No matter where you are or what you’re doing, respect from your peers and supervisors is your greatest asset. Half the battle of becoming a leader is looking like one.
The problem is, people pick up on more unconscious body language cues than you can possibly imagine. Credibility and authority relies on strength of character, expertise, authenticity, and professionalism– all of which can be pretty hard to fake.
As much as you think that you’re breezing through a meeting or speech with confidence, certain tells make it obvious that you’ve come unprepared. Ask a friend to help identify your nervous tics, making sure your body language matches your words in clarity and authority.
Avoid slumping your shoulders forward or tilting your head down, you’re not about to shine their shoes. Have a bit more pride than that. But don’t go to the other extreme either, leaning back or pointing your shoes at the door makes it look like you’re trying to escape. Acting normal has never been so tough.
Even if you have good control over it in everyday situations, stress can push your voice out of its normal vocal range until it sounds like you’re breaking under pressure. A stone face means nothing if your timbre is way off, so pay attention to how you both look and sound.
Storytelling is a powerful tool, but nearly no one knows how to do it right. You need to tell the right stories at the right time with just enough detail to keep things interesting. Either think things through, or keep your mouth safely shut.