Log into LinkedIn (or Facebook or any other social media platform) and you will be greeted with a multitude of videos recorded via smartphone, tablet, or computer.
While many of these videos contain valuable information aimed at helping viewers do, be, or have something they desire (wealth, success, peace of mind, etc.)...
Most suffer from the same shortcoming that limits their effectiveness.
The person recording themselves are watching themselves on their device rather than staring into their device's camera.
This has the effect of recording the entire video looking down rather than making eye contact with your intended audience.
This reveals a critical point to always remember when striving to achieve professional mastery:
Always be aware of how others will perceive you, your behaviour, and your actions.
The Important Role Of Self-Awareness
A leading source of interpersonal conflict, relationship dysfunction, and employee disengagement is a lack of self-awareness on the part of one or many parties involved.
Self-awareness is the result of self-reflection and self-reflection can be a difficult, even painful, exercise for those who engage in it honestly.
Yet, it is critical to carefully and honestly examine how we affect others and how others perceive us.
Only when we understand how others see us can we determine if who or what they see is in alignment with who we are or what we are trying to communicate.
Consider this example:
Imagine you walk into your boss' office to chat about a great idea you had. As you explain your idea, your boss doesn't look up from his or her work, doesn't make eye contact, and responds with a lot of "yups" and "oks".
How would you feel?
More likely, you will be pissed off that your boss didn't give you the professional courtesy and respect to halt what he or she was working on to listen.
Now...from your boss' point of view, he or she may have been listening intently and sincerely considering your idea...
But this wasn't how their actions were perceived by you, was it?
Alternatively, imagine your boss still responds to your idea with the same "yups" and "oks" but does so with intense eye contact and the occasional nod of the head.
You are likely to leave that meeting thinking that your boss received your idea well, valued your suggestion, and respects you.
If your boss was more aware of how his or her actions and behaviour affected you, he or she would have done the latter.
This is why self-awareness is at the heart of professional mastery.
A Common Trait Of Leadership
Ask any employee to describe the manager they respect most as a leader and they will describe someone who makes them feel important, smart, respected, and valued.
For some, making others feel special is a natural trait.
For most of us, however, it is a learned skill that few do really well, let alone master.
If this is an area you feel you could do better in, here is how to learn and/or hone this Professional Mastery skill:
- Engage in honest self-examination and carefully consider how others may perceive your treatment of them....See it from their point of view, not yours.
- Consider what behaviours others exhibit towards you that make you feel valued, respected, important, and special when you interact with them.
- Consciously make an effort in every interaction you have with other people, both in person and via recorded videos, to imagine yourself through their eyes. See your actions. Hear your words.
- Continuously reflect on whether the actions and words you are watching and listening to yourself exhibit would make you feel special.
- Pay attention to the unspoken communication of others to get a sense of whether they agree or disagree with your self-assessment.
Consider When Recording Videos
When I watch a video on LinkedIn, I always do so with a critical eye.
I have seen far too many professionals share incredible content that will never be received by their intended audience because they fail to consider how they will be perceived.
When I see someone staring down throughout the video, I know they are looking at themselves, not me...the viewer.
The underlying message is that they are more interested in themselves than me, their audience...
And this is definitely NOT an effective form of engagement.
If this is something you discover you are "guilty" of...self-absorption likely isn't what you want others to perceive in your video so please...look at the camera on your device...
Let me feel like you are speaking to me.
If you wouldn't look down at the floor while speaking to me in person, don't do it in a video.
Make me feel valued, respected, and special.