In this day and age, we each have the ability to shape and direct our communication to create a “personal brand.” Communication-style coaching is the path to creating the way you want others to think of you. I help executives do this by choosing the “style words” that define their own personal style, something that they can vary depending on the listener.
Ideally I recommend choosing two words. The first is a word from a business perspective: smart, knowledgeable, intelligent, credible, authoritative. The second word is a behavioral or “human” word: friendly, approachable, personable, engaging, dynamic, charismatic. Sometimes, we suggest a third word: confident.
For communication-style coaching to be successful, it’s important to choose style words that you believe in, and are comfortable for you.
“With respect to style words, the one that has resonated with me the most over the years is ‘approachable’. That might not sound like much, but the distinction between being ‘friendly’ and being ‘approachable’, to me at any rate, is that when you’re approachable, you’ve (internally, at least) established a level of seniority/accomplishment – you’re happy to share your knowledge/wisdom/what have you, but not just because you’re a nice person. I think about that mostly from the everyday communication. I really encourage junior people to participate on panels, etc., whenever possible, even if it’s not a marquee event, to get that practice, so when the big moments come, you are better prepared.“ – Managing Director, National hedge fund
A great way to start is to ask someone you trust what they think would be great style words for you. In other words, if you weren’t in the room and someone was describing how you came across, what words would you like them to use? For example, “I find Monica to be personable and insightful.”
Once you’ve identified these words, make sure you are communicating them consistently. For example, an approachable person gives the impression of someone who is pleasant, respectful, and receptive for a person to approach them. You cannot appear standoffish, but instead be friendly and open. You need to be approachable at all times for it to be seen as your personal style.
For specific strategies on how to execute your chosen style words, take a look at our book on personal communication style. We put style words through 16 variables that focus on how you look and sound when you communicate. Once you have this power in your hands you’re guaranteed to speak with confidence!