Blind spots, we hear about them in the context of driving but have you considered your personal blind spots?
We all have them! It’s impossible to see ourselves exactly as others see us; even when filmed, it’s difficult to capture everything about ourselves including visual aspects and behavioural nuances from the perspective of others (and that’s without their interpretation and assumptions!).
Of course, there are personality blind spots too, as we come from our own perspective, as much as we may try to see things from others’ perspectives!
So with reference to what we communicate about ourselves, it’s difficult to have a perspective on the whole package.
I work with many senior clients who despite their years of experience and all they have achieved, have a blind spot or four… It might be about the language they use, an aspect of body language or how they use their voice. Even the tiniest thing may get noticed by others and be inappropriate or a distraction. Of course, you can never please everybody and nor should you try, but it’s important to think about what you are communicating. It is important to be yourself but to avoid anything that distracts from the key things you want your audience to focus on.
Here are 3 ‘blind spot’ examples to help get you thinking:
My client is a senior professional who worked with me on her ‘Impact at Interview’, as she was looking to move companies and take a step up. Let’s call her Jane. We started our first session together with a mock interview. One of the key things I noticed was that when going to answer a question, she did 3 things:
- She started to answer before I’d finished the question. Problem – this doesn’t demonstrate listening – a necessary behaviour, particularly with regard to a senior person.
- She sometimes ‘bashed’ the table with enthusiasm when answering a question. Problem – whilst enthusiasm is important, do make sure it’s not too over the top and is not at the same level all the time. Think carefully of questions that require more or less enthusiasm. If every question is answered that way, it diminishes credibility and will appear less genuine. It’s also worth thinking about whether table bashing (or whatever it might be!) is the right way to show enthusiasm!
- She answered every question with “absolutely” at the start. Problem: regularly repeated phrases are meaningless, as they are just a habit. Also, by the nature of the word, it’s not an answer to a question but a statement of agreement!
Jane had no idea she did these things. My first objective was to raise her awareness of what needed work (as well as work on what she felt less confident about as that influences the external), educate her regarding ways to overcome the different aspects which were relevant for her and then for us to practise the alternatives.
She’s a great candidate for a senior role so this work was all about her getting attention for the right reasons, building rapport and focusing the interviewer on her great knowledge and experience.
As one of my male clients said recently, “On our own, we just can’t be sure all that we are communicating, through even small gestures.”
So what could you be communicating that you’re unaware of? Is it that ear scratch that communicates your anxiety in a difficult meeting? Do you speed up when introducing yourself and repeating an often used spiel at networking?
It doesn’t matter what it is, I can help you work on it and give you tips and tricks to replace it with something more positive, to make sure you can be the most positive, confident version of yourself and that your audience is engaged in the key points that you want to communicate to them.
If your focus is a new role like Jane’s then you can receive my free top tips for‘Impact at Interview’ by email, just click here. If you’d like to discuss anything, just send me an email.
Image courtesy of: freeimages.com/v a