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4 Tips to Help You Be Seen and Heard as a Leader

Confidence & Courage to be seen and heard as a leader (1)Whether you’re delivering a presentation to clients, weighing in on an issue with colleagues, or speaking to your supervisor, how are you perceived by others in these conversations? Do you have the confidence and courage to truly be seen and heard as a leader?

Through communication, leaders have the ability to inspire action by shaping what people believe. Communication increases one’s ability to stand up, speak out, increase your visibility, earn respect, and drive your own success. It gives you the power to embrace your leadership potential, position yourself as strong confident leader, and influence at any level.

On Mom Corps YOU, Amara Hunt of The Humphrey Group spoke of the importance of developing a leader’s script; the organization of your thoughts. It calls for you to know your subject, message and what your call to action is, prior to entering a conversation.

In addition, Amara shared with us four components of communication that are key to helping you to be seen and heard as a leader. 

First, approach the conversation with the mindset of a leader. Regardless of who you are speaking with...every conversation is an opportunity to influence and shape others. 

Second, organize your thoughts to communicate with clarity and intention. Be prepared to answer:

  • What is my point?
  • Why am I communicating this?
  • What is my key central message to influence my audience?

Next, use stronger language. Stop over apologizing, using modifiers, and positioning your ideas in a way that isn't strong. For example, replace "I think" with "I'm confident" or "I believe" or "I'm convinced". 

Find yourself apologizing or writing emails that diminish your voice? There is an app for that. Check out the Gmail extension, Just Not Sorry. The app will warn you when you're using words or phrases that undermine your message when composing an email. 

Finally, as we previously discussed with Amy Cuddy on Mom Corps YOU, it is critical to connect what you say with how you say it. Your gestures, mannerisms and body language should align with the message you wish to convey. 

What does this look like in real life? Below is an example of an ineffective conversation and then a revised, effective conversation where Nina applies the tips offered by The Humphrey Group. 

Lucas waves Nina into his office. As she walks in she begins…

Ineffective Script:

Ineffective Script - Humphrey Group 
 Analysis: This script is ineffective for several reasons. 

  • It lacks a clear subject. Even though Nina wants to know how her 360-evaluation results will affect her eligibility for the promotion, she doesn’t ask this directly. In neglecting to do this, she risks sounding passive-aggressive and might miss getting her point across. 
  • The script lacks a message. Because she doesn’t identify her own convictions clearly before the meeting, Nina misses the opportunity to reiterate that her strengths make her a strong contend­er for the position, and she doesn’t express her belief that her peer relationships are stronger than the evaluation would suggest until the end of the conversation. 
  • Nina undermines her strength and leadership with minimizing language (“I just wanted to,” “I guess you could say,”), qualifiers (“I know you’re busy, but”), and self-deprecating language (“thanks for squeezing me in”). 
  • Nina doesn’t close with a clear call to action. As a result, she is no better off after the conversa­tion than before she started it.

Effective Script:
 Effective Script - Humphrey Group

Analysis: This script is more effective for several reasons. 

  • Nina clearly articulates her subject (“I want to better understand why my peer ratings were low, and what I can do to improve”). 
  • She states a clear message early in the conversation (“I believe that I’m a strong contender for the position and that I have the relationship-building skills necessary to lead this team”). 
  • Her language is polite and respectful without being minimizing or self-deprecating. 
  • She probes (“What can I do to strengthen my lateral relationships?”) to elicit the specific feed­back she needs. 
  • She uses open-ended questions (“What do you think?”) to draw out more sensitive information that is difficult to ask for directly. 
  • She closes with a clear call to action by stating that she will report on her development at an­other meeting set for early next quarter. 

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