She had been in the same job for eight years and had been passed over for a promotion three times. The third time really shocked her because she was far more qualified and had more experience than the person they promoted. Her boss explained his choice only by saying, “People don’t think you know what you’re talking about.”
She had no idea why that was the case, or what she could do to resolve the issue, until she was in our workshop. While working with her partner on a practice sales pitch, her partner let her know that most of her sentences ended with her voice going higher.
Instead of giving her team commands or stating her opinion, it sounded like she was asking a question.
To be a leader, you have to sound confident, assured, and leave others feeling secure in your abilities. If it always sounds like you’re asking for reassurance, those around you will question whether you know what you’re doing.
1. How You Say Things is just one thing that could be dramatically reducing your credibility on the job.
To test if your vocal tone is impacting your message, catch if you’re using too many filler words or if you’re speaking too slow or too fast, record your side of a business conversation and listen carefully and critically to your delivery afterwards.
If you just groaned at the thought of recording yourself speaking, I get it. Listening to your own voice can be pretty painful.
But, your voice could be costing you money and promotions!
Listening to your side of a business call is the best way to find out if you have any of those other potential voice issues that are making it hard for you to influence others. And, if you’re not sure, ask a trusted colleague to help you consider what you might need to do to come across with more authority and confidence when you speak.
2. Who You’re Hanging Out With
Trust is highly transferable. You will trust the associates of someone you already hold in high regard. The reverse is also true. Associate with people who are lazy or shady, and the same traits will be applied to you.
If you want to be seen as a high achiever – hang out with the high achievers in your company and your industry. If you want to be a leader, you need to be seen spending time with the other leaders.
It’s also critical to have mentors and relationships with people at different levels in the organization and in different companies in your industry. This will ensure your name is known to more than just your friends at work, and it will provide you with a wide array of perspectives about the business you’re in, which will inevitably will help you create the career you want.
Headhunters call people who are referred and recommended. That only happens when people know who you are …
We’ve already talked about how hanging out with the right person can make you happier, healthier, and wealthier. But also keep in mind that hanging out with a particular person can quickly affect other people’s opinion of you, either positively or negatively. When you walk in a room, who you’re with matters. It’s time to start thinking about that.
3. Do You Bring Problems or Solutions?
This is really about thinking your way to success.
Your approach to life and business will either positively or negatively impact how those who work with you see you.
If you constantly spots potential problems in the company plans, how you present these problems will make all the difference in whether you’re seen as an asset, or an annoyance.
When you see a problem, be prepared to suggest how the problem can be addressed before you bring it up. If you really do not see a solution but know there’s a problem, present it as constructively as possible. For example, instead of saying “This won’t work because of x,y,z” you could say, “I’m wondering if there might be an issue with x,y,z if we do approach it this way. Is there a slight change we can make so that we don’t hit that issue head on?”
People want to work with winners, not whiners so make sure you’re always trying to help the team win.
If you are someone who comes to the table to add value every single time, and you’re not just trying to shoot down the ideas of others, then you’ll be a valued member of every team.
4. Your Belief and Commitment
Set your intention before you communicate with someone, because that will come through non-verbally in your message. (Want more on body language? Read When Your Body Betrays You -3 Body Language Mistakes to Avoid).
If you’re not committed to doing whatever it takes to succeed in your job, or you don’t really care about your clients’ happiness, enjoyment, success, results, or whatever you are offering, things will fall apart because people will sense your lack of belief or commitment.
I would rather hire an effective and committed person working six hours a day than someone who works ten hours a day but isn’t actually dedicated and committed to what they do.
If you hate your job, it’s probably time to find another one. People will quickly sense that you’re there for a pay cheque and nothing else. Even if you’re good at your job, you won’t enjoy it, and people around you will not really enjoy working with you.
If you’re encountering the same objection or issue over and over when you communicate (like people disregarding what you say!), it’s a sign that you don’t actually believe what you’re saying. The single best way to be listened to in a meeting is to be committed to the success of the company, to believe what you’re saying, and focus on adding value with every statement you make (see above – about adding value when you present a problem!).
5. What’s Does Your Appearance Say to Others?
As I got up to leave the poker table at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, an older gentleman from Los Angeles who’d been sitting beside me for a few hours said, “Oh – the most honest person at the table is leaving, so I think I will leave too.”
It’s not saying much to call me the most honest person at a poker table, considering how much you lie when you play. Then again, I lost money that night, so perhaps I was too honest?
The minute someone sits down at the table, every single player forms opinions about that person, based on what they wear, how many chips they buy, how they get set up, and what they say (or, don’t say) to the others at the table.
This all contributes to a rapidly formed image.
The same thing happens in business.
You make an impression with a combination of how you carry yourself, what you’re wearing, your hair style (or lack of style!), and who you walk into a room with. The question isn’t whether it’s a good or bad impression; it’s whether you’re happy with the results you’re getting. Are you establishing authority and trust with your appearance?
A friend of ours is an executive at an international hearing aid manufacturing company. One of his regional managers was a woman in her 50’s who decided to stop dying her hair and let it go grey. The problem was as her coloured hair grew out and the grey roots were left to shine, it created this 4 inch stripe down the middle of her head that made you think of a skunk every time you saw her. He didn’t say anything, but after a few months her results began to falter. Our friend felt it was directly linked to the impression she was leaving on colleagues and clients. “If she looks like she’s letting herself go, what kind of a message does that send to people about her work? Not a good one … so I had to have a hard conversation with her,” he’d told us.
I’m not a fan of dress codes or saying that you have to look a certain way to succeed, but the reality is that if you’re not aware of how your appearance is impacting you, then it’s time to pay attention because it could be holding you back! Do people gravitate to you, or do you have to work hard to get attention? Consider carefully what impression you make, and try to adjust it if you’re not making the impression you want.
Of course the list of things that kill your credibility is much longer than this! If you consistently do what you say you’re going to do, people will trust you. If you say you’re going to be somewhere at 3 pm, be there at 3 pm. If you say you’re going to follow up via email – do it. If you say you’ll get back to someone with the answer – make it happen.
It may seem like a small thing, but if you say you’re going to drop something off, put something in the mail, meet someone at a certain time, or follow up on a specific day – do it. People will come to know you as someone they can rely on. Reliability is a highly desirable trait. If a person feels they can rely on you, it’s likely they will trust you. If you want to get the best results at work or in your business, these are good habits to get into.
For more on what impacts what people think of you, check out the Brand Magic Formula (the five pillars to creating a powerful personal brand in life and business):
If You Liked This Article on Credibility You May Also Like:
- When Your Body Betrays You – Three Body Language Mistakes to Avoid
- Why Your Follow Up Sucks & Three Ways to Fix It
- Can We Really Trust You? 5 Things You’re Doing That Make People Wonder
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