I was in a planning meeting today and when I described our coaching, the host of the meeting said “what they (potential participants) really need is to understand how they are perceived”. In a sentence, she had captured the reason behind the presentation technique we do. Our vision is to change our clients’ lives by helping them find their true voice; what if they don’t know what their voice sounds like? What if they perceive they are approachable, warm, engaging and in fact they are the opposite?
When was the last time we asked our nearest and dearest how we come across? Over this past year I have coached a lot of senior execs from high profile companies: Ford, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Microsoft, Edelman, Allianz, Siemens, Heineken. It was my job to tell them what no one else in their company would — don’t shuffle like an old lady, don’t talk like you are delivering a news report/ Panorama documentary for the BBC, get rid of the jargon and paint a story.
These senior execs are people with friends and family; take off the suit and they are real people with real emotions. Perception for them is about:
1) Realising the unwritten rules that the world of business feeds them about what to say, how to say it and how to play the job role.
2) When these rules are exposed they see how they communicate by them and then they can see how they are truly perceived.
3) Here is where the fun begins, Through tried and tested technique for stage and screen we coach our clients to stand tall, breathe well, project loudly — find their true voice and we have a lot of fun doing it!
4) After that, it is all about application — what does it look like to sound genuinely interesting and simply human in a long, tiring board meeting? What change does it make to our clients’ confidence levels and job satisfaction to know that they went it and represented themselves to the fullest that they could? It makes a huge difference.
We use the statistic 30% minimum improvement because people need statistics, but the result is immeasurable — how do you measure confidence, contentment, a moment in a life where the light bulb switches on? Perhaps perception is the ultimate measuring tool — present who you truly are, let people see what is inside and the rest is all up for grabs.