Monday, April 02, 2007

Gravitas redux

I only wrote yesterday about gravitas. But here's a simple exercise you can try in your own workplace.

Ask a colleague to monitor your speech during a meeting together. Get him or her to listen out for any annoying habits such as 'ums' or 'ers' and to write down how many times you use them. I remember years ago one colleague pointing out that I used the phrase 'you know' about a dozen times in a one-hour meeting. I was mortified! But I was also glad that she told me so I could clean my act up.

Look out also for using words such as 'probably', 'hopefully', and maybe' - as these words make you seem like you lack conviction.

Another technique for stamping out irritating phrases or other bad speech habits is to get a colleague to make some subtle signal every time you use one - such as tapping their pencil on the table or touching a finger to the side of their face. It can be quite vicious, but it works! So ask a colleague tomorrow to monitor you to identify what your speech bad habit is - and get them to point it out until you have eliminated it.