Everyone has a personal style, but not everyone is aware of how their personal style affects their interactions and relationships with others. Some people don’t look you in the eyes because they were told as a child that it’s rude to stare, but don’t realize it can come across as being uninterested or lacking confidence. Others don’t realize the red onions they love to eat make them almost unbearable to be around afterwards. And still others who grew up in a “touchy, feely” household as a child may not understand that they make you feel uncomfortable when they always touch you…in a non-sexual way, of course.
We all have blinders with our personal style – sorry, there’s no way around it. But the trick is to evaluate yourself when others are around, and if you’re gutsy enough, ask other people their opinions. Pay attention to how they respond to what you say and what you do. Do you catch them ending the group conversation when you show up? If so, pay attention to your body language, facial expressions, and even body odor! Or, could it be that you have difficulty keeping information to yourself and others know it too?
For instance, to show others I can relate to what they’re saying, I will often mention a similar story in my own experiences to the one they’re describing. But since I now know this can come off as self-centered, I’m always working to not do that. Am I successful – sometimes, but I’m always working on it. To combat this bad habit even more, I really try to make sure I ask questions to help ensure they know I’m interested in what they have to say…and off-set my shortcoming in case I slip up.
Good professional relationships are important….vital! If you examine yours and aren’t happy with what you see, it might be a good time to examine yourself to see where you can make improvements. Remember, as you point at others, there are always three fingers pointing back at you!
Until next time...