Impression Management: Taking charge of how your communication style is perceived. — Leah Lorendo

In order to be a significant partner in the design and execution of organizational strategy, a fundamental key is your ability to manage the impression other executives have of you, grounded in communication effectiveness.

Strengthen communication as the core of your ability to influence.

Communication is an essential facet of how you present yourself in the world, and how others perceive you. Consider the significance of everyday communication opportunities, regarding not only what you say, but also how you deliver your messages. By applying even one communication choice to strengthen your communication delivery, you can express your contributions while influencing the perception of your listeners in your daily communication.

Be in charge of your own time.

Being able to use the silence of a pause influences the way you are perceived by your listeners. By taking time to compose a statement before you begin talking, you can deliver concise, yet content-rich thoughts (not “thinking out loud”). Using a pause makes you appear less hurried, and you will not connect thoughts and ideas with non-content words (such as “uhm,” “like,” “you know,” “and,” “so,” “then”). A pause lets you to take a deep breathe to release any physical tension in your body, making you look, feel and sound in charge of yourself.

Say it like you mean it.

You want to give the impression that you are committed to helping your listeners understand your message, and that you care about what you are saying. Fully forming each word (think of someone reading your lips), slows down your overall rate of speaking and results in words that are clearly understood. When you open your mouth and lengthen vowels, you emphasize important words and energy to your voice, to help the listeners understand every word, and to demonstrate your enthusiasm about your idea. Complementing your message with physical energy through gestures illustrates what you are saying.

Enhance awareness of your listeners.

Make the effort to truly see the person you are talking with and strengthened your message by engaging one individual at a time. When you stay with an individual to complete a thought, you both feel as though you are engaged in an individual conversation, with your facial expressions and voice complementing your message. When you have listeners who are not Òin the roomÓ with you (conference calls, voicemail, videoconference, telephone calls), you can still show your awareness of them. Keep in mind the individuals who are listening to your message without the benefit of your facial expressions or movement.

Showcase your value.

When you increase your awareness of how you use specific communication choices in daily exchanges of ideas, you begin to feel your power to manage the impression others have of you. You are in charge of how you feel, look and sound when speaking and that you can influence the perception of your listeners. You show that you consider your thoughts before you speak. You deliver concise statements that your listeners can easily comprehend. You put energy into clearly articulating your words, emphasizing key words, and using your physical movement to supplement your message Ð using yourself to deliver your message, giving the impression of a thoughtful, committed, engaged communicator. At the same time, you are aware that you are demonstrating your skills and the value you bring to your organization as a professional that adds value to the human resource partnership.