PAUSE - the silent opportunity of connecting with your audience
December 1, 2014
Women's March to Freedom
March 8, 2017
Does the impression you make create a positive impact?
January 1, 2014
Successful communication creates powerful relationships and business opportunities. Experts say that it takes no more than 30 seconds to make that first impression. So when communicating for the first time with someone at a social or a networking event, in a meeting or during a presentation, this first impression will be the primary factor that decides whether someone wants to build a relationship with you or not. One study suggests it takes eight pieces of positive information to counteract a negative one. If you get off on the wrong foot, you are likely to find it a challenge to recover after that. So, what are first impressions primarily based on?
The first and most immediate thing that others see when they meet you is your appearance. Despite the saying - ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover' - how you appear and what you wear does have an impact. Why? Because it makes an outward statement about you. This statement will be evaluated according to the role you play, the event you are at and the context you are in. So while dressing in shorts and T-shirt for a high corporate event will definitely create an impact, it most likely won’t be a positive one. The question is, do you wear clothes that make you disappear, get you noticed or express who you are within that social or business context?
2) Body language
The second is your body language. You may not be aware of this but you are constantly sending out ‘silent messages’ by the way you sit, stand, gesture, move or shake hands. Others will unconsciously observe this and make judgements about you based on these signals. Over half of how you communicate comes from your body language which is why it is so important to be aware of what signals you are sending out. Do you tend to withdraw by slouching, folding your arms tightly across your chest, losing eye contact or turning your body away from others? Or do you find yourself taking up more space than you need, expressing yourself with large gestures and notice others withdrawing from you? Having a powerful physical presence involves owning your full height and posture, staying grounded in your feet and being comfortable in your own skin. It is from this place that you will you truly connect and influence others - rather than impress or impose yourself on them.
Did you know that your voice is as unique as your thumbprint? It is this distinctiveness when fully owned that makes you stand out and leaves that powerful, memorable impact. While men have the tendency to speak from the bottom half of their range, losing the variety and energy in their voices - women tend to speak from the higher pitches of their range, using lighter and softer tones. This is largely due to social conditioning and a perception of what the male and female voice should sound like. Very few women feel comfortable stepping into their vocal power unless they have been encouraged to do so or where their roles require this. It was not by chance that Margaret Thatcher lowered her voice to gain the gravitas and authority needed to be taken seriously by her male cabinet ministers. The higher the pitch, the less impact you will have. Getting in touch with your centre sound will connect you to the warmer, deeper tones in your voice that exude calm, confidence and strength. We are creating an impression all the time, whether it be sitting quietly in the corner or speaking gregariously to a large group of people. The question is what kind of impression are you creating? Is it enabling you to build powerful relationships and gain the business opportunities and success you deserve?