Communication & Leadership

with Peggy Klaus

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To discover how you are showing up in the world, ask people.

Peggy Klaus

Communications & Leadership Guru

Lessons Learned

Likeability is crucial.

We all want to be around people that we like.

What do people like about you? Ask them.

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Lesson: Communication & Leadership with Peggy Klaus

Step #7 Feedback: To discover how you are showing up in the world, ask people

How you can find out how you're showing up in the world, how you communicate, how you lead, how you manage, whatever, is by asking people. I know that sounds really crazy, but it is the best source for you to know how it is that you're showing up.

For example, if you are in the corporate world, you should be asking your boss, colleagues, direct reports on a pretty continuous basis, "How did that communication go? How did that speech go?" and ask them to be very specific about the behaviors. What really went well and what didn't go so well.

For example, if you just gave a pitch and you come back to me and you say, "Peg, how did it go?" And I say, "Oh, it was great." So you leave and you think, "Great. Peggy rarely gives me good feedback. So, I must have done a really good job." But then you get home and you realize that last week you did the very same pitch and yet I didn't give you that feedback. You're left wondering what it is that you did today that was so good that you didn't do last time.

You need to be able to say to me, "Peggy, be specific. What did I really do well? How was my storytelling? Was I impassioned? Was I energetic? Did I give statistics, anecdotes? Did I relate to the audience? Did I listen when they answered questions?" So, there's a myriad of things that you could ask about the communication piece.

In terms of the personality, you can ask people very specifically, "How do you experience me? Do you think that I am friendly?" and give examples. So you have to really drive the conversation because, most people do not want to give difficult constructive feedback. But if you ask and really drive home, they're left with no alternative. I would say get as much feedback as you can. Ask people, certainly ask partners, spouses and siblings, although I do find spouses are pretty harsh.

Yes. Rather than that general, "What do you think of me?" "How do you find me coming across?" Then dig deeper from there because if he says, "I think you're terrific. What do you mean how do you come across?" "Well, you know, I've gotten some feedback lately that says I might be too aggressive. Do you find that? I'm trying to determine what aggressive means."

That's why when someone says to you, "You're being too aggressive," you need to say, "Thank you for that. Can you be more specific because aggressive really doesn't hone in on a specific behavior. What behaviors connote aggressive to you?" That's the way that you get to that.

Even if you haven't had feedback from other people, make it up. Tell people, "You know, I've gotten some feedback from some pitches and I'm just wondering if that's your experience of me. Do you find that I talk too much in pitches? Do you find that I interrupt?"

Likability is crucial because we all want to be around people that we like. If we're working 10, 12, 14, sometimes 16 hours a day, the people we're around really make our job fun and interesting. So again, I would say go back to what you know about yourself. What are your pluses? What do people like about you? What do they really enjoy about being around you?

Furthermore, I would say ask people. Go out and get feedback from people and really elicit that with open-ended questions. "How do you think I come across? What do you think are my pluses in terms of my personality? What are some of my deltas in my personality? What would you like to see change?"

Be really specific, to get specifics from the people who are giving you feedback. They will be, probably, loathe to give you very specific feedback because they don't want to hurt your feelings. Say to them, "I really want to find this out about myself. This is really an obstacle for me. It will stall or derail me in my career, if I don't know what it is that people find difficult about

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