Think of the last time you hopped into your car and headed out to a familiar destination. Possibly it was the store, work, school, a friend’s place or a favorite restaurant. You may have begun driving, lost yourself in thought or got wrapped up in your favorite 90’s rap lyrics (I don’t blame you). You arrived without much recollection of exactly how you got there. It was as if you drove on autopilot.
This happens when we do something so often, we do not have to lend much critical thought to the process anymore…like communicate. We spend most of our working hours in some form of communication. Whether we are speaking, listening, typing, posting, responding or sending nonverbal signals to those around us; we are communicating in some manner. We do this so often, we begin to do it on autopilot.
What’s the Problem?
The problem then becomes we do not understand why someone doesn’t seem to hear us, respect our boundaries or acknowledges our presence or contributions. It may have something to do with how we communicate on autopilot, thus affecting our personal brand and reputation.
Three Steps to a More Confident You
The good news is that we have plenty of opportunity to show up with intention, thus taking control of how we present ourselves and our ideas throughout our day. Here are three steps to help you show up intentionally, authentically and confidently.
- Self-Assess. How would you LIKE to show up in any given situation? Prepared? Powerful? Confident? Energetic? Team Player? Trustworthy?
When college classes were forced to go virtual in March of 2020, I would record my classes but soon realized that those first two minutes of each class, as students were entering, my face looked as if I was struggling to read the right buttons on the Zoom application. I was squinting and preoccupied with setting up the class. I had intended to appear prepared and welcoming but soon realized that is NOT what I looked like at first glance as students entered my virtual classroom. Soon thereafter, I found a love of reader glasses and getting things set up before I open up the classroom. I was then able to greet my students with a smile, eye contact and welcoming comments that showed I recognized their presence in my classroom, which is exactly what I had intended.
- Seek opportunities. What opportunities do you face each day to promote your desired personal brand?
What meetings, conversations, events, emails might you be a part of today? Ask yourself how you want to show up through these experiences. Identify the opportunities in your day. Think for a moment, with who you will be interacting and how you desire to show up in this interaction.
When I attended my first meeting of a new Board of Directors, I thought about what type of an impression I’d like to make during this meeting. I gave much thought to how I could best show up prepared and come across educated on the subjects at hand.
- Set micro goals. It is not realistic to think about how every single opportunity you face every hour of every day should be maximized. This is not setting you up for long term success. Instead, set micro goals; what two opportunities will you face today that can benefit from some intention? Select one or two situations, where you will be purposeful about how you present yourself.
Often in meetings, I set micro goals for my contribution. I want to comment on another’s idea, suggest one new thought or provide another option to be considered. Take the few minutes, prior to your next opportunity to set a micro goal to ensure you show up exactly as you intend.
These three steps will help you to turn off communication autopilot and show up exactly as you intend in any given communication situation. This strategy is just one that will surely help you show up authentically and confidently yourself in any given communication situation!
Get In Touch with Meg
This is an excerpt of Meg’s new book, 2023 publish date, “Put Your Big Girl Pants On…and Other Power Moves to Increase Influence.” Click here to be notified when this book becomes available. Simply complete the form with “book” in the subject line- and the only emails you will receive will be regarding the book availability!
Meg Bucaro is a communication strategist and college adjunct faculty who is passionate about positioning women for success by teaching them powerful communication behaviors. For more information on how to increase your credibility, likeability and influence, schedule a chat with Meg. or follow Meg Bucaro Communications on Instagram or Linkedin. Meg’s first book “Put Your Big Girl Pants On…and Other Power Moves to Increase Influence” comes out in 2023!