I read this book a while back and have been meaning to write about it. I found it contained some interesting points, especially on being intentional (and comparing your actual impact with what you were aiming for) and working appropriately with different communication styles/personalities.
Here’s my favourite parts:
- “The reality is, we all have a gap between our intention, our action, and our actual impact. To have gravitas, be clear about your convictions (what really matters in a given situation), be clear about your intention (how you want to show up and impact the situation and the people in it), be disciplined in checking that your impact is lining up with your intention (through your own observations and seeking feedback), and be committed to continually adapting your style.”
- “On being intentional, ask yourself, What footprint do I want to leave very day? How would I want other people to describe me?“
- “People who are regarded as having high levels of authentic gravitas may look confident, but actually they are choose to be courageous.” “They feel fear and do it anyway. They choose courage.”
- Ask more open questions in meetings to find out what is actually driving the other person’s thinking and decision-making. Eg, “What are you excited about right now”, “What’s your biggest concern?”, “What matters most to you at the moment?”, “How do you feel about what’s happening?”, “What is the main thing stopping you from making progress?”, “What are the forces at play in this issue?”.
- If people ask for help, give them your full attention or ask them to come back later. Eg, “Yes, I’ve got 10 minutes – will that work?” “Or we can have a longer chat later today at 2pm?”
- Script the opening of a talk carefully to engage and hold the room – verbally and nonverbally – from the outset before rushing into the details. Eg, open with “Thank you Angela. [pause] Good morning, all. It’s great to have you with us today. It’s a critical time in our industry. We’re currently facing uncertain market conditions, unexpected legislative changes and rapid technological development. Navigating this environment seems more challenging than ever. I’d like to share with you…”. Script the finish also. The middle can be looser. Telling personal stories helps connect with the audience.
- IMPACT preparation for a meeting: What do you believe about this situation/possibility? What do you want them (the people you engage with) to think, feel and potentially act differently as a result of this encounter with you? What is motivating them (acquire, bond, comprehend, or defend)? What is their perception of this situation and of you right now (and what do you want it to be)? If nothing else, what would you want them to remember and pass on (max 3)? How should you open and close? What stories would be relevant and support your message? And finally, think about your technique.
- Avoid the “face freeze”: Put your hands into fists and roll your knuckles in circles around and around in your cheeks. It loosens your face and you become more conscious of your facial muscles, enabling you to feel the tension in them and make the choice to relax them.
- Even if people don’t give you positive non-verbal/verbal affirmation, “Choose to give everyone equal energy and attention.. [remember they have a gap between intention and impact too]”. With big audience, look at a back corner of the room and slowly use your eyes to follow an “S” pattern down through the group to the front row. After a minute, go back up to the opposite corner and find down again following an inverted “S”. In a small meeting, be mindful from the outset of your decision to give everyone eye contact.
- Opportunity mind-set rather than a threat mind-set. You’re most likely nervous because this situation matters. And it matters because it’s an opportunity that could lead to positive outcomes. Don’t get anxious, get excited!
- “When working with people who tend to be optimistic and big-picture oriented, it’s important to respond with energy if they are sharing an idea. Explain why you like the ideas (be authentic and only communicate what you genuinely feel positively about), or comment on how much work they’ve clearly put into it, or the interesting nature of the project or topic. And share that with energy.. not over the top.. but at least some energy.” Immediately critiquing a new idea will deflate them and close their ears. Instead, after initial positively, ask something like “Would it help if I went through the technical details and came up with a list of things for us to look at? I want to make sure it’s all smooth when you take it to market.”
- Prepare a short causal response to the “How are you?” type question in case of casual coffee machine conversations at work. Eg, “Oh, hi Chip. I’m well thanks. We’re busy with a new project around sustainability. We think this can really drive some positive change. We’re seeing a lot of interest from clients. How are things with you?”. Make brief encounters matter.
- Remember the wide variety of influencing techniques available: rational persuasion, legitimating (because X says so), favours and exchange (Can I ask you a favour?), inspirational appeals (emotions and values), ingratiation (I don’t how to do it!! reply: I know you can. You you’ll be good at this because [reasons why]) and consulting (ask their help/feedback to increase buy-in).