Pause. It’s fine not to be perfect.

Business meeting around a table

The modern world continues to heighten our expectation of ourselves.

The pressures of high-demand roles, along with the portrayal of success that is common across social media, is making us anxious of making mistakes – of being the fallible exception in a society of perfect managers.

As Liz Jackson MBE, star of Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire series, recently told us: people sometimes shy from big goals because of the risk they could fail. “People don’t love failure in business”, she says.

An interview for CMI with psychologist Richard Reid has revealed a few handy tips that will help you seem poised but not perfect. This encourages people to be the same with you.

Think about your script

When you’re summarising yourself and your role, Reid advises short sentences and attention to structure – but without being too polished, which can come across as inauthentic.

Effective leaders have some thought to a structure when presenting about themselves, he says, but they can also read a room and adapt how they perform it.

Pause for effect

Reid finds pauses very important. When tuned rightly, pauses can keep a listener hooked. Captivating leaders appear at ease with time and dictating their own pace.

Pauses also provide an opportunity for listeners to process what they have heard, or – if they want – to interrupt.

Look before you leap

But if you’re a listener, is it wise to interrupt? It can be quite easy to do so benevolently when you hear something you recognise or that relates to you.

But this can interrupt flow and prevent people from saying something more valuable. Reid says that giving people room to talk “will encourage them to think positively”.

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