Tag Archives: Business Communication

Business Communication

Non-Verbal Behaviors that Signal “Charisma”

Olivia Fox Cabane

Olivia Fox Cabane

Olivia Fox Cabane defines charismatic behaviors as managing internal states and beliefs through self-awareness, emotional self-management to focus on others and “make them feel good,” in her book, The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism.

She identified four types of “charisma:”

o Focus: Presence, listening intently, confidence
o Visionary: Belief, confidence, inspires others
o Kindness: Warmth, confidence, eye contact, compassion/self-compassion, gratitude, goodwill, enable others to feel important and heard through asking open-ended questions, redirecting focus to other with question about opinion
o Authority: Power, status, confidence, appearance/clothing, “take up space” posture, reduce number of non-verbal reassurances (nodding)

Her book considers three key contributors to “charisma”:

o Presence – mindful attention, patient listening, avoiding interruption

o Power – appearance, clothing, occupy space, positive wording (avoid “don’t”), placebo effect

o Warmth – chin down, eye contact, Duchenne smile (mouth corners, eye corners), gratitude, compassion, appreciation to counteract “hedonic adaptation”

In an interview, Fox Cabane offered three “quick fixes” to amplify perceived “charisma”:

• Lower the intonation of your voice at the end of your sentences (no Valley Girl talk…)
• Reduce the speed and rapidity of nodding
• Pause for two seconds before you speak

She offered a number of self-management and communication tips, including a review of Cognitive Behavior Modification practices:

o Destigmatize Discomfort-Dedramatize
o Neutralize Negativity by disputing thoughts
o Rewrite Reality with cognitive reappraisal-reframing

Other reminders include:

• Increasing resilience by expanding the personal “comfort zone”
• Employing mental rehearsal through visualization
• Adopting equanimity, “radical acceptance”, calm
• Increasing impressions of similarity by increasing subtle mirroring of phrases, posture, gestures (such as handshake)
.Investigating appropriate attire, match level of formality/informality
o Delivering value: entertainment, information, good feeling
o Inhaling through nose to avoid anxious, breathless sound
o Using as few words as possible; be succinct; illustrate with imagery, metaphor, analogy, story, compelling statistics relevant to the listener
o Expressing appreciation for specific help, influence; identify positive impact, and context in which it came to mind
o Avoiding verbal “distractors”: “um”, “ah”, “you know”
o Breathing to avoid self-generated anxiety: ”Pause-Breathe-Slow Down”

-*Which elements of Power, Presence, and Warmth have you observed among the most “charismatic” people you know?

©Kathryn Welds

Lessons from Business Storytelling in Constructive Personal Narrative

Business Storytelling books and resources have proliferated, drawing many lessons from Hollywood’s storytelling business and from advertising, public relations, and marketing.

David Epston

David Epston

Michael White

Michael White

Yet business readers may be less aware that more than two decades ago, Australia-based family therapists Michael White and David Epston asserted that people experience personal problems when the stories they tell about their lives do not represent their actual experiences.

They offered ways for people to “re-story” of “re-author” their personal narratives in their now-classic Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends

Michel Foucault

Years after White and Epston built on French philosopher, Michel Foucault’s Post-Structuralist/Modernist analysis of narrative, Paul John Eakin integrated literature, cognitive science, ethics and social criticism in his intriguingly-titled books, Living Autobiographically: How We Create Identity in Narrative and How Our Lives Become Stories: Making Selves 

Eakin echoes Foucault’s view that cultural and social “discourses” influence the narratives people develop about themselves and others, and he, like White and Epston, suggests that personal narratives can be modified to reduce subjective discomfort. How Our Lives Become Stories

Though White and Epston led their clients’ introspective analysis of personal narrative, philosophers like Foucault, and perhaps even Eakin, would argue for the viability of self-guided introspection.

-*When have you used stories to help others solve problems?
-*When have you heard stories that helped you resolve issues?

Related Resources:
Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire

Whoever Tells the Best Story WinsWhoever Tells the Best Story Wins: How to Use Your Own Stories to Communicate with Power and Impact

The Elements of Persuasion: Use Storytelling to Pitch Better, Sell Faster & Win More Business 
Tell to Win

Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story

The Leader's Guide to StorytellingThe Leader’s Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative

Winning the Story WarsWinning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell (and Live) the Best Stories Will Rule the Future

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Business Stories as Narratives

Paul Smith

Paul Smith

Paul Smith’s book, Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire, builds on thought leadership (references below), with tools to develop effective business narratives in response to 21 business challenges and “five 5 E” leadership scenarios:

Envision Success
Environment for Winning
Energize the Team
Educate People
Empower Others

Smith explains that business effective stories are:Lead With a Story
• Simple
• Timeless
• Inspiring
• Respectful
• Easy to understand
• Segue easily into appropriate learning modes for various ways of taking in information
• Compatible with business discourse

Peter Guber

• “contagious” (amenable to retelling and viral broadcast such as the “purposeful narrative” discussed by Peter Guber – see previous posting below)

• proof-points

He explains “four levels of discourse” to understand story as a rhetorical device, and suggests using more than one of these in memorable business stories:

Exposition explains with information
Description makes vivid with compelling details
Narration tells a story or explains a sequence
Argumentation convinces with logic or evidence.

In addition to these elements, Smith recommends weaving in:
• Metaphors
• Emotion
• Realism

Surprise “to sear the entire story in your audience’s long-term memory” because memories consolidate shortly after an event (or its story) happens

Specific, familiar examples of outcomes that have occurred to individuals like themselves, and vivid individual characterizations

Style: Use the CAR mnemonic to “drive” a story:

o Context: Sufficiently-detailed time and location of the story to “set the stage” for dramatic action and “lesson”
o Action: Catalyst, turning point, climax and final action towards resolution
o Result: The outcome, and its importance or “lesson learned.

Smith’s book joins an expanding list of valuable references to increase business narrative impact:

Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell (and Live) the Best Stories Will Rule the Future

Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins
The Elements of Persuasion: Use Storytelling to Pitch Better, Sell Faster & Win More Business

The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative

Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story

Related Posts:

-*What elements do you consider when crafting a business story for greatest impact?

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Glass Elevator and Nine Principles for Personal Branding, Career Impact

Ora Shtull

Ora Shtull

Ora Shtull points to the small number of women leading Fortune 500 companies to argue that women can benefit from adopting nine practices to enhance personal branding.

Her book, The Glass Elevator – A Guide to Leadership Presence for Women on the Rise, focuses on: The Glass Elevator

• High-impact communication through asking strategic questions

• Practicing confident body language in posture, body position, and vocal projection

• Listening to learn and understand• Developing a collaborative relationship with your manager• Partnering with team members and direct reports to deliver results• Expanding your network by being likable and generous• Asking for what you want with “win-win” in mind
• Sharing your differentiators• Adopting a positive outlook, even if at first it’s “as-if”

Shtull developed a comprehensive Leadership Presence Coaching model based on the principles of Influence-Engage-Connect, and a related assessment

-*Which of Shtull’s recommendations have most helped you ride the “Glass Elevator”?

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Three Factors Affecting Women in Corporate Leadership

Sara King

The Center for Creative Leadership’s Sara King and Northwestern University professor Alice Eagly examine the obstacles, pressures and trade-offs women face at every stage of their careers to analyze the reason that only three percent of Fortune 500 leaders are women.

Alice Eagly

King’s and Eagly’s research identified three factors affecting women in corporate leadership roles:

•    “Walking the narrow band” of acceptable behaviors: tough and demanding to be credible and effective but “easy to be with”; demonstrating the desire to succeed but not appearing “too” ambitious

•    “Owned by the job”, with the expectation of availability and productivity 24/7

•    “Traversing the Balance Beam” of conflicting role demands and limited time to fulfill them

They provide familiar suggestions:
•    Seek out mentors and advocates

•    Take risks, accept challenges to demonstrate adaptability, versatility.
Communicate willingness to change jobs and take on special projects to gain experience.
Learn from research findings that women are not viewed as promotable if they stay in one area of expertise or have a narrow functional role.

•    Communicate decisions, demand results, even if unpopular or requiring change management and persuasion

•    Project confident. Projecting an effective leadership image requires confidence. Don’t undermine good results with a weak or too modest self-image

Through the Labyrinth: The Truth About How Women Become Leaders.
Alice H. Eagly  Linda L. Carli, 2007 Harvard Business School Press.
The Center for Creative Leadership showcased related research that identified five themes among high-achieving women: agency, authenticity, connection, self-clarity and wholeness.

Agency, taking control of one’s career:
•    Analyze career steps
•    Set realistic, specific goals and develop a plan for achieving them
•    Ask for challenges outside your current functional orientation
•    Seek recognition
•    Ask for what you deserve

Authenticity, being genuine, being yourself by developing self-awareness to clarify   values, preferences, skills, acceptable trade-offs and acceptable sacrifices.

Connection, by taking time for people, to build personal and professional relationships, networking, finding a mentor, establishing a personal “board of directors” to provide support and feedback.

Self-clarity from seeking feedback and reflecting on one’s values, motivations, behaviors, strengths, weaknesses, impact on others.
This is a continuing process of evaluating changes in your needs, motivations, goals, values, while observing patterns, and being open to possibilities.

Wholeness from seeking roles beyond work or to unite different life roles, by prioritizing commitments and saying “no” to low-priority roles or obligations.

-*What solutions have you seen most effective in navigating the challenges facing women seeking leadership roles?

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Six Neuropsychologically-Based Emotional Styles

Richard Davidson

Richard Davidson

Richard Davidson, professor at University of Wisconsin’s book, The Emotional Life of your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way you Think, Feel, and Live–and how You can Change Them suggests that people favor one of six “brain styles.”

• Resilience – speed of recovery from adversity

• Outlook – duration of positive emotion

• Intuition – accuracy of decoding others’ nonverbal signals of emotion

• Self-awareness – accuracy of decoding internal signals of emotional reactions: heart rate, breathing, sweating, muscle tension

• Context – modulate emotional response tailored to environmental demands, constraints, options

• Attention – ability to focus, modulate emotional stimuli

These categories represent interacting elements that form an integrated cognitive-emotional processing pattern, rather than a discrete “style” as Davidson suggests.

He offers a quick assessment of your “brain style” via these surveys and other resources on his website and related locations.
———–
Related Post:
“Contemplative Neuroscience” can transform your mind, change your brain

-*Which Emotional Style is most prevalent is your work organization?
-*Which Style is more effective in your workplace?

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Business Influence as “Enchantment”

Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki, former Chief Evangelist at Apple, co-founder of Alltop.com, and author of Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions, shared with Stanford University entrepreneurship students his conviction that business influence or “enchantment” is the foundation of successful entrepreneurship.

He maintains that business influence, or “charisma”, or persuasiveness, is based on the following characteristics and behaviors.

Likeability
• Smile, engaging the corner of eyes (“crow’s feet”!) of Duchene smile
• Handshake, drawing on University of Manchester research, for the optimal handshake to engage social connection
• Dress equal to audience, not more formally or more casually

Trustworthiness
• Must trust others in order to have others trust you
• “Believe that the world is a non-zero sum game”
• “Default to Yes: How can I help this person?”
• Create something (product, services) DICEE for the listener
o D-eep
o I-ntelligent
o C-ompleteness
o E-mpowering
o E-legant

In promoting products and services, he advises:

• Branding must be “short, sweet, swallowable”: “Mantra, not Mission Statement.”
[Kawasaki’s mantra is “Empower People”]

• Conduct pre-mortem to course-correct: Pretend that the company failed; use diagnosis to course-correct

• Launch product or service by telling a compelling story

• “Plant many seeds: The world has been inverted: LonelyBoy15 needs to embrace your product and he encourages his contacts to embrace your product.”

• “Put your prototype out there because you never know who your LonelyBoy15 will be.”

• Make salient points, things that matter to listeners

• Overcome resistance via:
o Social proof (“others are doing it, so it must be ok”)
o “Find a bright spot – don’t fix something for the nay-sayers; use what is working”
o Enchant all the influencers. “The higher you go, the thinner the air, and the more difficult to support intelligent life. If you deal with CXOs, you will deal with the dumbest people. Look for the influencer, in the middle or bottom.”

• Make something endure
o Don’t default to using money; cultivate genuine “belief” and “commitment”
o Invoke reciprocity –“pay it forward”.
When the person expresses gratitude, say, “I know you would do the same for me.”
Enable the reciprocity to “alleviate the guilt” the other person experiences
o Build an ecosystem beyond your product including all interested stakeholders, users

• Learn to speak
o Customize the introduction: verbally, photos
o Sell your idea
o 10-20-30 rule: 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30 point font

• Provide value via social media
o Information
o Insight, meaning

o Assistance
o Remove the speed bumps, and obstacles to adoption
o Engage within 24 hours – “fast, many, often: it is core to your existence”

• Enchant up
o “Drop everything and whatever the boss asks: Just do it”
o Prototype fast – exceed expectations, deliver early
o Deliver bad news early, with ways to correct

• Enchant down
o Master
o Autonomy: Empower action, convey trust of others’ judgment
o Purpose
o Never ask others to do what you wouldn’t: “Suck it up”

-*How do you use “enchantment” to influence others?

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Five Questions to “Work Any Room”

Allison Graham

Allison Graham

Allison Graham asserts in her book, From Business Cards to Business Relationships: Personal Branding and Profitable Networking Made Easy,  that the goal of conversation at business and social events is to determine whether there is enough common ground to connect again.

She offers five questions to start conversations with people you’ve never met before:

• “What’s your connection to the event?
This question can uncover mutual contacts

• “What’s keeping you busy when you’re not at events like this or at work?

• “Are you getting away this summer?
This question can lead to conversations about family, reveal special interests and travel

• “Are you working on any charity initiatives?
This question makes it easy to launch into a deeper connection, revealing values and priorities

• “How did you come to be in your line of work?
For many, the path to where they are today can be an inspiring or challenging journey, full of surprise, suspense, and drama

Graham concludes that:

• Each person decides during the initial contact whether there is enough connection to warrant future interaction

• During these small conversations, people form their opinions about whether they like you, trust you, and believe you’re competent

• Match the depth of dialogue to the environment

• Your words may be forgotten, but how you make people feel will be remembered

• Relaxation, full engagement, genuine interest, enable the conversation to “flow”

-*How do you prepare for professional “networking” with people you’ve never met before?

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Questions to Answer in Personal Brand, “Elevator Pitch”, Resume

Colleen Aylward

Colleen Aylward

Colleen Aylward asserts that the following questions must be answered in your resume, “elevator pitch”, information interview, and online presence in her book, From Bedlam to Boardroom: How to get a derailed executive career back on track!

  • What is your [narrow, deep] expertise?
  • What are your strengths?

Career Leader by Harvard Business School professor Timothy Butler

  • What is your unique business differentiator?
  • What problems have you solved? How?
    [Note accomplishments and quantified impact, not responsibilities;
    Specify numbers, even if <10 – contrary to style rules]
  • How have you increased revenues, profit?
  • How have you improved processes?
  • How have you demonstrated creativity, innovation?
  • How have you reduced costs?

The last four items, indicated by *, are considered critical Key Performance Indicators that you must convey clearly, repeatedly, and memorably in all in-person and online activities.

-*What assessments and tools have you used to uncover your strengths, expertise and key differentiator?

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Negotiation Style Differences: Women Don’t Ask for Raises or Promotions as Often as Men

Linda Babcock

Linda Babcock

Linda Babcock‘s 2011 research at Carnegie-Mellon University identified one possible reason for the oft-reported pay gap between genders: Women don’t ask for raises as often as men
They wait to be offered a salary increase, a promotion, to be assigned the task or team or job that they want.

Researchers note that this type of unsolicited offer rarely occurs.
The study found that when women do ask, it can lead to others finding them “too demanding and aggressive.”

This trend was demonstrated when researchers showed people videos of a man and a woman each asking for a raise, following the same script.
Viewers of both genders reported similar negative perceptions of women who requested promotion.

The study reviewed approaches to help women improve their negotiation skills without challenging “preconceived notions about appropriate gender behavior.”

Some critics note that this analysis doesn’t consider larger scale inclusion and diversity interventions, such as resources offered by NCWIT.org to guide design and launch of merit-based systems for hiring, promoting, and managing women and other underrepresented groups.

*How likely are you to ask for a salary increase or promotion?
-*What factors do you consider before making a request for more more or an expanded role?

Supervising-in-a-Box series and Women in IT: The Facts offer tips and tools

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