I’m curious. Do you know how people perceive you?
Maybe the four years of psychology I did before working in the media has turned me in to an over-thinker. Or is it a fact that I’ve now moved in to the “wisdom” stage of life? (Some of my friends may well doubt that theory.) The thing is, I’ve become fascinated by the way we come across to others.
I’m currently in a leadership course, which is rather revealing and a little bit confronting. It’s digging deep and I’m discovering quite a lot about myself. Strengths, weaknesses – yep, expected those. But what about this question, ‘How do others see you or what can others rely on you for’? You think you know. By my stage in life you think you have a pretty good feel for the kind of person you are and what you stand for. The reality is sometimes very different. You should try asking.
And so I got to thinking – what do I show the world? Is it the real me? Is it the me my parents wanted to show off? Is it the me that wants to look good and not be bold and brave? Is it the me that’s always holding something back just in case?
I heard a wonderful story the other day. When playing cards, how often do we just do enough while keeping the good stuff in our hands – the aces, the kings, etc.? Saving the good stuff for the right moment – the moment that often never comes round. Do you hold your cards close to the chest and miss an opportunity for something more?
What are you showing the world?
What ‘you’ does the world see? Someone carefully crafted? Or something else altogether? Are you:
The list could go on and on. There are bits of us everywhere. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, Seek, Tinder – and that’s just online. What about the fact that we are part of the school community, the hockey club, the workplace, church and so on? Do you think it’s the same ‘you’ in all these different aspects of your life? It wouldn’t be hard for someone with high-level skills to spot the fraud in us all. We are inconsistent. We say we’re going to do something and we do something completely different.
Which brings me to the ‘you’ that you show off in the workplace – the ‘you’ that represents the organisation. The ‘you’ that meets the clients. The ‘you’ that fronts up to the media.
Can you hold up under scrutiny?
When you front up to the media, you really are under the microscope. The TV camera zooms in close and spots the nervous smile, the twitch, the pretend scratch of the nose, and the shifty look accompanying the question you were dreading. Wow! All this and you’re still trying to remember who you are and how you want the world to see you. Oh, and you need to stay on message while all this is going on.
And then there’s the radio studio. You and the interviewer. Your voice, theirs. Nothing else. Your silence. How could silence be so loud? You want to sound confident, fun, smart and so on. Sounds like the list earlier…but sadly none of that comes across. You’re swimming in uncharted waters. This is new. You’ve never been here before. It’s a conversation, right? Wrong! This is a media interview and the whole world is listening.
Gaining confidence in any situation
This is not something most people do every day. It’s a skill; it’s a craft and if you want to reach the masses with your story it’s the place you’re going to have to hang out. With only a few hours training and guidance these ‘uncharted waters’ that were once choppy and hostile become calm and natural. It’s familiar territory and the real you can come out.
You’ll be so comfortable that they’ll hear you smile. Then they’re hearing the real you.
For more information on media training
If you’d like to smash your next presentation, shine in your next media interview or improve your overall confidence, get in touch with me. You’d be surprised at how quickly you can master these skills with the right guidance.