Why is it that some people just draw your attention to them the moment they step through the door? Is it the aftershave that takes your breath away or the fact that they are carrying a large stuffed panda? Well, that is a possibility I suppose but, to be serious, we need to look at the science of attraction and how we can use that knowledge to increase our own presence in the business marketplace.
We’ve all been there – the large networking event with perhaps 70 or 80 people in the room. Everyone is milling about looking for someone to engage with. What do you look for when deciding where to go first?
The friendly face
I must admit that I personally look for someone who appears to be interested in having a chat. They will be smiling and looking around the room with lots of direct eye contact and open body language i.e. no hands in pockets or folded arms. With that smile and the open posture they are saying ‘welcome, come and talk to me’.
If you hide in a corner with your eyes down people are unlikely to approach you.
The individual style
While we are talking about what we can see, we have to consider the person who chooses to look different from ‘normal’. What I mean by that is that if you are flamboyant in your choice of clothing or hair colour you will literally ‘catch the eye’ and stand out from the crowd. This type of person is likely to be an extrovert too as they don’t mind being the centre of attention but it doesn’t need to be extreme. Instead of the standard black or grey suit women might consider a brightly coloured jacket and men a flamboyant tie. Expect to get comments but that light-hearted opening can soon lead to meaningful conve
rsations. I know some individuals who have used this very effectively in their brand Marketing.
Taz Thornton has pink hair and this has become her trade mark. She always catches the eye on social media platforms and at networking events but she also backs this up with her expertise when you speak to her and in her recently published book.
Brad Burton (of 4 Networking fame) does not always look like your typical successful businessman! As a public speaker he usually appears onstage wearing jeans, (al
beit designer) and a T-shirt. That takes self confidence and conviction as not everyone is going to like the informality it suggests but he uses this to catch the attention and then reverses your initial subconscious thoughts with the power of what he has to say.
So what I am saying here is that it doesn’t hurt to stand out from the crowd but you have to decide how that can work for you. I always wear a flamboyant jacket when networking or speaking at a business event.Having looked at the visual side of things, let’s consider sound now.
The loud voice
Well, it is certainly true that if you have the depth and power of someone like Brian Blessed you will have no trouble in being heard. However, a loud voice can sometimes be associated with aggression if the tone is not quite right and generally speaking, volume should be appropriate to the situation.
In a team meeting or when taking part in a webinar, it is important that you get your message across. Some people find this hard and this may be because their habitual voice is too quiet. You probably need to ask someone else’s advice on this as we tend to think our volume is fine unless we are told otherwise. This is particularly important for those in leadership positions. Often some improvement can be made by focusing on using your breath to support the voice and also ‘thinking’ it forward with intention.
The charismatic voice
When we are listening to someone speak, whether they are doing so in a 1-to-1 situation, in a boardroom or on a stage, we need to be given an incentive to keep listening.
This impetus comes from the amount of musicality we hear in the voice i.e. how many notes are being used on the pitch scale. It also includes how good the speaker is at using inflections to point key words and how the tone reflects involvement in the words being spoken. You can see this in the facial expression too. When we get this vocal recipe right, the message is more powerful and the words stay in the mind for longer.
You can listen to some of the great Public Speakers, past and present, and hear this modulation in use. It varies is a lot too. There is no ‘magic’ solution to getting it right.
If Public Speaking is part of your marketing plan, make sure your command is absolute when infront of an audience. You owe it to your audience to look and sound perfect for the occasion. This does not happen by accident. It needs forethought and technical knowledge as well as practice to command your audience throughout your presentation.
What matters more than anything is that you consider how you are coming across to others. Do you have the ability to make your mark as a communicator? It just needs a little focus to improve but it can really pay dividends if you do.
Speak Loud & Clear!