If you seriously want to learn how to make a powerful impression at work or anywhere else, then it all comes down to the way you handle one commodity that is so important to all of us – and that is information. Since we first embarked into the “information age” during the 1990s, most of our careers and livelihoods are greatly hinged on our management of information that affects our chosen field or industry.
This is not to say that information was not critical before the information age, it is simply the fact that information flows at light speeds now compared to how it flowed before the 1990s.
Now that we have established the way the handling of information as the key to making a great personal impression, let us now look at the steps to mastering this practice.
5 Critical Steps to Mastering Information
1. Increase your knowledge
The very first step to your public impression is possessing knowledge that is critical to influencers. Do not spend as much time with information that your superiors will not consider to be critical. And when you acquire this knowledge, you must ensure that your facts and your views are correct beyond all doubt. A misquote about critical information in front of powerful people can literally take years to overcome politically – and quite possibly you may not ever repair the damage of your image.
Rehearse any anticipated questions or impromptu conversations about the knowledge. You must be prepared to have an intelligent conversation with highly influential people. Imagine yourself having conversations on elevators, in the cafeteria line, or at the water cooler. If you are called upon to make a comment during a meeting, ensure that you are speaking from a voice of confidence and that your sources are reliable and sound.
2. Boil it down to a concise message
The best way to lose your listeners is by unloading a ton of information on them. The most knowledgeable people have learned to identify the most critical portion of information they receive. They know that influential people are only interested in the bottom line and the data that will have the greatest impact on their operation.
When you learn to identify which part of information that your upper level managers will consider as critical, then you are both thinking like an influential person yourself and you are relating to your upper level managers simultaneously.
3. Lay out the Information in your Mind Ahead of Time
After you identify the most important point in your new found knowledge, then proceed to identify the next most important point, and then the next vital point after that, and so forth. Try to anticipate what the influencers around you will want to hear about next – if they keep asking for more information.
Two things are important here: 1) Arrange the information in your head in their order of importance, and 2) Do not proceed to the next critical point until the listener has asked for more information. This assures that you have an interested listener in front of you. Never continue talking when you were not asked, this will bore your listener and start to erode your credibility.
Demonstrate that you can hold your tongue when discretion is needed.
4. Simplify your message
Believe it or not, simper verbiage and phrases will make you sound more profound. Studies have shown that true wisdom actually lies in clarity. So begin choosing shorter sentences and simpler words whenever relaying vital information.
You will discover that higher level managers get very impatient with lower level employees who are long winded. This is because they find the information far more valuable than the way in which it is relayed.
5. Pick your moments
Here is where managing information becomes an art. You have to learn when and when not to share the knowledge and information you have.
You must understand that often times when conversing with a very high level manager, there will most likely be several middle level managers around you that would love to take credit for whatever information you are sharing.
When you understand the political currents around you, then you will understand the best moments for sharing knowledge.
These five steps are how to make a powerful impression.