Everything about you communicates, you cannot conceal what goes on inside.
If you are harbouring anger or resentment, joy or anxiety, or a curious concoction of these and other emotions, you communicate it to the world. In poker, where your opponents are scanning and studying you deeply, they would say it’s your ‘tell’. In your everyday life, where, as a leader the focus on you may be almost as intense, your ‘tells’ are detectable. And they may be blurring your message or even confusing your audience.
Think of a time when you have needed to deliver something such as an upbeat ‘we can do it’ speech, when perhaps in the same moment you are racked with inner self-doubt, sadness or turmoil and you’ll know the challenge.
As a leader, not every occasion is as clear and distinct as that example. Most of your messaging will be in the middle, both you and they won’t consciously detect the signs, but your message will not have the impact you intend, as your underlying attitude grins through.
What is inside affects your physicality (your tensions & posture, your pace); your vocabulary (the lexicon that your brain will access); and your triggers (a word or sight may trigger a thought run).
It takes a disproportionate amount of energy to communicate a message that is disconnected from what’s going on inside.
You are a wonderful human, but changing your thoughts and the corresponding emotional range is not as simple as a single flicked switch. And yet, here is a Simple Note 3-Step! A set of three switches to sharpen your impact and get you communicating authentically and with integrity:
1. Chill – relax; specifically your face, neck and back muscles. Breathe slowly and deliberately a few times - a lung-full in; hold briefly; and a full exhale.
This step begins to unravel the body’s tension response to your angst and the accumulated effect of carrying that emotion for a while.
2. Return – be here now, come back from wherever your thoughts are dragging you. Notice 5 things around you, sounds, sights, smells, appreciate them for what they are.
This is a mindfulness step, returning you to this moment (the only one there is!).
3. Smile – and hold that smile for at least 10 seconds.
This step jolts the brain, which at first may try to defy the suggested change of attitude, and shift and balance your mood.
And if you are carrying an inner set of emotions that are still communicating loudly after this 3-Step:
Be Honest. Be Humble. Be Distinct.
Share with your audience your inner emotions, accept that it may impair your message. Consciously and deliberately separate the two and give yourself permission to get back on message.
Keep it simple.
P. S. I am hosting an online book club with LID Business Book Club over the next 2 weeks, talking about "The Keep It Simple Book". Join us in discussions there, or join me live at The Glove Factory on Friday 1st December where I will be delivering my third annual Rooster Talk.