It’s commonly said “First impression is the last impression”, so why to give a wrong notion to others. I have seen people getting carried away with their emotions and tend to use not so sophisticated approach and language in public forum. I have scribbled below few pointers that may help you avoid unsolicited attention in public forums and will also help you make a better speaker in larger gatherings -
Know pulse of your people - Mould yourself accordingly in the public forums. I have seen people generally speaking what they have in their mind or in their presentation irrespective of the auidence segmentations. I personally follow “Bada Hanuman” & “Chhota Hanuman” principle. Be a “Bada Hanuman”, when you are addressing the senior management team, it is imperative that you use facts and figures more & your choice of words/intonation is going to be qualitative and high end. Adaptability to the situation is the key; you may like to become a “Chhota Hanuman” when you are in a town hall or in the leadership interaction session. You possibly will like to tone down as per the situation demands. It’s good to know about the segmentation of the people. Especially when you are addressing the larger audience, expectations are very high and perceptions are built accordingly.
Be conscious of your language- At the leadership level be precautious about the choice of words which you use to address people. At all times refrain from using slang & foul lingo. People at staff level look up to senior management as a role model. Suaveness and poise are inevitable attributes at the leadership level. In corporate scenario even suggestions coming from CEO’s becomes executive order.
Executive presence makes the difference - The way you carry yourself is pivotal. Appearance and communication style reflects the character of the personality. May be you are forward-thinking and flamboyant person but in public congregation, mould yourself appropriately.
Avoid examples that can lead to different interpretation - At times I have found leaders cite inappropriate or ambiguous examples in public forums and leave it open for people to interpret. CEO of a large MNC was addressing the town hall and he was asked by one of the employees that what is he doing on the branding side for the organization? He replied, "we are not the shampoo or soap making FMCG Company. We don’t want to indulge ourselves in ad-war". The reply was not taken well by most of the staff.
Take cognizance of your surrounding - Corporate life looks glittery & fancy from outside; I have seen people getting fascinated by the dazzle and they sometime land themselves into deep trouble. Your value system and ethics should be in place. When you grow in your professional career, it’s good to be observant and cautious about the actions which are happening in and around you. If you are at peak of success, your every activity is being tracked and observed by someone or the other. People can perceive their thoughts as per their own expediency and concoct stories. Never allow others to take undue liberty and advantage. If you want to freak out in the office get together, do that but it should be in realm of decorousness.
One should also be heedful of cameras and electronic gazettes clicking when you are in a public gathering/official functions. You may be oblivious of the act. Do make effort to shy away from the glitters. It can be tweaked and showcased in an off-putting way also. Why to leave imprints and give opportunities to others to chatter about it. If you notice someone doing inane activity is taking your snap without taking your permission, stop that person from doing so and give him a stern message. It will percolate to others also, people will think twice before taking such liberties.
I believe for senior leaders, it is imperative to have an uncanny ability to know the people psyche in gatherings/meetings and they must develop an ability to flex conversational style accordingly.