What MATTERS is WHAT the ‘customer’ PERCEIVES’, pt.2
Last week I shared my analysis of a three minute, video clip spoken by the former Westpac CEO.
On the theme of ‘What matters is what the customer perceives’ let me share more ideas.
Top performing C-Suite executives I work with are keenly aware of what their facial expression, body language, voice, speaking cadence and words are conveying to their audiences. The default facial expression – of these top performers – often is one of, radiating warmth and acceptance and calm enthusiasm. They are ‘light’ about themselves while taking their job seriously.
Followers want inspiration from their leaders, even in times of crisis.
The facial expression of the image of this post, to me, conveys an expression of repressed anger or faux seriousness.
When executives don’t feel comfortable in their own skin or when they feel, ‘this is how I, as a senior executive, should present myself to the world’ – this repressed anger/faux serious face can result.
But a default facial expression of repressed anger or seriousness doesn’t mean a person is competent or intelligent.
At times, serious expressions are displayed to hide a person’s lack of confidence in themselves or in their ability to do their job.
In crisis situations, like the ones Westpac executives have faced over the past few weeks, here is my general advice:
- It is crucial to internalise how you feel about the crisis, and then determine the words to convey the messages that will be spoken. Then, let that feeling ‘inform’ your facial expressions, body language, voice, speaking cadence.
- Video record yourself delivering a mock version of the message. Watch the clip along with an independent expert (ie. not yes-men) and critically judge with the expert, if all aspects of your delivery convey the feeling you want.
By the way, in contrast to the poet, Maya Angelou’s famous quote,
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
my view is that in certain situations, people WILL remember the words you said or didn’t say. For example, using the word ‘but’ can significantly undermine an apology.
Own the Conversation
Over the next seven days become more aware of your personal communication.
For example, consider these questions:
- how often do you use the word ‘but’?
- do you use qualifier words, such as ‘maybe, probably, just’ to avoid being direct with a person?
- do you enter a room radiating warmth and acceptance and calm enthusiasm?
- do people feel energised after a conversation with you?
- do you have energy in your voice as soon as you start to speak, and maintain that energy until the end of a speaking event?
p,s. Here is a post on How to nail your Q&A session