One of the communication concerns clients have shared with me is about being able to come across as an expert in their field without turning people off.

In other words, they want to be able to speak with authority without sounding like a jerk.

This is the topic of the first online meeting of my new Coffee and Coaching Club.

Since there are unfortunately many ways of expressing oneself less effectively than one would like, I had to pick the three most unfortunate examples I could think of, and then provide strategies for avoiding those pitfalls.

Here are 3 types of totally avoidable communication styles:

  1. Disorganized Speakers – They don’t have good organizational skills and they don’t get the help they need in order to be organized. Their message wanders all over the place; and in order to cover everything they really want to talk about, they tend to go way over time. And worst of all, they waste everybody else’s time as well.
  2. Braggarts – They bore everyone with the list of their accomplishments. And then I did this and then I did that and then I got this award, then I got that award. They come across as self-centered narcissists who enjoy showing off. And worst of all, of course, it how very boring and annoying it is to hear somebody go through a whole list of their accomplishments as they try to establish their authority and expert status.
  3. Despots – They boss everyone around to do this, do that. They don’t want to hear anyone else’s ideas. Only their ideas are good ideas. And these types of people have to be right even when they’re wrong. Facts don’t matter. Other people’s ideas aren’t kosher; and they are really annoying, especially if they are in charge of a committee, program or department.

For each of these types of unfortunate behaviors, I provide an antidote:

  1. If your organizational skills aren’t stellar – Here’s my advice: Get really clear on the message you want to share. If you are giving a presentation, organize your points so that they make sense. And three is a good number. Learn the basic template for effective presentations and follow it to the letter.
  2. To share your glory without sounding like a braggart – Let other people introduce you and say how great you are. This is where a prepared introduction that you hand to the presenter comes in really handy; because you can include in it some of the wonderful things you’ve done and accomplished, awards you’ve gotten and so forth. In other words, let someone else do the bragging about you while you stand there smiling modestly.
  3. When you’re the person in charge – When you’re working as part of a group of people, think about being a team leader instead of a boss. Speak in terms of suggestions and ideas and invite other people to share ideas and make suggestions. Solicit other people’s ideas and opinions; and even if they differ from your own (perhaps especially if they differ from your own), be willing to respect them and be willing to acknowledge that you might possibly not know all the right answers.

I’d love for you to join us in real time so that you can pose questions right during the program. We meet the first and third Tuesdays of the month, at noon ET / 11 am CT / and 9 am PT.

The rule of the sessions is no selling, just sharing. Get your free access to any of the live sessions at CoffeeandCoaching.Club.