Aug 18 2015

How to take a moment to lead…quietly

Published by under Executive Presence

dreamstime_m_11299064An actor is required to get up on stage and do their part whether they feel like it or not. Leaders need to do that too. However, very capable leaders may resign themselves to sitting back and letting someone else speak up or show up because that leader can’t seem to get a word in edgewise. Usually that is because the loudest voice wins. What to do if you are quiet by nature? Some suggest that we need to be more accepting of diverse ways of communicating, but while we are all becoming more tolerant, some of you will be left behind. The answer is to plan to take leadership moments.

The book called The Leadership Moment tells the stories of nine leaders who made life-changing decisions at auspicious moments in their careers. However,  leadership moments can be everyday moments– opportunities to take responsibility when others don’t. This action helps communicate the perception of leadership beyond business acumen, which is sneaky but effective. The caveat is that quiet people may have to be well-prepared rather than rely on instinct, to jump in. If you are one of those people, here are a few suggestions, that you may not have thought of, to take a leadership moment:

  1. In meetings, come prepared with a well-thought-out perspective on a topic you know will be discussed, and look for a time to add your 2 cents. When it arises, stand up and speak, even if the others speak while sitting down.
  2. Always have an opening and a close for your talks. Use this to inspire, motivate, challenge or inform, but use it to promote your personal brand/perspective and ideas.
  3. Most meetings just fade away. Don’t let that happen. Be the one to sum up the action items by keeping track of them and confirming agreement to them at the end of the meeting.

For more on this topic, please see my post, 5 Steps to Greater Influence in Meetings.

Here’s an interesting online resource on leadership, posted by the Leadership Center at Ohio State University.

© Zurijeta | Dreamstime.comClosed Mouth Photo



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Jul 28 2015

Do cookies make you want to sing? How to form a new habit

Published by under Musings

dreamstime_m_19387308Want to form a new habit? There’s good news out there. First a story: When I was a little girl learning to play the violin, my mom had me practice every day at the same time…right after my after-school snack. Once the cookies were gone it was time to practice. That snack became my instigation cue for practicing, and this is why I told you that story; a recent study published in the journal, Health Psychology, looked at habit formation vs. execution in exercise routines, and determined that “Exercise instigation habit strength was the only unique predictor of exercise frequency.” Even frequency of exercising was not as important as that cue for forming a habit to be healthy.“ No wonder eating cookies always makes me want to play the violin!

The implication for using instigation cues to help you become a better voice professional is obvious. The next time you decide you want to try my voice strengthening workout, or apply my advice about kicking the habit of too many filler words , pick a cue that will get you going and make a habit of the cue. Suggestions:

  •  When you get in the car to go to work, always do some warm ups. (cue=car going to work)
  • When your alarm rings, get up and run through your breathing exercises. (cue=alarm)
  • When you get home, have a cup of tea and then practice. (cue=tea)

You can mix up your practice routine, but keep the cue the same. But be careful; you may begin making funny sounds every time you have a cup of tea.

For info on finding the right practice routine for you, please see my post How to create a strong voice, Part 4: Practice.

© Parkinsonsniper |

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