In his book Style, Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh (1522 – 1618) described language as having a “chameleon-like” quality. Sir Walter’s book is an exhaustive study of the origin, popularity, and decline of the word style. Regarding style, he said, “Good style is the greatest of revealers – it lays bare the soul.” You must be comfortable with your style. You live and work in the real world. It is not theater. Your listeners, unlike the audience in a theater, do not suspend reality. They take what you give them as you. What and how you communicate is what others use to assess and describe you. What and how you communicate reveals much of who you are in real life.
The ability to be natural, to be who you are, and not to be phony, is most people’s goal, especially those in leadership and management positions. Those positions carry enough responsibility in their own ways. It is far too challenging to also be worried about being something that you have to fake or that is not comfortable for you. Not only can it be uncomfortable, but it can also be downright discomforting to try and match a particular leadership or management style that has been dictated or described in a textbook.
There is truth in a favorite quote of mine: “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” We do not get a second chance to go around in life. It is incumbent upon each of us to do the best we can every day, to project our best, most sincere, and most authentic selves. That is what communication style coaching is all about. It is most successful when you are truly comfortable with the communication techniques you use to create the impression you want others to have of you. This is even truer in today’s world than it was in the time of Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh.
Dr. Dennis Becker is the Founder of The Speech Improvement Company and author of Personal Communication Style.