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Managing Image, Perceptions, Credibility & Trust, Part 2

Image is not just superficial stuff, it’s also includes the foundational.

Rich Drinon Leadership Communication

SDS presentation-creationBuilding Credibility & Trust with Others

Ethics, Credibility & Trust

Sooner or later you’ll be faced with making an ethical decision. That decision could impact your relationship with followers, customers and other organizational stake holders. It may involve choices about your product, services and image or your competition, direction and mission. These concerns call for ethics in action and building credibility, reputation and trust in yourself and your organization.  When faced with an ethical dilemma, you’re challenged to figure out what is right and wrong and good and bad in regard to your motives, actions and outcomes.

Legal, Moral or Ethical

Some choices or decisions also have legal implications.  Sometimes things are legal but may not seem moral or ethical. Some choices may seem justified ethically or morally but are not lawful. Consider the case of a journalist who follows the ethics of “off the record” and “protecting one’s…

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If You Can’t Communicate Effectively, How Can You Lead Exceptionally?! #1

SDS presentation-creationI’ve asked many times, “If you can’t communicate effectively, how can you lead exceptionally?”  Communication is so integral to leadership that it’s impossible, to have the later without the former.  Let’s face it, many people overlook how the three little building blocks of communication work – for or against them – on a continuous basis.  Those three little building blocks, that make a big difference, are non-verbal, vocal and verbal communication.  Here are some key points.

First, non-verbal communication includes things that don’t necessarily come out of your mouth.  Primarily body language, facial expressions and how you look, walk and act.  Secondly, vocal communication includes the endless variations of tones (tone of voice) that can be expressed according to your feelings about a person or situation.  And, thirdly, verbal communication is the actual words that come out of your mouth – for better or worse!

Here’s what you need to know about using the building blocks:

  • When you communicate a “matched message,” or when these elements are in harmony with each other, you’ll usually be perceived as credible, believable and understandable.  When one or more of these building blocks doesn’t match the others, you’re sending a “mixed message” that causes you to be received as less understandable and believable and your message as less reliable.  Harmonious messages make for more effective communication than do mixed ones.  But, every moment somewhere on the planet one human is sending a mixed message to another individual or group of people in a passive-aggressive or deliberately manipulative way to get a certain reaction.  Perhaps your job is to watch for the cues, read behind the clues and try to figure out what the person is saying.

But, of course, every moment somewhere on the planet one human is sending a mixed message to another individual or group of people in a passive-aggressive or deliberately manipulative way to get a certain reaction. 

  • These building blocks are always at work. There’s no escaping the fact you are going to send messages whenever others are watching (and of course even when they are not).   Everything communicates, and you are always communicating!

Everything communicates, and you are always communicating!

  • You can take control of communication by learning to manage how you are coming across.  Sometimes it means slowing down or calling time out to get centered before expressing yourself.  Other times it requires conjuring up some enthusiasm for the topic of a conversation to infuse the message with the right degree of energy.  At times you may need to communicate with yourself through positive “self-talk” to gain momentary confidence that “you can do it!”

Although the focus of this blog is the importance of the three building blocks – non-verbal, vocal and verbal communication – it’s apparent that many factors influence your degree of harmony when communicating.  Those factors include state-of-mind, confidence, familiarity with the people or situation, your status with another individual or audience size.   But more on these in another blog…



Managing Image, Perceptions, Credibility & Trust, Part 1

Everything communicates. Before you even open your mouth, image is at play or work sending signals for better or worse…

Rich Drinon Leadership Communication

SDS presentation-creationManaging Image & Perceptions

Image is inescapable.  For better or worse – every leader has one.  The leader’s words, tone and actions are always being scrutinized and interpreted by others.  The purpose of this article is to help you understand the dynamics of image, making a favorable impression, dealing with misperceptions and building credibility and trust with others.

Making a Favorable First Impression

It only takes a few moments for someone to form an impression of you.  Within a few seconds, another person has seen or heard you, screened you according to his or her worldview and decided how to proceed with you.  You are either “in” or “out” from the start of the “relationship.”

People judge others according to their non-verbal, vocal and verbal communication.  Non-verbal communication makes up about 50 percent of the first impression; vocal communication represents 40 percent of the pie; and verbal communication the remaining…

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Facilitating Problem Solving & Decision Making

Here, you might need to make a decision if you are going to lead…

Rich Drinon Leadership Communication

SDS presentation-creationWhether you’re involved in annual strategic planning, making important business choices or resolving daily issues, you can benefit from problem solving and decision-making skills.  Problem solving and decision-making can be a subjective, objective or intuitive pursuit.

Subjective Problem Solving

When coming up with subjective solutions to problems, you are operating on your own, or the groups, thoughts and feelings about a particular subject. Experience will come into play, and known information is the primary lens through which the problem is viewed.  It’s helpful to lead a group through a series of questions aimed at clarifying the issue at hand, brainstorming ways to address the challenge and creating a plan for resolution.

Objective Decision Making

Objective decision-making requires more careful research, analysis, preparation, organization and facilitation than does a subjective problem solving session.   Having reliable intelligence is vital to objective decision-making. In addition to the steps cited under…

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Leading Groups & Making Presentations, Part 2

June 2018 Update: My work has focused more on delivery than design, although I mention a few items in this blog.  Recently I finished Tim Pollard’s book, The Compelling Communicator. I’ve not read a better book on presentation design and recommend it highly. I’m also using his online “briefcase” to better design and to store presentations.  Even after thousands of speaking engagements over several decades I’m looking for ways to improve.

Rich Drinon Leadership Communication

SDS presentation-creationMaking a Great Presentation

Follow this five step approach to making great presentations.

  • Impress

Impress your audience through your appearance, charm, wit, talent, knowledge, understanding, and use of visual tools, speaking ability or passion. Better yet, try a combination of all these items.  When you create the right image, and make a favorable first impression, you gain some instant credibility with your audience.

  •  Involve

Involving your audience early and often gets them engaged in the presentation.  You can ask them to raise their hands in response to a no-miss question.  Or, make sure you have a good joke that’s well tested to get them laughing.  You can give them handout materials so they move their bodies in the act of receiving.  Remember, the mind follows the body and the body follows the mind.  When you open the audience’s mind or body language in a favorable manner they will continue…

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Leading Groups & Making Presentations, Part 1

People will read all kinds of great things into you if you can perform well in front of groups – intelligence, charisma, professionalism…

Rich Drinon Leadership Communication

SDS presentation-creationLeading Groups & Making Presentations

Many things can be gained by learning to communicate in front of groups, including confidence, recognition and respect.  Many positive characteristics will be attributed to you if you can stand in front of a group, talk intelligently about a subject and field questions in an effective manner. The purpose of this three– part article is to help you better lead group meetings, present to various size audiences and make a great presentation.

Managing Command, Credibility & Control Issues in Groups

In order to lead or command, you must be able to communicate with credibility and authority.   You’re most likely to be perceived as credible when your non-verbal, vocal and verbal communication match.   When you send a mixed message, you run the risk of being misunderstood, distrusted and even disliked.  It’s also vital that you be able to maintain control when leading groups. Here are some…

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Navigating & Promoting Change

After achieving results through others and cultivating relationships, leading change has emerged as one of the big three competencies for leaders in this age.

Rich Drinon Leadership Communication

SDS presentation-creationNavigating change is one of today’s most complex leadership issues. Like a captain sailing a ship into unknown waters, the leader must consider the costs of changing course, get all hands on deck and move the ship onward.  This process involves awareness, alertness and action, plus the ability to use persuasion to promote change.

Practicing Awareness, Alertness & Action


It’s essential to be aware of shifts occurring in one’s world, industry, community and home.  An aware individual has an understanding of changes taking place globally, nationally or regionally that impact one locally and personally.


As the leader maintains an awareness of change, he or she must also be alert to threats and opportunities that emerge from these larger shifts. From mega trends to micro-trends to tipping points, new problems or possibilities for business development often result from change.


When new possibilities appear on the horizon, the leader…

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