Hawaii - Pacific Chapter of ACHE Mobile - Fall 2014

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7 Common Credibility Blind Spots

Cara Hale Alter from "Briefings Bonus"

7 Common Credibility Blind Spots

Some poor behaviors can be unintentional, but have the potential to derail your image.  Being aware of these is critical, and once you identify them there are simple steps to eliminate these blind spots.  In a hypercompetitive business world, the time to do that is now.  Below you can find some of the most common blind spots:

  1. Using speech fillers.  These words include, “Um” and, “You know.”  These fillers are plentiful in our culture, and the business world.  To avoid this, use a tactical pause while your mind searches for the next word.
  2. Making extraneous movements.  Jiggling your knee, bobbing your head or shifting your weight can be distracting and irritating to others, and can weaken your personal power.  Stillness portrays the message that you are calm and confident.
  3. Self-commenting.  This tends to be overreacting to a mistake that was made.  For example, apologizing when stumbling over a word or using nonverbal reflexes.  Doing so portrays your internal criticism as an external preoccupation.  Remember that mistakes happen, so correct them and move on.
  4. Misplacing upward vocal inflections.  Using upward inflections that sound like question marks at the end of a sentence can be widespread and contagious.  Be vigilant so as to not pick it up.  To ensure this, occasionally read aloud with strong downward inflections.
  5. Making yourself smaller.  Most people try to make themselves smaller when they feel intimidated in order to avoid being an easy target. This can include placing your feet together, tucking your arms to the sides or pulling back on your volume.  Practice optimal standing posture throughout the day—not just in important situations—to make it habitual.
  6. Masking your face and handsWhen people feel uneasy or put on the spot, they will occasionally mask their behaviors including crossing their arms or playing with their jewelry.  Open your posture and engage your gestures at the start of every conversation.  Practice this skill at company gatherings or networking events.
  7. Dropping eye contact.  Disengaging eye contact loses listeners.  Keep your eyes on the horizon and give those listening the same respect you expect from them.  Moving your eyes to the side momentarily to gather your thoughts is fine, but make sure when speaking to maintain direct eye contact.

--Adapted from Cara Hale Alter’s article in Briefings Bonus from www.communicationsbriefings.com

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