"This is just my opinion..."
Danielle's voice trailed off in uncertainty.
Then she quickly read her assessment to the rest of the team.`
It was only 5 words, but those first 5 words said a lot.
"This is just my opinion..."
Danielle was the first speaker. She was part of a team asked to review a new program, and she was meeting with the project stakeholders. Danielle didn’t want to appear arrogant, so she prefaced her insight with a “little” introduction to soften the impact. She did more than soften the impact.
She undermined her authority.
Danielle continued to preface her input throughout the meeting. She thought she was projecting an inclusive style of leadership.
She was wrong. Even though her recommendations were excellent, they were ignored.
Until other people repeated them.
And then got the credit.
Danielle walked out of the meeting feeling frustrated and diminished. Her “small” habit was a BIG self sabotage.
Are you sabotaging your success too?
If you want to increase your command of the room, and leave a stronger leadership imprint, it's time to drop those "little" introductions:
- "I wasn't sure if I did this right..."
- "There could be other ways to do this..."
- "I don't want to look like I'm telling you what to do...."
Don't bust your authority. Boost it with these 5 steps.
Ask yourself, "why?"
If you have a habit of introducing your opinion, ask yourself: "Why do I need the introduction? Is there another way of expressing myself?"
For example, if you think an introductory statement is helping you project “inclusive authority,” separate these two traits:
Drop the intro and give your opinion. State your opinion with confidence and project authority.
Afterwards, ask the group, "Are there any other comments? I welcome input."
Check for value.
Is the introduction REALLY adding any value, or is it just a crutch?
Here's how to tell. Write your opinion with and without a preface and look at the difference. Then say them both out loud so you can hear the difference.
Was there any change to the meaning of your opinion? If the answer is no, it's time to drop the intro.
Remember your voice.
Your introduction could also come with other diminishing traits like upspeak, or the sentence trailing off with uncertainty. When you drop the introduction, check your tone too.
Is your voice projecting authority? Practice speaking out loud and use your tone to reflect confidence and certainty.
Get feedback. Give feedback.
Your "small" habit may be a hard one to break, and you may not hear it every time. For 2-3 months, have a trusted colleague listen and give you feedback.
Then return the favor. Give feedback on the same trait. You'll automatically raise your awareness when you help your colleague capture their audience's attention.
Own your opinion.
Remember, if you're not sold on it, no one else will be either.
If you've done your research, own your opinion. No apologies or explanations needed.
It's only a few words...
But they can make a HUGE difference.
It's time to drop the introduction to your opinion. Be more confident with fewer words.
And instead of sabotaging yourself, you'll be seeing more success.
Looking for more ways to boost your career success Take a look at these Evoke posts.
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Interested in improving your communications and projecting more confidence? I help people turn their communications into a competitive advantage. Contact me at email@example.com to get more information.
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Photo/Tchernobyl - Chernobyl by Eric Constantineau, on Flickr