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The Credibility Code: How to Project Confidence and Competence When It Matters Most Paperback – June 1, 2012
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Harvey Schachter, Special to The Globe and Mail
--The Globe and Mail
When Cesar Millan, known on TV as the Dog Whisperer, walks into a room full of canines, the four-legged followers know immediately that he's in charge. His voice, his posture and his gestures all convey his top-dog status. But Cara Hale Alter says the two-legged beasts of the world also could learn a thing or two from Millan. Alter, founder and president of SpeechSkills, says that one of the clear things that puts Millan in charge is his lack of head movement. This level-headed position is one of the best ways that Millan conveys his "executive presence" to a pack of dogs exactly what we should be doing in our careers if we want to convey the same thing to the workplace pack, she says. Alter, whose SpeechSkills is a San Francisco-based communications training company, says many people are unaware of such subtle clues. But she has done research on how we all can do a better job of establishing our authority and capability and put it in a new book, The Credibility Code. "Many people are unaware of the negative things they're doing," she says. "They don't understand how their image is being formed by the way they move or speak." Alter offers this advice for those seeking to look more credible: Stop filling in. A stray "um," "uh" or "you know" can make you sound unsure. Instead, don't be afraid to pause while you search for the next word. Don't sound like a teenager. Ending a statement with an upward rise of the voice used to be common among teenagers but has filtered into adult conversation, Alter says. This "up talk" is easy to pick up, so make sure you haven't adopted the bad habit. Try reading an article out loud, making sure you end statement with a downward inflection of your voice. Control your space. Just as Millan conveys authority with little head movement, you can convey more personal power by controlling a tendency to shift your weight from leg to leg or bob your head. Such movements comfort you, but Alter says you appear more calm and confident if you're still. At the same time, stop trying to reduce your presence by tucking your arms to your sides, placing your feet close together or dipping your chin. Those kinds of behaviors say that you feel threatened in your space. Open your posture. If you feel nervous, you may start to play with your clothing or jewelry, clasp your hands or wipe any expression off your face. The more gestures and facial expressions you have, the more comfortable and relaxed you appear. Alter suggests going to places such as a farmers' market or a shopping mall and interacting with others to practice your skills. Once you become more comfortable, you'll be able to use those skills in business settings. Maintain eye contact. Don't drop your eyes in a business setting because you appear to step away from the conversation. Give speakers and listeners your full attention. To practice keeping your eyes at horizon level while speaking, put blank Post-It notes on your office wall. Ask yourself questions and then hold your eyes on the notes while you give an answer. Finally, Alter suggests videotaping yourself to spot conversational glitches or habits that may be undermining your credibility. "I've had a lot of people tell me they don't think they have any issues, and then I film them," she says. "Once they see themselves on camera, then they're very eager for coaching.
Anita Bruzzese, Gannett --USAToday.com
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
I've taught acting at Stanford for over two decades and I have yet to see any book that teaches the rules of status in such a clear, concise manner. Along with well defined lessons, the book offers compelling short videos (available using an OCR code to access the clips) that demonstrate the precise idea being studied. You don't need to buy the companion CD . . . it's all included in the text. I watched the videos on my IPhone. It was great. This technology is cutting edge. The videos alone are worth the price of the book. For anyone looking to improve his "stage presence" or her speaking style this is the book. It might change your life.
In an extremely thoughtful, well researched and highly understandable handbook, Cara pulls back the curtain on secrets of presenting one's self well, in every situation imaginable. The clarity with which she does so, along with the various techniques she employs to convey the essence of her observations to the reader, are brilliantly blended to create a recipe for improving one's own projected image.
Not only are specific techniques identified, their cause and effect are revealed and the keys to being believable are handed to the reader.
To be clear, one must engage. Cara does present all the tools (especially effective is the ability to see her demonstrate the learning points in each chapter online). However, for maximum impact, this is not a "skimmer." Practice, self-awareness, using videos to recognize traits and making one's physical delivery of the message second nature does take some effort on the part of the reader.
The end result is well worth it. Whether meeting someone for the first time, interviewing for the job you crave, taking part in a meeting or presenting to the gathered masses at Yankee Stadium, this will help you do it successfully.
This is the rare author who practices what she preaches perfectly and has, in fact, actually created much of what she is teaching us. Bravo!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Real, practical info to be a more
effective communicator with practice exercises
and drills to hone your skills.
Best business / self help book I've ever read.
Exactly what I needed. Had a big talk and the teaks have made me feel very confident. Thank you.Published 1 month ago by Alexander Jimenez
priceless. Even if you've already read other public speaking books, this one has excellent additional perspective.Published 2 months ago by Shopper
Excellent book! I shared it with my nursing students throughout their program and it has made a difference in their communication.Published 4 months ago by Ame M. Wells
A book that can truly transforms your appearance.
Clear and easy to remember.
I am very glad that I came across this book!
Nothing you haven't read before if you have an interest in human communications and behaviour but good to have it all packaged up in one book.Published 13 months ago by zawilski
This book is an eye opener with useful information, tips, and strategies on projecting credibility with the correct words and actions. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Alejandra