicating. You need to prioritise the information most relevant to whoever you are speaking to, ensure you are easy to listen to and be on standby for any questions they may have. Projecting the right status for you, given the specific situation, and the other people involved, Is exactly the right place to start.
Step two: Observe
Throughout our lifetime we learn mostly through observation and the workplace is no different. We can learn many hints from watching other colleagues playing the Status Game that we can apply to ourselves to earn that much needed authority and prevent any patronisation.
Step three: Intention
For a conversation to be on a level playing field, the intention of your message needs to be crystal clear. If you have not clearly addressed your intention within your message respect will not be earned as your colleagues tune out from what you are trying to say. Essentially, neglecting the meaning behind the message you are delivering can be detrimental to your authority, this includes nonverbal communication which also needs to have the right intention. Your body language, facial expressions and tone need to match your desired message to prevent any confusion. A simple smile can trigger an early connection with your listener that you can build authority on.
Step four: Casting
Everyone has their own communication style, trying to copy someone else will likely lead to failure and look inauthentic to your audience. Instead, rejoice in what you get for free, be your ‘best self’ especially in terms of your natural communication style. It is exactly why people already like interacting with you. Having a clear appreciation of what others value in how you come across to them is vital to unlocking your business voice because it will feed your confidence in difficult situations. I know from working with hundreds of clients over the years, that the most common reason for them getting tongue tied, and therefore locked and blocked at work, is underestimating what they already have at their disposal. Far from limiting your opportunities, knowing and appreciating the limits of your natural casting (how others see you) will give you the security and freedom to push the boundaries and make more of an impact.
Step five: Experiment
Be safe not sorry by experimenting with your communication! You have probably heard the maxim about regretting most what we do not try rather than what we do. I subscribe to this belief, and would add that we are much more likely to push your boundaries if we have invested some time on self self-research and rehearsal in a safe environment. Practising your delivery without any fear of failure will you help you improve. Experimenting with how you communicate is time well spent, because it will enable you to grow professionally and in confidence throughout the rest of your career. In other words, career progression is less about relying on knowing more than your peers and more about developing executive gravitas through your vocal presence on the business stage. However, let me clarify that not all the world (of business) is in fact a stage. Otherwise, we would be rehearsing every meeting, every call and every email, and we certainly do not have time for that. What will work much better is to lean in and make a choice about the next meeting, call or presentation that is important enough to spend your time on rehearsing.
Any quest in life is not about avoiding getting lost, it is much more about noticing when you do get lost and making small corrections to steer yourself back on course. Even retracing your steps and starting from a secure point is better than carrying on regardless. In short, you do not need to make radical changes to unlock your business voice and earn authority; but you do need to believe that practice and persevering with real situations will get you there eventually.