All managers need to communicate their messages clearly. But the effect you have depends on a range of factors. Here are tips and techniques on how to hit the right spot and leave a positive lasting impression.
Whether you are in a meeting giving a presentation working in the office or even working from home communicating via phone or email you need to be aware of the effect you are having. It takes just 40 seconds for you to create an impression on someone so you need to make sure it is a good one.
The whole area of impact is complex. It involves your inner confidence and motivation your body language dress voice tone and projection and even your writing style and telephone manner. You also have to adapt your style and approach to your audience. Making an impact at a conference requires a different approach to making an impact at a team meeting.
The tips below will help you to think about the effect you have and to make the most out of the potential impact opportunities you come across.
The first stage is to think about yourself. What are your strengths? How would others describe you? What motivates and inspires you? What do you value about yourself? How do you want others to see you? Answering these questions is a good starting point. Real presence and impact involves being consistent at all levels. Once you have an idea of what you want to project you will have more chance of communicating it successfully to others.
Visualisation is an excellent technique to prepare for making a positive impact. Just close your eyes and think about the situation you are preparing for. Imagine it is going well. What are you doing saying feeling? What facial expressions are you using? How are others responding? Imagine you are coming to the end of the event and it has been a success. What are people saying to each other? How are they reacting? This exercise not only has the effect of putting you in a positive frame of mind but also helps you to plan for success.
Body language posture and gestures
Your physical presence has a fundamental influence on the impact you make. Your confidence or lack of it will leak out and affect the impression you create. So make sure you are physically relaxed and at ease. Think about your posture. A good posture can make you appear taller and slimmer. It will also reduce tension back pain and headaches. Ensure the gestures you make are fluid and definite. Try to get feedback from others as we are often not aware of the things we do that reduce our impact.
An important aspect of impact is managing your facial expressions and eye contact. If you are presenting to a large audience try to scan the room so that everyone has a sense of connection with you. When greeting people or making a point in a discussion always make clear eye contact as it shows your commitment and demonstrates interest.
Make the most of your voice
Your voice is another important tool in the quest for creating impact. Think about the pace you speak at and the tone projection intonation and words you use. Try to vary your pace to add colour and emphasis to what you are saying. Finally think about the words you use. Are they sure and definite? Do they demonstrate enthusiasm and do they reflect the culture of the organisation?
This might sound strange but the way you breathe has a dramatic effect on impact. If people are nervous or stressed their breathing becomes faster and shallower. This in turns affects the quality of their voice and increases their anxiety. The ideal way to breathe is from the diaphragm. A good exercise is to put your hands on your stomach breathe in through your nose and feel your stomach expand. Slow the pace of your breathing and gradually you will notice that your whole body starts to relax and your voice quality pitch and projection improves.
Using the space around you and creating a sense of space will enhance your presence. If you are presenting ‘take the stage’. Look out to the audience and use your arms and hands in a confident manner. It’s good to move and change your body position as this will create energy. If you want to create a closer relationship with your audience move forward. If you want to create a sense of authority keep a little distance. The same rules apply in meetings. You will have more impact if you create some space at the table and if you have good eye contact with the chair and others in the room. Arriving late and taking the seat at the end of the table won’t help your impact.
Good rapport can contribute to creating the right impression as it helps to create an atmosphere of trust and openness. To create rapport with your audience you need to consider your dress body language pace and language and match them to that of the audience.
Build your personal brand
All the tips and techniques so far require that you stay true to yourself. People who create a lasting impact have a clear set of values. They know what they stand for and communicate that in everything they do. So spend a bit of time thinking about your ‘brand’. What do you stand for? What is important to you? How do you demonstrate this to others?
Start and finish on a memorable note
Finally remember that creating impact in any situation involves starting and finishing on a memorable note. Research shows that we remember the first and last pieces of information we hear and see so whether you are preparing for a presentation or a meeting think about the beginning and the ending. Your personal presence is the experience people have of you and the memory they will take away.