An important meeting is about to begin. Decisions must be made and action plans developed so that the project can move forward. The room quiets and everyone looks expectantly at you.
You’ve done weeks of research; compiled meaningful statistics, and you understand how the project will benefit the organization. Great.
Everything hinges on what happens next.
Do your words, body language and appearance give the decision makers in the room reason to believe that the project is in good hands? Do you make it easy for them to confidently follow your lead? Or are you unconsciously sending out signals that undermine your message?
Before you quickly say, of course not, consider …
- Do you exude calm confidence? Crises are inevitable. When things go bad, strive to be remembered as the calm person in the room. Women are often stereotyped as being overly emotional, so keeping calm is even more important for us.
- Are you positive? Attitude is everything. You make a choice to have a good attitude or a bad attitude. Your choice will affect your professionalism, your colleagues’ work environment and your career development. Having a bad attitude about a situation you can’t or won’t change wastes your energy and negatively impacts your emotional health.
- Do you lose your temper? You simply can’t get away with throwing a tantrum or yelling at someone and come away with your reputation unscathed.
- Does your appearance fit your message? After the meeting do people spend more time talking about what you were wearing than what you said? Your outfit may be stunning, but unless you’re selling fashion design, make sure it isn’t the only thing that people remember.
- Sit up straight. Mom was right.
- Don’t chew gum (or your nails). Your 5th grade teacher was right.
- Don’t complain excessively. Change your situation or accept it.
- Be respectful and keep an open mind. Show respect for the opinions of others, whether or not you agree. As for agreement, keep an open mind. After consideration you may find that an idea has more merit than you first thought.
- Be approachable. Smile sincerely and maintain a sense of humor. However, keep jokes and witty quips to a minimum. Your colleagues may enjoy an evening at a comedy club, but they don’t want Carrot Top leading their business.
- Respect others time. Be on time, start on time, and do your best to end on time.
Not sure how you’re coming across? Follow the lead of many successful companies, do market research. Ask questions, observe other successful leaders, read, attend seminars, and keep seeking ways to continuously improve.