Running my business is an enthralling endeavour, for all sorts of reasons. Some may think I’m slightly odd in that one of the reasons I love running group workshops (where most of the time people have not chosen to attend) is that I get a buzz from never knowing what I might be asked. Whilst similar questions do come up such as, ‘How do I increase my presence in a meeting?’, ‘How do I respond to x feedback?’ and ‘Why should what we look like affect others’ perceptions of us?’, there is always space for a new one and I frequently get one – buzz achieved!
People’s responses to the whole area of the impact we have on others and professional relationship building are fascinating. Some are very resistant to appreciating that personal impact in the form of how we communicate ourselves visually and verbally (by our voice) should matter. They are firmly in the camp of only what we say and action matter. However, they are just one of 4 reactions I get from people in my psychology of impact workshops. The typical initial different reactions are:
· ‘I know it matters and I consciously think about it’ – this group have clearly seen that others’ personal impact affects how they react to them, so they understand they need to focus on their own personal impact. So for this group, I am ‘preaching to the converted’ and building on existing thought and action.
· ‘I know it matters but don’t really know what to consider’ – like the first group this group understands it matters but just haven’t worked out what it means for them and what they need to consider, so equipping them with things to consider and some key steps they can take are the focus.
· ‘I have never thought about this topic’ – for the most part this group come to see the significance of how and why our impact affects our professional relationships and success, so the focus is on building awareness of the in-depth how and why, as well as what makes the difference.
· ‘I have heard it matters but really don’t believe it’ – many in this group often come to see why and how personal impact matters when they realise how they react to different people and how they makes choices e.g. who to talk to at a networking event where they know nobody. However, there will always be a few that continue to believe that personal impact doesn’t matter. What I really think this means though is that it shouldn’t matter, and of course in some regards the world may be a more pleasant place if it didn’t! Reality and ideals are different though.
Which ‘camp’ do you fall into? Perhaps you can see another one? It’s perhaps relevant to finish on a very brief explanation of why it does matter, it comes from the basic human instinct ‘do I trust this person not to attack me?’, that is why we come to a quick judgement/first impression of others.
Joanna Gaudoin runs Inside Out Image, working with professional people on all aspects of the impact they have on others in different work scenarios, as well as relationship building and strengthening skills. Professional success for both organisations and individuals is about so much more than experience and knowledge, Joanna works with individuals and groups to help them be the best they can be at work, considering others’ perceptions and personal confidence too. If there is something you’d like to discuss, email Joanna for a no obligation conversation or sign-up for her 6-part ‘Boost Your Personal Impact Guide’ below:
Image courtesy of freeimages.com/SvilenMilev