There are several aspects of reputation that managers and leaders need to consider. I am going to touch on just one aspect of reputation in this post.
How we come across when we communicate or present.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was recently at the GILD conference (Global Institute for Leadership Development). Each day we heard several top shelf speakers. I found it interesting to hear people´s reactions to each speaker. The reactions were generally:
- All over the board — some people loved him or her and some people did not like him or her. This is the normal and expected reaction. We each respond to different people and information.
- Generally positive — this person struck a chord that resonated well with most people. Only a few speakers reached this level of reaction.
- Generally negative with qualifications — All the speakers were smart and knew their stuff, this was never an issue. The GILD folks chose only top people. That said, there were a couple speakers who put people off with their style of communication. Not the content — their style.
Personally, I was disappointed with two speakers. They were both men whose work I admire a great deal (still do) but whom I had never seen live. These two speakers were also the ones that I heard consistent negative feedback about their styles.
Again — not the content, which was great and helpful — their styles of communicating.
I am not inclined to share their names because I respect their work and think that people should still read their books and use their methods. Most of us never see these guys live.
What was it about their style that put many of us off?
Bad style speaker #1: This fellow was too full of himself. He dropped too many names — "I worked with this CEO and that CEO and I am the reason that CEO got a promotion"?¦" He was also quite over the top in being cavalier and seemed like a know it all. This seemed so out of character with his writings, where his words are humble and inclusive. #1 was the greatest disappointment for me because I had a notion of how he would come across based on his writings and several email exchanges we had over the last few years.
Here´s another part of this story. As I walked into the room, I saw #1 and went up to him and introduced myself. He remembered me and was warm, gracious, and gave me a "nice to meet you in person" hug. That one-on-one encounter was consistent with my expectations of how he might act.
But when he got on stage — wow — another persona emerged. As a speaker, I too have a somewhat exaggerated version of myself that comes out when in front of a big group. But we can overdo this and put people off. When people are put off, they won´t hear what we have to offer.