The 7-Step Tune-Up Technique comes down to this one question. How do you present your best self at work?  You’ve read the previous 6 posts and now it’s time to bring it all together. How do you line up your actions and your intentions so people see you as you want to be at work?

They’re reading your body language

Start by paying attention to your body language. So much of life and work is social thinking – people constantly reading each other’s non-verbal signals and choosing their actions accordingly. It can be exhausting! Body language is where it starts. Since seeing is be52lieving, I’ve listed more visuals than usual at the bottom of this post to give you some great examples of body language.

So, let’s begin with making a good impression when you enter a room. Are you walking in calmly, or are you rushing in, stomping your feet, huffing and puffing? Are your arms crossed, your eyebrows furrowed, and your mouth in a straight line? All behaviors that say: Stay away from me!

Think of something funny

If you want to be perceived as calm, in control, and approachable, take a deep breath, lower your shoulders, relax your face. Try this. Think of something funny. For example, when I was recording videos, I would think of a really bad joke or something my son said when he was little so I would start my videos grinning and it worked! When you think of something funny, your whole body immediately relaxes. It also shifts your brain to a positive place.  It’s a great tool to keep in your arsenal when you get stressed. When you enter any situation looking relaxed and in control, people see that you’re ready to communicate and be part of the team.

Eye contact

You’ve entered the room, what’s next? Now it’s about body language and eye contact. When you want to indicate that you’re a person people can talk to, someone who wants to be part of the conversation, and contribute to the team, you make eye contact with people. When someone is talking, you look at them for several seconds (if you don’t want to look them in the eyes, look at their nose or their ears), then glance around the room, noticing how other people are listening. Paying attention to eye contact can help you judge when it’s appropriate to add a comment and if people are listening to you. If the person you’re listening to is a good communicator, they will be looking around the room, making eye contact with various people. Again, eye contact creates connection.

Be positive, make an impact

And it’s not just about body language. It’s also about telegraphing your intentions through your voice and your actions. When you are in a meeting or talking with someone, make sure you let them finish what they’re saying before you offer input. And, when you say something, start off with something positive. Take the time to validate the other ideas that have been presented. Say something like “Wow, Amanda, that sounds really interesting. I’m wondering about……” and present your idea. When you validate the person first, they will be much more receptive to what you have to say, even if you’re saying something negative.

Oh, and if you have something negative to say, never ever ever say or look like you think other people’s ideas are stupid…even if they are. Take a second. Breathe. Think of a way to make your suggestion in a positive way. And if you can’t, don’t say anything. Really. Just stay quiet. It will pay off for you.

Watch out! Don’t react!

There will be times when you are stressed or just desperate for people to understand your point-of-view. Watch out. At times like these, you will find yourself reacting to the situation with the strongest, worst version of yourself. If you’re naturally talkative, you’ll start talking over people. If you’re bold or assertive, you’ll find yourself taking control and forcing your agenda on people. If you’re passive, you’ll shut down.

Instead of reacting to the situation, stop. Take a step back. Observe your feelings and the situation. Take a minute and make a conscious decision about how you want to move forward – remembering how you want people to see you. Then move forward.

Act like a part of the team – offer and ask for help

When you take the time to be pleasant, make eye contact, validate ideas, make suggestions appropriately, and monitor your reactions you show that you want to be part of the team. And the way to really finesse the team part? Know how to offer and ask for help. I talked about this in last week’s post, so I’m going to recap it here. When you ask for help, make sure you can explain what you want help with. It’s good to ask for help with projects, when you’re brainstorming, even when you’re making a presentation. People feel valued when they’re asked to help. They feel like part of the team. And, after you’ve received the help, thank the person who helped you.

Now go be you!

That’s it. In this 7 Step Tune-Up Technique you’ve examined your work. You’ve thought about how people perceive you and your work. And, you’ve determined what you want people to understand about you and your work. Finally, you figured out ways to help people understand you better.

Each step helped you match your actions to your intentions so everyone has the opportunity to perceive you the way you want them to. You have pinpointed how you want to be seen at work.

Now, go out and make it happen. Do ferocious work.