How she went from invisible to noticed
She was painfully shy when she came to her first Develop Professional Charisma session. She was small in stature, with a young face, but it was her ‘little girl’ demeanor that I noticed immediately. Her reason for joining these small group sessions was instantly visible to me. She could barely look anyone in the eye. However, the fact that she mustered enough courage to join the small group comprised of other professionals seeking to develop their communication skills, was a clear indication that she could be helped. Showing up was her first step to transformation.
Her body language screamed “lack of confidence”, as she sat somewhat crouched in her chair. There was no smile on her beautiful face and very little eye contact. Her body showed her discomfort and the fact that she was extremely self-conscious.
Her speech was barely audible, though she sounded intelligent, there was no projection. Her words came out as if she were second guessing herself.
Her goal was to improve her ability to express herself at work. She said she felt overlooked, and I could see why.
She was a classic case of a professional who had substance but did not get the attention she deserved. I got the sense she was very good at what she did, her personality was well-suited for her profession. She was an accountant, and her natural disposition made it easy for her to spend the day at her desk, engrossed in figures, and never talk to anyone. Her work required focus, attention to detail and the ability to concentrate for long periods of time, and I knew this was her strength. However, quietly being good at what you do is simply not enough if you seek to be recognized and promoted in the workplace. It is your interpersonal skills that help you develop professional relationships which play a huge role in being promoted.
We began by working on her mindset. As a self-proclaimed shy person, the first thing she needed was to see herself differently. If you call yourself shy, inevitably you will have to live up to the label. We worked to find a new label that served her. Her confidence began to develop, which manifested into better body language, and a slightly adjusted persona began to emerge.
Her habit of crouching in her chair was a way to minimize herself; subconsciously she did not want to be seen. Therefore, she was ignored. She barely spoke or connected with anyone and although she did a great job, no one noticed her. Consciously using confident body language made her feel more self-assured. This was important because social scientists have published studies that indicate our bodies produce chemicals that coincide with our physiology. For example, even if we put on a fake smile, it creates chemicals that make us feel happier. Standing in a power pose can make you feel more confident; and in this case erect posture, eye contact and an occasional smile helped my client to not only feel less timid, but she developed stronger presence.
Obviously, her boss noticed. A few months later she contacted me to tell me she was promoted.
Is your body language holding you back as a professional? Measure yourself against the guidelines I shared above. You can begin to incorporate more powerful body language today. If you would like help to develop your communication skills for career and business success, email me today about my small group coaching sessions.
- Kim Welcome is the CEO of Influential Voice. A communication trainer and coach, she assists businesses and professionals to achieve their goals by helping them to develop deliberate, skillful, polished communication skills. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 242-225-9013.
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