Personal Impact for Professionals – how to get it and how to use it.
At its simplest, having personal impact is about being good at getting people to like you. It’s about being flexible in your approach to meeting strangers, colleagues, clients and friends and being skilled enough to leave them with a warm impression of you, whatever mood they are in.
Having personal impact is about being able to –
- Meet the frostiest client and leave them ‘thawed-out’.
- Give a presentation to a group of cynical people, show them that we understand, care and still have a point to make that they might learn from, even if they disagree.
- Manage our feelings about the behaviour of other people so that we have a chance to make things better at the end of our meeting, than they seemed at the start.
Personal Impact is a mixture of likeability, sincerity and empathy.
The proof of it is in the impression that a person leaves with the people that they meet, not their own impression of how good they are with people. If people say you have it, you do.
Is Personal Impact important in professional life?
Not always. You don’t have to have impact to be successful. There are very many successful people without a shred of it. In fact, a cold detachment from the feelings of others can often be an advantage in life and business if you want to ‘win’ all of the time.
But in ‘people’ businesses, and the professions, where we have clients, colleagues, seniors and employees, PI is a multiplier of all of your other hard-earned skills. PI doesn’t replace professional competence, but it does add to it. Given the choice between 2 people to work with, we always choose warmth and sincerity ahead of another’s colder, but similar competence.
How do we get more Personal Impact?
People with great personal impact have knowledge, skills and habits in three broad areas –
- They understand the effect that their energy, actions and language have on every person they meet.
- They show that they are as interested in other people as they are in themselves.
- They have well-developed social skills– they know how to start conversations, and talk about themselves, only when asked, and in a balanced way.
However much Personal Impact we have, we can always have more –
We all tend to ‘fit’ more easily with certain groups and types of people. Some of us are happier in a professional setting than a dinner party, for others the opposite is true. People with real PI tend to be as capable over the broadest range of social situations. Developing our basic PI skills is often as simple as having a set of ‘rules’ to follow with new or different people, based upon what we do when we’re with people we know well.
Good ‘basic technique’ is the root of many skills, sports and arts, and as we’re learning theses skills as children, we’re forced to learn the basics by repetition and rote. We seldom get such training in social situations when we’re adults but we can help ourselves if we feel the need. How?