Professional Development

  • Do You Look the Part?

    By Susan Battley

    Recently, the chief executive officer of a Fortune 50 company had to deliver very tough news about the company’s performance and prospects. At an internationally televised event, he delivered a detailed corrective plan that included major layoffs over the next years. And I do mean detailed. He read page after page of his presentation, seldom looking at the standing-room only audience.

    To be sure, his was an unenviable job. But when he said the words “I am fully confident…,” they just did not ring true. He was going through the motions of reading a scripted message. No eye contact, flat tone, hunched posture. His non-verbal behavior completely contradicted what he was saying. This leader certainly wasn’t ready for his close-up.

    When it comes to important communications, do you “look the part”?

    People look for congruence and consistency between what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. They want to be looked in the eye. Whether you’re on network television or speaking before a small group of clients or sponsors, you need to master a “whole person” range of communication skills to be effective.

    Research confirms that people make almost instantaneous inferences about a person’s competence based on his or her looks. The good news is that you can use this information to your advantage.

    Here’s What You Can Do

    • Be sure to maximize first impressions. This means dressing and projecting the appropriate image.
    • Practice your material until you know it well. You don’t need to memorize it, but you should be able to tick off your key points without notes.
    • Videotape yourself and review it with someone who will give you frank and helpful feedback.
    • Consider getting professional coaching on platform skills and media training. (Some years back I did, and found the experience a valuable investment.)

    Being fully prepared nowadays means more than knowing your material. You must deliver the “whole person” communications package or risk striking out.

    Copyright © Susan Battley, PsyD, PhD. All rights reserved.

  • The “Invisible” Productivity Solution…Sleep!

    By Susan Battley

    There’s something more than a little discouraging about presenting to a room full of yawning professionals at 8.30 AM. And especially if the topic is executive productivity. So, finding myself in this situation, I started off by polling the group on how many hours of sleep they typically got a night. No one admitted to more than seven hours. Some claimed they got by very well on five hours. But the yawns and lack of energy in the room told another story. This was a seriously sleep-deprived group.

    Let’s look at some basic truths. No one can perform at peak levels without adequate sleep. And getting sufficient sleep is one of the most powerful ways to insure that you are mentally sharp, even-tempered, and stress resilient.

  • The 445-Day Year – A True Time Management Tale

    Day in and day out our time management skills are tested to the max.  As the end of the month or quarter approaches, how often do you wish you could add more days to the calendar?

    But wait, that’s exactly what Julius Caesar did in 46 BC.