How do people perceive you? Is your body betraying you? What about your facial expressions?
About 2 months ago, while at a networking event, I met a great woman who is a coach in body language. We met for coffee not long after and within the first few minutes of our first 1-hour meeting she had pinned down who I was. We really clicked and I decided to hire her to help me out.
I have my own business; I coach, I do consulting, I write books and blogs and I give conferences. I had been struggling with selling myself. I was not used to having to sell a product and the product was me! Before 2013, when I started my business, I was a vice president at CGI. It is a well-known company and I worked there for 15 years. I never had to sell myself because I had a great reputation as a person who gets things done.
Now, here we are, 3 years later and even if I have great confidence in my skills and knowledge, it became clear that I was having a hard time getting the message across. How was I going to build a reputation in a completely different market? How was I going to meet and attract new customers?
We had our first official meeting and we started building a plan based on my objectives. Now, I have a strong personality. I am the 9th child of a family of 10 and I have always worked in very “male oriented” industries (construction and IT). Because, from a very young age, I always had to fight to get my place in the world, I unknowingly developed certain body language and facial expressions that are considered manly and aggressive. Not exactly ideal traits for my new business.
So my goals were: I need to be more approachable, more likeable and more relaxed. I needed to stop always being so goal oriented and just enjoy meeting new people at networking events or during my conferences. In simpler words, our goal was to remove the cocoon I had created over the years and reveal the real me.
By using different techniques such as taping myself (video and/or audio), I was able to see quite an improvement after just one session. We worked on my posture, my tone of voice, my facial expressions, my flow when I give a speech, the words I use, etc. We also worked on understanding other people’s body language. What is their body language trying to tell me? I can now pick up so much more information then I used to.
Are you familiar with the communication chart? Only 7% of the words we use influence our message received by the recipient. 55% is body language and 38% is tone of voice. That is quite impressive. It had never occurred to me to use a coach in body language but now I understand why people who give speeches and conferences use them. They are invaluable.
It has been quite an amazing journey and it keeps going. I am loving everything I am learning. I highly recommend it. Here is the web site of my coach, Angela Podolsky: http://kinesicintell.com