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Posts Tagged ‘first impressions’

Tell People About Your Communication Style – Don’t Wait

At the end of presentations, attendees often approach me and say something like, “People tell me my communication style is really direct and that it can be off putting. I don’t know what to do about this.” Or they say, “People say I’m really quiet and hard to read. They have a difficult time getting to know me.” communication style

If you’ve been given the same feedback repeatedly, or know you create a first impression that may be challenging to others, set expectations and tell people about your communication style when you begin working with them. Don’t wait until they feel offended, confused, or frustrated. Simply tell people when you meet them, “I’ve been told that I’m too direct and how I provide feedback can be off putting. Anything I say is to be helpful. If I ever offend you or provide too much information, I hope you’ll tell me.” Or you could say something like, “I’m told that I’m quiet and it’s hard to get to know me. I’m more open than I may appear. If you want to know anything about me, feel free to ask.”

People will make decisions about and judge you. There is nothing you can do about this. But you can practice what I call, ‘get there first.’ Set people’s expectations about your communication style and what you’re like to work with, and then ask people to speak freely when they aren’t getting something they need.

The root of frustration and upset is violated expectations. People may not be aware of their expectations of you or be able to articulate them, but if they didn’t have certain expectations, they wouldn’t be upset when you acted differently than how they (possibly unconsciously) expected.

I’m a proponent of anticipating challenges and talking about them before problems arise. If you know something about your behavior is off putting to others, why not be upfront about it.

When people interview to work for me, I set clear expectations about my communication style and what I’m like to work with. I tell them all the things I think they’ll like about working for me and all the things I suspect they won’t. I tell them the feedback I’ve received from past employees and things I’m working alter. People often nod their heads and say, “no problem,” which, of course, may not be true. They won’t know how my style will impact them until they begin working with me. But when I do the things I warned them would likely be annoying, we can more easily talk about those behaviors, than if I had said nothing.

Talk about your communication style when projects and relationships begin. Replace judgment and damaged relationships with dialogue.

communication style


Tell People About Your Communication Style

At the end of presentations, attendees often approach me and say something like, “People tell me my communication style is really direct and that it can be off putting. I don’t know what to do about this.” Or they say, “People say I’m really quiet and hard to read. They have a difficult time getting to know me.” communication style

If you’ve been given the same feedback repeatedly, or know you create a first impression that may be challenging to others, set expectations and tell people about your communication style when you begin working with them. Don’t wait until they feel offended, confused, or frustrated. Simply tell people when you meet them, “I’ve been told that I’m too direct and how I provide feedback can be off putting. Anything I say is to be helpful. If I ever offend you or provide too much information, I hope you’ll tell me.” Or you could say something like, “I’m told that I’m quiet and it’s hard to get to know me. I’m more open than I may appear. If you want to know anything about me, feel free to ask.”

People will make decisions about and judge you. There is nothing you can do about this. But you can practice what I call, ‘get there first.’ Set people’s expectations about your communication style and what you’re like to work with, and then ask people to speak freely when they aren’t getting something they need.

The root of frustration and upset is violated expectations. People may not be aware of their expectations of you or be able to articulate them, but if they didn’t have certain expectations, they wouldn’t be upset when you acted differently than how they (possibly unconsciously) expected.

I’m a proponent of anticipating challenges and talking about them before problems arise. If you know something about your behavior is off putting to others, why not be upfront about it.

When people interview to work for me, I set clear expectations about my communication style and what I’m like to work with. I tell them all the things I think they’ll like about working for me and all the things I suspect they won’t. I tell them the feedback I’ve received from past employees and things I’m working alter. People often nod their heads and say, “no problem,” which, of course, may not be true. They won’t know how my style will impact them until they begin working with me. But when I do the things I warned them would likely be annoying, we can more easily talk about those behaviors, than if I had said nothing.

Talk about your communication style when projects and relationships begin. Replace judgment and damaged relationships with dialogue.

communication style

 


Your First Impression May Not Be Correct

FirstImpressionYou’ve undoubtedly heard that it takes fewer than 30 seconds to form a first impression. The question is how frequently is your first impression wrong?

If the person sitting next to you on a plane doesn’t speak to you during the entire flight, you may initially think he is unfriendly, only to strike up a conversation as the plane is landing and find out that’s not the case. If a job candidate is outgoing, you may decide she has good people skills, only to experience contrary behavior when she starts the job. If someone is late to arrive for an initial meeting, you may decide he has an issue with time management, versus he was just running late that day.

Many things go into forming a first impression. People who are tall and attractive – by societal standards – are typically perceived as likable and credible. It’s assumed that people with degrees from good schools are smart. But we all know people who went to good schools who we wouldn’t hire.

Your first impression may be right and it may be wrong, but it takes more than 30 seconds to be sure.

If you’ve participated in job interview training, you were probably trained to look for contrary evidence when forming an opinion about a candidate. Looking for contrary evidence is an attempt to disprove your first impression. If you quickly dismiss a candidate for lacking knowledge of your industry, you should ask interview questions to disprove your opinion before making a final decision.

Why not follow this practice in all settings? If you initially decide someone is trustworthy and reliable, spend more time with that person to be sure. If you quickly decide someone is unhelpful and uncommitted, give the person additional opportunities to behave differently before making a final judgment.

Snap judgments eliminate lots of great people and experiences from our lives.

Unfortunately just as we prematurely exclude potential employees, friends, and life partners without having enough information, people do this to us as well, which is why it’s important to know the first impression you, your department and your company make. If you don’t know the first impression you create, there’s nothing you can do to shift behaviors that may be costing you friends and customers.

I started asking the first impression I create after I got chucked under the bus by some coworkers.  When I was new to one of my jobs, I asked my coworkers to give me feedback if they saw me do anything that got in the way of my being successful on the job. They agreed. But when they had negative feedback, they didn’t give it to me, they told my boss instead.

That’s when I got the hard and painful lesson that people have a tendency to talk about us, not to us. It’s also when I began asking the people closest to me, who I know love me and care enough to tell me the truth, the first impression I create.

Opinions are formed quickly and they’re hard to break. Give people more than one chance, and see how they show up. And know that many people will eliminate you, your department and your company after just one interaction. So find out the impression you create, giving you the power to do something about it.

Download some of the questions I ask to learn my reputation, here.

Advance Your Career Whole Deck copy

 


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