You cannot, not communicate so you cannot, not brand yourself
Read that again.
Every time we communicate, we are creating an impression
When you pick up the phone – it’s brand
When you attend a Zoom session – it’s brand
When you write an email – it’s brand
When you post a comment – it’s brand
When you write a blog – it’s brand!
How you speak to people, body language, behaviours and the written word are all creating an impression of the person you are, right or wrong, so it’s hugely important to ensure the message you are landing and the perception you are creating is the one you want to create
Women worry a lot about confidence and being confident or at least adopting the appearance of being confident but to sound positive, assertive and confident you need to speak and write that way.
The first thing is to slow down. Nerves make us speak quickly. Have you ever listened to a Barack Obama speech? He uses pace and the pause to its best effect, as a result he comes across as considered, wise and supremely at ease. Sure, he’s a masterful orator but he probably wasn’t always, this can be trained
Then there is the self-sabotaging language. Why do women use minimising language?
- We have a problem with self-advocacy and making our case, we want to appear confident but too confident!
- We don’t want to be seen as aggressive or pushy, so we overact into passive
- We think it’s more polite to be self-effacing
- WE don’t want to appear the expert, arrogant because heaven forbid someone might think we know what we are talking about
Decades of social engineering and being seen but not heard have created a dictionary of self-sabotaging phrases such as
Use of apologetic language: “Can I just say”, “I’m just checking” “Sorry to interrupt but”
Tagging is a form of self-affirmation where we use a question to check what we just said: “Does that make sense” “Right” If that’s something of interest?”
Deliberate softening: “I believe, I contribute”
Qualifying: In qualifying what we are about to say with a self-effacing phrase such as “I’m no expert but” “far be it from me to say” we are paving the way for saying something wrong, and removing all our credibility in the process
There’s a big difference between Aggressive and Assertive. Assertiveness is a good thing it makes you appear confident and gives you the appearance of authority, we should embrace assertiveness with open arms.
Becoming more self-aware, of what we say or write and how that comes across is half the battle. One way of doing this is to define the triggers; make a note of when you are about to speak or write something minimising and take a moment to reflect on why. It is possible to deconstruct the habit loop and look to replace the words which don’t serve you with those that do, this will rewire your brain.
There is a great Chrome and Outlook extension called Just Not Sorry which is free to upload and underlines minimising language in the written word, but in speaking you just have to mind your language
Mel Stanley, First Woman