You have probably heard several gasps from your folks when you declared your goal to be an entrepreneur. Some people might whisper behind your back, “But she is so shy!”, “She barely speaks a word”, some might say on your face, “How will you manage? You are not much of a talker.”
The consensus is that you are shy and quiet by nature. It is but a small bump on your road to success. The pointers here will come in handy for you to command the attention of your employees when you are planning to build your empire.
It is not possible to turn into a public speaker overnight. You have to take baby steps. The mundane things like addressing your employees with a ‘good morning’ or ‘hello’ and keeping a brief smile or nodding at them can go a long way to make you approachable. Make an effort to communicate with people whenever you can. It will help in building up a rapport. Otherwise, you may come across as intimidating or unsociable. After you are done in the meetings or discussions, make small but significant chitchats with your colleagues and employees in informal ways to show your support and care as an employer.
If you get a cold sweat every time you have to address an entire room, plan your speech and pointers. Use ice-breakers before you start going to the points and keep your anecdotes ready. Do not think about stammering or forgetting something, if that happens, address it in a funny way, such as, “You will have to excuse me, sometimes a frog gets stuck in my throat and its tadpoles invade my brain”. Practice your speech and gestures in front of a mirror. Jot down the notes and make a structure to logically present your ideas.
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Go pen and paper
Even though we have been using technological support to ease up public speaking, presentation, meeting, collaboration, sometimes pen and paper can be our only saving grace. We are wired to remember things more clearly if we write them down instead of typing. Use notepads and sticky notes to remember the points and read them to yourself before going in front of a room full of faces. Recite and practice your tone and pitch beforehand.
Good body language is a must
If you hunch your shoulders, cross your arms and put a scowl on your face, no one will think you cordial or professional. Similarly, if you do not maintain frequent eye contact, a strong handshake, and a clear voice, you will not come across as confident. So, maintain good posture, do not hunch or cross your arms while talking, keep your chin up and shoulders straight, voice free of tremors and uncertainty. The times of doubt and anxiety should be limited in your bedroom, not your boardroom. Portray as much confidence as you can muster up, even though your insides are tangled together in a knot.
Also Read: How To Keep Personal & Professional Life Apart
Be involved in meetings
When you are not speaking directly in a meeting or conference, remember to ask meaningful questions, felicitate the meeting, thank everyone and add relevant comments. Try to be engaged verbally even when you are taking place among the audience. After you have listened to your employees, colleagues or collaborators, offer insights, opinions, and constructive criticisms at best as you can. If that is not possible during the meetings, do it after the conference is over.
Hunt for common interests
When you find a common ground with others, it is easier to talk. They could be directly related to work or could be outside work-related issues. But you need to switch gears and find out what hobbies, interests, goals, and ambitions are common amongst yourselves. It will help you open up more about yourself and establish personal connections along with professional relationships.
Also Read: Why it is Necessary To Think “Out of the Box.”
Socialize in between and after work
Do the after-work drinking and lazy talk make you sigh? You do not have to be a social butterfly, just appear in the common crowds once in a while. During the coffee breaks, lunch break and after hours, just stand in between the clusters of your employees with your cup of coffee or pint of beer. If you smile at them and encourage them to open up, they will be much more upfront about their experience, challenges, responses, and work satisfaction, in comparison to those topics in the work environment. You will gain a thorough knowledge of your office’s ongoing work.
Attend parties and social events
Not all of us are party animals. If hosting, managing and arranging parties and social events curdle your mood, chances are, you will absolutely hate networking and mingling during these events. But do not discount the virtues of networking, building up your brand value, and informally connecting with potential clients and collaborators through these events. You do not have to spend a long time there, but go for a few hours, address your peers, meet new people, converse with them and try to make lasting impressions. It will come handy when you are building up your corporate empire. Your couch, blanket and pillow are not going anywhere, so make the wait a few hours.
So buckle up, boss ladies. You are in for a tough ride. Some days you will hate yourself for pushing so hard and getting so out of your comfort zone. After all, we shy folks do not like a room full of eyes staring at us with perked up ears to listen to our every word and analyze our every movement. But other days you will love the feeling of looking out from the top of the world, or rather from the top of your empire. Pry away your attitude. You will be ready to conquer the corporate world in no time.