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Mirror Mirror on the Wall ...

You can't not communicate. Even before you speak your dress and body language are influencing the way others perceive you. Ignore this and you can easily fail.

Successful presenting is about the ‘message’ and the ‘medium’. A great message can be screwed up by poor delivery, while a good messenger can score with a weaker script. Get both right and you’re flying. But how do you get the medium right?

Each word you speak is accompanied by body language. Since tone accounts for 38% of the meaning and body language 55%, you don’t need to be an accountant to work out the huge impact of the medium on the message. Personality, though not the only factor, affects all aspects of communication. Ask colleagues for feedback or use a personality questionnaire such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator which provides self-analysis using a simple, four-scale framework.

Take me, for example. I’m an introvert. Having flat vocals and contained body language, I can appear formal. In large groups I may only appeal to a small section of similar types. So, I’ve worked to develop a wider tonal range, stronger eye contact and more enthusiastic body language that appeals to all types, especially extroverts.

Secondly, I’m what is known as an ‘intuitive’ – I enjoy theory and concepts, focus on patterns and connections and like learning new skills, whether or not they have a practical application. Opposites – ‘sensing’ types – attach more importance to facts and details, learn in order to apply new skills, and like using existing skills to solve practical problems.

Before taking the tests I was unaware of these characteristics. I made assumptions others could see my viewpoint. Now I regularly get buy-in from opposite types.

Self analysis will help to identify what to change. It will also improve how you manage, influence, sell, network and run meetings. So if your style is more IDS than WOW … take heart, take stock and above all, take action.

  • John Gotting runs PeopleFocus.co.uk a communications consultancy. www.PresentationMagic.com. ?:

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