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#98 Leadership Communication Mastery with Gina London
The 360 Leadhership Podcast, Episode 98, 08 November 2023 by Lucy Gernon
Do you want to be a better communicator?
Many women in leadership roles share a common desire – They want to enhance their communication skills. They desire to be recognised, heard, and have their opinion considered.
Despite their incredible accomplishments, they often feel like their voices aren’t getting the attention they deserve.
Does that resonate with you?
I get it. I’ve been there too.
So, when I crossed paths with Gina, I wanted to have this remarkable lady on the show.
Gina London is the founder of the Language of Leadership program and an Emmy award-winning former CNN correspondent. Her expertise lies in leadership communications, with a particular focus on infusing more personality and authority into leaders’ communication styles, while also emphasising clarity and brevity.
In this week’s episode, she brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table, bringing light on the intricacies of leadership communication. We explore the importance of communication as a foundation in leadership and the journey to enhance one’s presence and impact in the corporate world.
If you’re on a quest to become a better communicator and a more impactful leader, Gina shares some essential traits that she observed in the top executives she worked with.
They continuously refine their knowledge and skills, staying at the forefront of their industries. To follow in their footsteps, strive for excellence in your area of expertise. Keep learning, adapting, and growing to become a leader known for their competence.
They inspire trust and loyalty by being open and honest. Embrace your authenticity, and let your true self shine in your leadership role. Authenticity builds connections and fosters stronger, more collaborative teams.
They are approachable and receptive to feedback and new ideas. They encourage open communication and create environments where everyone’s voice is valued. To foster openness in your leadership, actively listen to your team, encourage diverse perspectives, and be willing to adapt based on the information and insights you receive. Openness leads to innovative solutions and a positive work culture.
Here’s the episode at a glance:
[1:49] Why is Networking and Self-Acceptance Important?
[6:03] Do You Have Networking Anxiety? Try Doing These…
[20:55] How To Cultivate Depth of Interest in Conversation?
[26:22] The Game Changing Tip on How To Improve Communication and Leadership Skill
[31:27] A Proven Strategy on How To Have Authentic Communication.
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Welcome to the 360 leadership podcast, the top rated show for driven women in senior leadership with new episodes released every Wednesday. I’m your host Lucy Gernon, a multi award winning executive coach for women leaders and the founder of 360. Leaders Club exclusive high level membership for career driven family orientated women just like you. I created the 360 leadership podcast to share practical tips, actionable step by step strategies and inspiring stories to support you to unlock the power and belief within to accelerate your impact and potential so you can build a life filled with success, balance and happiness. So are you ready to achieve 360 degree success? No more excuses. No more waiting. Your time is now. Hi there and welcome back to another episode of the 360 leadership podcast. I’m your host Lucy garden and today I have a very, very special guest on the show with me I am so excited because today we have the gorgeous Jada London, who is the founder of the language of leadership program and Emmy award winning former CNN CORRESPONDENT her speciality is in leadership communications, specifically bringing more of their personality and on the authority side, bringing more clarity and brevity to their communications. For the last decade, Gina has been training senior level executives and major multinational organizations like Wells Fargo, Google, Salesforce, JP Morgan, and McKesson, to name just a few. She has trained 1000s of executives over the years on transforming their communication and leadership skills. And today she is here to share her wisdom with us. Gina, You are so welcome to the podcast.
Thank you so much. It’s great to be here with you.
Okay, I’m so excited. I can’t even deal. So I want to back into this. So the reason I invited Gina on the podcast is because obviously, I have my 368 are slob and one thing that keeps coming up consistently with my clients and the members of 360 is I want to be a better communicator. I want to be seen, I want to be heard. I feel like my opinions are not considered. I feel like I’ve heard so many different things. So when I saw Jane, I thought we have to get this lady on the show. So first of all, Dana, maybe introduce yourself a little bit. Tell us a little bit about you and how you became the gene in London we
see today. Well, thanks. Because I think that’s part of the whole idea that we’re not fully formed when we’re meeting somebody in a networking meeting, or when we’re seeing someone in an interview, there’s a whole backstory to that person. And the more you can tap into that, to get often gives people a connection that, oh, they develop themselves, I can develop myself. And so I grew up in a small town in Indiana and US population about both 135 more houses more corn than there were people and the name of the town describes it all it really is farmland, Indiana. And the reason I think that’s important is because I was as you just said in your introduction, a CNN correspondent at the White House for years and years. And yet had I not develop myself, in particular, some of Of course, my journalism ability, but even my speaking ability, I grew up thinking that nation’s capital like this, if you could imagine how an American might say it, I said it, Washington, because we didn’t wash our clothes in Parkland, Indiana, we watched them. And I’m still need. And yet, even if I’m off this podcast with you, as I was, when I was with CNN, I’m still saying Washington to this day. And I’ve learned to project my voice. I’ve learned them on camera ability. And it’s these types of things. Now, in addition to other strategies that I share with my clients, some second language, English speakers, some that are really heavy into tech and science, and might not have actually had an opportunity to explore and develop and become a more personal side of themselves, when they’re required, as many executives are now to connect through a camera, or to be more transparent and personal sharing in their presentations. And it takes practice like anything else. And I think it starts with that mindset that you can love and be self accepting of yourself at the same time that you’re also excited about how you can develop yourself to better Mm hmm.
So I love that so you literally grew up in farmland, Indiana, you and then you ended up in the White House. Like tell me how did how did you even transition to that?
Well, exactly. I mean, I majored in journalism in Indiana University so I went to a state school I was accepted. into a private school, Northwestern University in Illinois, they have an incredible girls in school. But my family we couldn’t afford it. So I met at State School who also has a good journalism program I should add, studied girls and study political science worked in a newspaper first, like most people, you take the first job that you can, I was excited about that in terms of getting into editorial and writing. But my real dream was to somehow be on camera, but I didn’t have a family who was connected into that world or know how to network into that. And I just started talking about the idea of it. And I met the president of the Trial Lawyers Association, when I was working as a journalist in Orlando in Florida, so a far cry from the nation’s capital. But he was based in DC. And he said, If you ever get there, introduce, I’ll introduce you to a couple of people. And so I held him to that word. And I think networking is something that people often maybe shy away from, or they don’t think that they could really follow up once later, like it was for me, but I did. And that introduction, I’m still in touch with the woman that he introduced me to, in fact, she introduced me to someone on Capitol Hill, I ended up working as a congress, congressional aide for some time and worked for the Democratic Party. And then, again, Paquet, up that bigger dream, there was an intern at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, who his cousin was a news director’s assistant at the one of the local stations in Washington. But again, Washington, local news is national news from many perspectives because of what they’re covering. He introduced me to his cousin Lindsey, and I took that job as she was going into another job to be the secretary to the news director at that television station. So I wasn’t a reporter. I was starting out like everybody else. I’m ordering reporters notebooks, I’m ordering pens, I’m taking phone calls, and again, the power of those relationships, because that news director who hired me said, What do you want to be, and I told her, not your secretary forever, but this. And she says, I’m really glad that you’re not going to be satisfied with this role that you have higher ambitions. And she then helped encourage me to volunteer to stay on a weekend and answer phones at the assignment desk. And little by little, I got a writing position. And then I also had an opportunity to freelance right over at CNN and the Washington bureau. And that progressed and progressed. And then I was able to do some freelance reporting at the local, which was seen by CNN, and long story a little bit too long, I had my first offer as a freelancer, and ultimately, as a full time correspondent with CNN, and that was an amazing opportunity. And along the way, though, I’ve still kept in touch with those warm relative mentors and people because it’s so much the power of relationships that this coming Thursdays are required, we’re recording on a Tuesday, that guy who recommended me to his cousin at the local news station is now a lobbyist in Washington. And he is meeting with the CEO of an organization that I’m an executive director on on the board, because that’s the power of relationships decades later, you just never know,
oh, my godness thought is an incredible story. And I really want to just just kind of double click a little bit on a couple of things you said there. So first of all, the power of relationships and networking is something I think that is so overlooked by a lot of women in particular, I don’t know if if you see it if it’s more women or men, but I definitely see them a lot of women that I would work with, think if they just work hard, and they just put their head down and they just get the job done, that they’re gonna get recognized. Talk to me about your thoughts on networking and relationship building,
networking and relationship building is imperative. Because I often hear no, no matter what type you’re I’m in, I will hear people say, well, it’s not what you know, to you know, and guess what, it’s to everyone. It is a combination. Of course, it’s also important to know some things and I will certainly be advocating to build your capacities and your knowledge and your experience as well. And work visibly walk when you’re in a meeting that suck all the oxygen out of a room. But don’t hold yourself back. I know people listening right now, imagine to remember the time when they had an idea. They waited and then someone else presented that idea and it simply was a matter of probably courage, or a little bit of anxiety that they did have or didn’t have in order to actually say that. So women in particular, I do a lot of networking, relationship building, whatever you want to call it. workshops for executive clients in large multinational women in particular say they don’t feel that they’re empowered to network up simply reach out to someone within the organization even and say, Hey, I saw you at this town hall or I read about you in our newsletter and I find your path interesting. Could we just talk for 15 minutes through a virtual or real coffee? Most people I find, if they’re reached out to, they do respond, and they are willing to talk about themselves, because most of us like to talk about ourselves. And I think, then once you made that connection, don’t just sit on it. Think about how you can reach out to them again and in some other amount of time, how can you potentially add value, make a list of things that they shared about that might have been a common ground that you’ve had something that you can continue to build that relationship on, and even after you’re out of the organization, that person can still have great outside perspective, and know you a little bit and can continue to help guide you, and be informative and helpful to you along your way? Hmm.
I love that. I love what you said there about, you know, women being you know, I think you said something like being afraid to network up. And I would see that a lot too. And I think I think I’m curious, first of all, to hear what you think like, where do you think the fear comes from in terms of
networking up? Which because we live most of our lives in our heads. And I think most people my experiences, most people have defined themselves by things others have said about them, like a parent might have described in passing, the second child is shyer than that extroverted first child, for example, those things stick, I hear, with my C level clients themes of why do I not feel comfortable pushing my voice or projecting my voice or telling a personal story? Well, it was because when I was in fifth class, there was this time when a teacher called me out and put me in front of the class. And I didn’t feel comfortable, these things stay. And I’m not a clinical psychologist by any means. But I hear these themes again and again. So I think that planting descriptors in us, even if it’s by Well, meaning teachers, or coaches or parents can begin to craft our definition of ourselves. That’s one to how we continue to perpetuate that by our own self talk now saying, Oh, I’m just that shy person or I’m that or I’m whatever it is, it reduces our opportunity to meet the poacher and encourage her to explore and to fly for the first time, fill in the blank, I think a lot of us don’t feel comfortable in a networking situation, because we have never successfully reached out to someone that we don’t already know, in a networking environment virtually or specially in person, it can be really intimidating. And I think sometimes if you read some of the old networking tips, I find them not as helpful as what I tell to my clients. So for example, you’re in one of those in person networking things in for women in particular can often be intimidating if it’s just a sea of gray suits, as a client told me one time. So what do you do, people often say, oh, think of your elevator pitch and how you’re going to do yourself, you are never going to go up to a group of three men or three people that you don’t know, we’re in one of those little circles talking amongst themselves. And you stand outside that circle like a stalker, thinking that you’re gonna find that line, and you’re gonna go, Oh, hi, my name is Julia. And you’re never going to do that. Because they got to give you a moment’s breath. And then you can get embarrassed. And you’re going to kind of take away and that’s going to, of course, knock your courage. So what I say is, this is so obvious, and yet not so easy to do or not so obvious when you’re in the moment. It’s just good for circle and say, Hi, may I join you? Huh? Yeah. All in both people nature the audible, you say? They’re not going to hear you. Yeah, so I’m a join your Hi, can I join you? If you’re not this? Delighted? Maybe I would be. People are gonna stop. They’re gonna bring you in. And it’s me saying, Hey, don’t interrupt the conversation. What are you talking about? People often pick that up. And then at some point, oh, yeah, I’m Gina. I’m here for the first time. Those kinds of things are much more easy to do, because we can talk ourselves out of doing that 32nd elevator pitch in that moment, and I would say no.
Okay, so let’s just back up on that one. Because I guys, if you’re multitasking, please come back to me because what Gina said there is going to change your life. Literally. It’s going to change your life. Instead of putting all this pressure on yourself to have the right elevator pitch and know what to say. It’s literally about going to the circle and asking, may I join you or can I join you? Or can I join the conversation? And as you were saying that I remember somebody did that. And earlier on this year, I was at a business retreat in Beverly Hills of all places. And it was in this gorgeous Hollywood mansion, with all my business coach friends. And we were in this kind of group, and we had been in this group together for maybe three or four days. So I knew these girls. And this other girl came over to the conversation, and she literally came up confidently. And she just said, May I join you? And of course, she was like, she was American. So you know, Irish people, I think, I think, do you see that culturally? Like, let me just back up. So in that situation, she came over she may I join you? said, Yeah, I’m I still remember going, Oh, I just remember how it made me feel it made me feel okay. First of all, she has so much confidence that she’s asking, can she join this conversation. And number two, she was interested in what we were saying, I think that’s so important, too, is to actually listen, they’re not make it about you.
You know, I’m based in Ireland. So obviously, I’m American from my voice and my backstory of being from Indiana. So I’ve been based now in Ireland for almost 10 years, I’m on year nine. And initially, the first ever workshop I did was with a group of women professionals on body language. And we talked about standing up, all we talked about leaning in a little bit in our chairs were at an event or seated at a meeting, and some other gestures and things. And again, just to give them some world standard fundamentals. And I did have one woman say, Oh, we just don’t put ourselves forward. That’s not us culturally. And I thought, wait a minute. Because this is a global standard. This is not an American Standard. Being polite, and boys and mine and curious, are human attributes. The kick is and again, based in Ireland, but most of my clients are are all over the world. I just came back this past week from working with female leaders director level in Saudi Arabia, where these women weren’t even given the opportunity to drive, let alone actually share an office space with men until 2018. So real opportunity for anybody, not just women, by the way, but anyone to begin to say, the world is changing, the people are hoping for more transparency. And that’s not about being competent or cocky necessarily. It is about being calm, and poised, and kind and curious. And so, muscle memory, learn learn little techniques that I teach all over the world. But then most importantly of all, don’t just think them. So if you say, Okay, right, may I join you May I join you in your head, do you actually haven’t stood even in a mirror or put yourself on your phone, you’re going to feel corny, but who cares, and say, Hi may join you, when you hit the muscle memory that out loud, it is going to start to stick and become part of who you are. And I promise the first time that you do it, and someone like you said in your one in Beverly Beverly Hill that you looked at what she’s interested in us, here she is, because the people in the circle, most of them are open to meeting others, the people in your organization, most of them are interested in someone who’s interested in them. Most of my clients since the lockdown, and we didn’t do as many things in person, obviously, in 2020, I found them through reaching out to LinkedIn, your LinkedIn, and that was not even very normal back at 2019 2020. And now it’s very common to be asked to connect. And then now could we have a zoom in production. And after the Zoom introduction, it’s a series of conversations. But that’s how any relationship the relationship starts. And I think people get into their head, they think of all the reasons why they can’t or justify why they shouldn’t. And they hold themselves back. So don’t wrap yourself in culture any more than wrapping yourself in. Well, my mom said that I’m shy, therefore I can never be get a stronger volume. I think we most of us just need an opportunity. Begin to feel ourselves doing things a little bit differently. And I talked about how it defaults to me to keep right now like any of you listening, what’s your natural default, becoming a purposeful communicator is a little more design. Like when I had to learn how to drive on the other side of the road. When I moved to Ireland, I was doing a lot by instinct and I had to become much more focused as I’m coming up through around develop, and now it’s my new default. I can drive your stapling, haven’t I years driver’s license, my level of play and I wish I was talking to him before we jumped on this podcast. I’ve been working with him for about a year. And at the end of June, giving a big presentation to his global team coming up this week. And his style of presenting, we first got together was very rigid, very information based. And I almost cried as he was telling me the different introduction and elements that he had in it, he was setting up this town hall or this global meeting, coming up this week, because he was putting personality. He was doing personal reflections. He was commenting and name checking individuals and members in the room, it was so much more human. And I saw Jim Hawkins, because I’m actually starting to enjoy this. So that’s coming. It’s his new default. I’m so successful. I’m working myself out of the job with him. But
I amazing I love that because I think you’re so so right, you spoke about wrapping ourselves and culture. And one thing I hear a lot, because I have a lot of women in Ireland that I work with on the UK. But in Ireland, we have this rock ourselves and culture. It’s not how we do it. And a lot of the women I work with would be in American multinationals. And I’m all about positivity. I’m all about, you know, gratitude and celebration. And as a culture, Irish people, we, I suppose, came from like, we farm in times, and women weren’t allowed to vote and all of this and I see a lot of women in their 40s and 50s, in particular, carrying this shit, excuse my French with them to the present day. But what you just said was times have changed and the world has changed, and therefore we need to change with that. So with that being said, you know, like, what would you say, from a leadership communication standpoint? What are the biggest challenges that you would see leaders face? And how can we
overcome them? Look, couple of things. First of all, this rookie negative self talk, acknowledge it, identify it from words poem, though, it’s always important to unpack these things, and say, okay, like you just said, that came from our past, it was perpetuated probably by previous generations, I happen to have an Irish other half partner, boyfriend these days. And he often when we first were together, would begin anything, even the slightest bit, proud of an achievement that he did with this phrase, will self praise is no praise. And then he would go on saying that the say what you’re happy about? And I think sometimes we have to, first of all, heighten our awareness of what our default is. When,
how can we do that? So I tip Sorry.
Yeah. So the depressive neutral advisor, are you asking here that you respect? Probably, I would say stay clear from a family member unless they’re one who is not afraid to give you some straight talk? Ask, what are some of my behaviors? What are some of my patterns of communication? You see? Do I start everything off with a self limiter? Before I even say anything? Do I talk with my sheet when I’m talking? Do I mumble my words? Do I ask follow up questions on the side of them and my soul extroverted, that I never give someone a chance to dig deeper when we’re in a conversation or No, I immediately jump in with my you’ve done 10 things I’ve done 11 things, you know, kind of best, better version or a different story. A lot of times people that are wanting to connect, instead of asking a follow up question like oh, what else you’re telling me more, they jump in with? Oh, yeah, I’ve done something like that, and which is I get the instinct. And yet, a better connector is to ask more of the other person to really cultivate that depth of interest. So ask for advice. If you’ve ever done a presentation, I would certainly put yourself if you haven’t had an opportunity to put yourself on video before, ask your team or ask a friend to even record you if you can. So you can start to see some of your structure and delivery, your body language, your projection, your voice quality, because there are things that you can do to again, develop that it’s living in harmony with you still liking yourself, and also thinking powers and things that I can do more purposefully and replicate it in a practical way. So prior to find a way to heighten your awareness, and then just pick one small thing, because I’ve also had clients say, well, now I’m thinking about hiring up my words, bringing in more personal stories, thinking of ways to engage the audience, plus, I’m thinking of how I’m Standing and I’m looking and eye contact and facial expression, which I never thought about before. And now I’m freaking out and I can’t do anything. So it’s a lot sometimes like learning a better or different golf swing that the first time you’re going to start doing it, it’s going to be a little bit more uncomfortable and come to something like when I was driving the car initially in Ireland, because I was 10, and two and really, really focused and it wasn’t as fluid as it is now. But trust that we’ve got time and incremental practice and continue coaching, if you can get it, you will begin to go from default, might net awareness, stoke that desire and little by little discipline, become more purposeful, and what you’ll get is those stronger responses and that positive reaction to what you’re doing that reinforces the choices that you’re making. And that’s really exciting, because most executives have worked really hard to develop their capacities, and academics in their fields of interest. And they simply haven’t had exposure, or curation or cultivation, or care around how to connect how they communicate about it, or connect with their team or their colleagues or do direct reports. And that’s a learned skill, like anything else. Mm hmm.
Absolutely. Like when you just said there a second ago that I had this vision, when you were talking about walking into a meeting, and you were saying your clients are thinking, you know, do I need to you know, they’re conscious of how they’re showing up in themselves. They’re conscious of how they’re speaking, they’re conscious of what they’re going to say next and their power and etc, etc. Like when you said, you know, it takes time, you said something along the lines of it takes time, like how so let’s say we need to work on all of us, let’s say we need to work on slowing down, bring in more personality, active listening, and involved in the team. Let’s say we have to work on the whole package. Okay, where where should somebody start?
First start is that self awareness. So that’s that self talk. That I mean, the first I say this all the time to my clients, the first person that you’re talking to in the morning, and the last person you’re talking to at night, is you internally, probably, but it is you, though, I want to have them understand who they think they are, then I also want them to that heightened awareness thing is, let’s find out how they think they learned that other people think they are because most executive branch isn’t what we necessarily just think it’s that external observation of collective experiences others are having about us. And that becomes our reputation or our brand. So how to bridge that gap is important. And then to take again, those small steps of you mentioned active listening. So that is, again, what is active listening, putting down phone, when you’re talking to somebody else, removing those distractions, trying to look at their face, not stare at them blankly, but really be trying to read them while they’re speaking to you thinking about a follow up question, or a deeper dive that you can have while you’re listening and not jumping to advice, which a lot of executives are prone to do because they think they already know the answer and the solution. But that’s not empowering, and enabling a team member. And so that active listening skill is a great one to start with. Because again, what you’re doing is you’re heightening your external observer mentality. And that’s requires a lot of focus. So that it’s easy to to get get distracted, we can be listening to someone and then for a second, we hear a ping on our phone, or we think of something else that happened before we remember that we were supposed to make that call. And we don’t even hear what they’re saying for the last 20 seconds of their thought. So shaping yourself really engaged is a challenge, especially in all of the distractions that we have in our world today. I think that’s the number one thing, and then starting to mark your progress, if you can, and no journaling. Everybody talks about it, and few people do it. But even just a little sentence after a meeting of what you felt like you did well, so you can continue to replicate and reinforce that. What you could have done better. Oh, I took them off. Oh, I looked at my watch. Oh, I brought my phone to the meeting and I forgot to turn off the notifications, even though small things. Once you’ve identified them, made a decision around them backed up that decision. It becomes easier to accelerate that version of you that you want to become over time because you’re basically unpacking the blocks, examining the blocks And then repacking and restocking those blocks with purpose. Hmm,
oh my god, I love that. And you know what’s come into my mind, as you’re saying that Gina is, I’m imagining, like the CEOs that you work with. And I literally just had a call this morning with a client, and we were talking all about this, I told her, You recommend the podcast, she really speaks fast, and she wants to come across as more calm, more in control, more composed. And when we were talking about what makes a great leader, this vision came to my mind, just when you were speaking about it was like this CEO, who is taking the time to pause, to reflect afterwards to go, where did I do? Well, first of all, and let’s celebrate that. And then where did I? Where can I improve? Do you see that with top like level of executives, like when you look at, say, the sea level versus people who are trying to break through to that level? What’s the difference in terms of the, I suppose the level of investment they put into themselves personally versus
this level here? Well, it’s very fashionable, thank goodness, these days, for top level executives, to invest in themselves with an executive coach, whether it’s a man on management, I wear the management hat, and I wear the delivery performance of hat. Depending on a lot of times, of course, they’re intertwined, because you really truly can’t do digital transformation or organizational change. As a top level leader, if you built the communication strategy. And ability requires desire, that I’m not a fan of the fake it till you make it thing because you happen to have the desire and then that doesn’t make it fake, that makes it genuine. Do I love that? Yeah, I hate that fake it till you make it. It’s such a glib sort of approach to these things. And people say, Oh, I don’t want to fake it. It’s not fake. If you are genuinely thinking about the connection you’re trying to make, and that you have that desire, and it’s for the positive leadership legacy that most people want, then there’s great opportunity there to make these little changes, and attract them over time. So again, it becomes your default, it becomes your default. That key level executive I mentioning to you in the coaching session I had a moment ago, who is now thinking that way. I gave him very few notes. When we were first talking about his introductions for his big global meeting a few weeks ago, what he chose to do with it largely came from him story and personal reflection, and made the choices to have named check people out in the audience, as we’ve discussed months ago. But he’s doing it now more and more on his own. And as I said, He’s, hey, he didn’t pay he loved it. He said he’s starting to enjoy it. So it’s a process. But the more that he says that he can do it, and it doesn’t feel fake, and it’s not cheating, more than here that keeps reinforcing of who he can become what he can continue to do. That’s constant process. I certainly am not fully formed. And I’ve been working on this and for decades, even past tense, my my CNN career in this leadership, purposeful communications. Positivity is a choice. And it’s not easy. People say, Oh, you’re so happy, clappy. No, I’m not. No, I’m not. There are plenty of times where I’m disappointed or I’m tired, or my teenage daughter is not doing what I was hoping she would get there. Like it’s, it happens to all of us. And yet, as a leader, it’s important to to know the goal and assume that role because people are looking to us, even when we’re not presenting, they’re looking, who was when we’re sitting, as you said, and we’re seeing, are we looking like we care about the speaker in a big meeting? Or are we looking bored or checked out? or what have you, and the more that we can think about our impact? The more I think and positive impact happen sometimes when you least expect it. And I think that’s not to make people feel overwhelmed, but to make people feel excited about the opportunity that they have. In a world where there’s so much that we can’t control it, why would we not try to take a little more control of the version of ourselves that we bring to the situations in order to get that mutually beneficial outcome that most people do want? So if you think it’s going to be a bad meeting, and you act like it’s going to be a bad meeting
exactly, I like that you’re so right and when you were talking about the fake it till you make it thing right Let’s just unpack that a little bit. Because I think if we can solve that piece for people, I think it’d be so powerful. What what you said was, it’s if it’s if you have a desire, it’s genuine. And if it’s genuine, well, then it’s real. And I just think that’s super powerful. What I always say there, too, is it’s about embodying like your next level self. So it’s not that you’re being disingenuous, or you’re being inauthentic to who you are. Because this is what I hear all the time, too. It’s like, oh, not being authentic. It’s actually not, it’s actually more common back to who you really are. Because that version of you lives inside anyway, you’re just choosing to embody us.
Perfect. You know, I had a privilege last year of getting my first TEDx talk. And it was on the topic, I call it the myth of authenticity because of this word. Yeah, let’s do it. This word is all over the place so much that it says everything in means nothing. Oh, the authentic self, the authentic self. What does that even mean? It doesn’t mean that if I’m in an argument of someone, a teenager, that I have a right to show up at my next meeting, super angry and frustrated. That’s just how I feel that’s my authentic self. I’m a grown up I have choices I can make. So let’s think about, again, the version of us, we all have lots of different versions of ourselves, your a lot of people are much more animated and personal when they’re with their family. And then suddenly they get into that visits monotone, distances sort of speak when they’re in a business situation. And they wonder then why they’re not getting the promotion, or they’re not engaging their employees as much because they stopped short of bringing their human selves to that particular meeting, if you’re a leader, and you’re not being aware that you set the tone of every meeting with your choice of what you say, or what you don’t say, that’s on you. So let’s get excited about the version or the definition of authenticity that I talked about with my clients is this. Authenticity is the degree to which a person’s actions are consistent with their identified values, and their desired outcome, though, it requires you to know what your values are, don’t make 1000s of them, because you can’t put your mask or pick your flag on 1003 maps that you really stand behind. I’m a determined optimist, not a default optimist, there’s a difference. I’m one who practices being Prime, and I want to be an upstander, not a bystander, those are my three. So if I see an injustice, I’m going to try to see if I can do something and not endangering my life, I’m going to try to do it. If there’s the person that’s looked really flustered at the coffee shop, I’m going to probably say, Hey, how’s it going, I’m really busy day to day, I’m gonna try to be aware of his surroundings. And I think the more that we can start identifying who we are being clear about the goal, or our communication event, and also being very aware that pretty much everything that we do is a communication event. It’s not just the big meeting, or it’s not just the media opportunity, it’s a little interactions where we start to think more actively that build that muscle memory of how we behave and how your stake issues. So what are your values? What’s the goal? What are your action vision, like you said, Lucy, externally, that reflect the internal version of you. And that requires sometimes making some choices? to smile more pleasantly, when you sitting in an audience than you might normally because you don’t think that anybody’s watching? But they are?
Yes, yes. Yes. Yes, they are watching 1,000,000%. And you don’t want as well, like, you know, obviously, we’ve been speaking about how to be authentic. We’ve been speaking about, you know, how to be better communicator, when you look at the top executives that you’ve worked with the ones that like think of somebody who really springs to mind that you’re really proud of that you’re like, Oh my God, this person hasn’t don’t give me like five traits that that person has that my listeners can try to work on.
That Okay, so either I’m gonna pull from a couple I’m actually gonna pull from three but we’re gonna start with Bill Ford, Jr, the Executive Chairman of Ford. When I met him, of course, this is a man who would have to work for one thing because his family legacy and the wealth from that inheritance that he was born with, would have made him a like a lot of second or third generational, wealthy families. The guy who isn’t caring and isn’t giving. When he when I met him, it was actually in Ireland for an event that he was coming here. He came with his wife and he came with his two sons. It’s the right away, he’s making choices to bring family together with just showing a lot about his internal values. When she chose to speak, he stood the here’s a performative piece that I love. He stood, not within behind the podium, not with any notes. He didn’t pace aggressively across the stage. He planted in competence, but also in there, because he looked across, he didn’t just look like a robot out to some part of the wall in the back of the stage. And he spoke with knowledge. But he also spoke with heart. And I talked a lot about the research around leadership communications is how do you strike that balance between your credibility and your authority, so your capabilities, your understanding of the sector of the industry, and compassion and warmth. So your care of your employees, your care of the hard work that’s going on in the care of consumers that are using your services, your products, that balance is really important. And I think that he really struck it. Also, the former Global Head of of EA, why Mark, shoot Weinberger, I think I have to double check on his last day, I met him at an event. And Eric Eric, when he was the global head of v1. And yet he also was vulnerable. And real enough, when we were sitting together at a table before I was going to be facilitating a fireside chat with him and a couple of other economic financial experts. And I’m no subject matter expert in that area. I was intimidated. And I mentioned to him that he right away said, you know, I’m the only global CEO of this organization who’s never had an accounting degree. forthright enough and open it up and he wasn’t posturing or being the guy that everybody has to think is the top dog. He was comfortable enough in himself to be real, which I think that’s where I like that bit of authenticity is lovely.
It’s that vulnerability as well. Sorry to interrupt. It’s like, I think what you just said there, he started with vulnerability.
Yeah. Then finally, there was the former CEO of Huffington of the Huffington publication, Jared Bruce, I shared the stage with him a number of years ago. And again, really smart, really savvy, very digital, and also willing, and wanting to talk about anything I said, you know, what are some of the questions that are off limits? He’s nothing. I’m an open book, ask away. And I think when you are competent, and yet you’re also caring. You make purposeful choices in your communications. And people see it, and they feel it, and it resonates with them. Mm hmm.
Oh, my God, amazing. So it’s about being confident about being authentic about being real about being vulnerable. What was the first one you said family about bringing, bringing some of your values into the organization that is, and you know, what’s so funny, I bet my listeners are listening to this. And they were expecting tactics they were expecting, maybe you know, like performative tips. But actually, everything that you have said in this entire interview has all come back to the human stuff. It’s all come back to being yourself. It’s all come back to being authentic, it’s come back to showing who you really are. And with that compassion that care, like you said, So I absolutely. I’m just so thrilled to hear you say that because I preach this stuff, too. And now to have a summary like you, like cemented, all makes me so happy.
Thank you, Lucia. You know, there’s a lot I always say the success pie is infinite. And there is a lot it’s not about being competitive. being competitive is about being collaborative, because there are 8 billion people on this planet. And we can collectively together say, and reinforce these ideas of bringing more humanity, of listening with more care of asking follow up questions with our tactics to a degree, but they become again, who you are, and then they’re not tactics, but we have to learn skills, like anything else. So why did we shy away from Oh, I can’t project my voice because I’ve never predicted my voice. Do you want to be clear and understood by your audience? Are you speaking to second language English speakers? If you’re a mother tongue, English speaker, then it’s important to project its projection automatically helps you slow down. So is that a tactic? Or is that a caring behavior that you’re adopting? However I see it, I want to encourage it, that we can underline it, we can reinforce it and we can replicate it. So that again, you can hums you over time. I never say Washington. anymore. And that doesn’t make me fake. And if you’re saying it, and then I’m saying it, and then then maybe a third person says it, and one person finally gets it that wouldn’t have otherwise, I’m happy that someone else is saying it. Because we’re, my mission now is to help people become more confident, and comfortable and caring communicators, because we need more of that. Yes, one another, we need it. And there are tools that anybody can learn, and begin to develop. And that’s what’s so exciting. It’s not an American way. It’s not a extrovert way. It’s the more connecting, communicating and caring way. And there’s a difference. Yeah,
that’s like you said earlier, it’s just about being human, right? It’s just about being human. I’ve been
in 45, maybe 47 Different countries in person and more of that virtually. And when you get to the real person, who’s just trying to improve their life for themselves and their families, in whatever career, whatever city they’re in, that is the magic. And that is where I hope to help those people be able to recall that out more purposefully do others because it doesn’t matter where you’re from, you’d have this common bond, I find much more common with other people from other places in any sector, than I do the differences. Oh,
I love that. I absolutely love that you are I can see why you do so well. You You are the epitome of an authentic communicator, a real person, I love you for sharing your story. You know, even just your own instinct, not even your insecurity because you own then you openly use it as an example which is going to be so powerful because it gives other people permission to share theirs too. So just as we finish up, I would love to know what is I always ask my guests this what is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
I think one of the best things that happened to me with early in my career out that thinking out loud here, one of the lines that I made a mistake. And then a live news Casper I was one of the writers that I miss wrote, I I’ll never forget, it was Federico Pena, the Secretary of the Clinton cabinet and I wrote his name is as Frederico instead of Federico and the the anchor on air, saw it read it correctly. And there have been many other anchors, who during the commercial break, then would turn around and flame the person who made the mistake. And the whole idea of correcting in private, because Ron Gardner who is to this day, a treasured Mike one of my treasured first mentors. He took me aside quietly, and he didn’t knock my competence, he built my competence. And that is really important because we especially as we get more influence or more impact or more responsibility as a leader, a small offhand comment, negative in really for someone a small often comment that’s uplifting and packages, the same correction but in a different way, can really spur someone on their way to be better to work harder. And I think that’s really important. We have a lot of power in even our simplest of words. And I think it’s remember that love it.
Absolutely love it. Tina, thank you so much for your time. This has been amazing. And where can people find you?
Thank you. So you can find me wherever you use social media. For example, if you’re looking to connect with me on LinkedIn or Instagram or formerly known as Twitter now x or even a little on tick tock are getting a little more out there on that I happily happily engaged with you also, my language of leadership.org platform is open to anyone, a video content library that takes people through an incremental journey of awareness and application around body language storytelling, executive presence, gamification, any business writing, you can really get your feet stuck into that and develop at your own pace. But anywhere that people can find me I promise I will happily respond and whatever I can do the support I’m Hope I can.
Amazing. Well listen, thank you so much, guys. We will link all of Gina’s details in the show notes anyway Do not you have been an incredible guest I thank you genuinely for coming on the three six leadership podcast and I look forward to chatting to you again soon.