Crack the code of credibility

03/21/2014 12:00 AM

03/20/2014 4:29 PM

Do you feel like you have the skills and the smarts but people just don’t pay attention?

Maybe you don’t project confidence or credibility.

If that sounds like you, Cara Hale Alter suggests some remedies — 25, specifically, in her book, “The Credibility Code.”

To summarize some tips:

• Keep your head level when speaking.

• Center your gestures, corralling them no higher or wider than your shoulders and no lower than your hips.

• Speak in a steady volume that’s loud enough to be heard.

• Hold eye contact with listeners for at least three to five seconds.

• Eliminate “um, “ “you know, “ “I mean, “ “sort of, “ “like” and other irritating fillers from your spoken delivery.

• Don’t fidget with your body, your fingers, your hair or your clothing.

• Lose the “Valley girl” upward inflection at the end of sentences. It makes declarations sound like questions.

• Don’t cover your mouth when you talk.

• Don’t send body language messages — crossed arms, shrugging shoulders, downcast head — that you’re closed off or subservient.

• Be an active listener. Look at others when they talk to show you’re paying attention.

Alter says it may not be easy, but it is possible to correct those behaviors. One of the best ways is to videotape yourself giving a presentation or answering some questions. You can spot what you don’t like and work on fixing it.

Type A women who move at a fast pace and show emotion have particular challenges in controlling their voices and gestures. They need to avoid squeaky or flighty impressions.

“Stillness, “ Alter says, “is an authoritative behavior.”

She suggests practicing voice control, especially if you tend toward upward inflection, by reading articles aloud. Begin each sentence at a middle to high pitch, and end with a stronger downward inflection.

Alter also advises paying attention to your standing posture throughout the day to make a balanced, “tall” posture a habit.

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