Some months ago I wrote a guest post on Lee Ann Brady’s blog called Trust is the Killer App.
It is no great revelation to understand that no matter what business you are in, your success will depend on your ability to build trust and above all to develop trustworthiness. In that post I described the Trust Equation: T=C+R+I/S, where T stands for trustworthiness, C for credibility, R for reliability, I for intimacy and most importantly, S stands for self-orientation.
This is a topic I discuss thoroughly in my new book, The Art of Case Presentation...because trust is so germane to case presentation.
By far, the key to building trust is to increase the numerator and diminish the denominator…in other words to lower the degree to which you are self-focused.
But how do you do that? My last post implied that you just do it (I hate when I get self-righteous), because it’s more difficult than you might imagine. In fact it’s the essence of good leadership and falls under the categories of knowing oneself, self-awareness, self-management, empathy and social skills. It requires the uncanny ability of executive attention, or focusing to the degree of shutting off your emotional brain.
Most of the time we operate from our emotional brains…it’s the default. When we don’t pay attention our minds wander. When our minds wander—they wander to the self…increasing self-orientation and raising that denominator.
The key to reducing that number is to practice attention training…I’ll get to how in a second.
Dan Goleman, in his new book Focus, says, “Stopping on cue is the holy grail of cognitive control.” By that he means that once we realize we have been emotionally hijacked we need to stop and correct. In other words become more mindful.
After years and years of practicing dentistry, and fighting off my own demons (like an over-awareness of myself), I agree with Goleman that attention training and mindfulness is the key. But it takes practice. In my book I write about practicing the soft skills, but mindfulness practice can go a long way in helping you to develop the trustworthiness you will need to become an effective presenter.
What kind of practice?
Meditation, (Goleman suggests twenty minutes per session at least four times per week), and breathing exercises.
For me…I do meditate and I do hot yoga. Both of these have done wonders for me physically but I can also tell you that the focus needed for both, slows the mind down…so I can become more aware…and just stop it when I am thinking of myself too much.
Simple? Yes. But not easy.
Or…just take the advice that Bob Newhart gives to his patient in the classic comedy skit that you can click on above.
Enjoy the video — it’s hilarious…and there’s a lot of wisdom and business sense in here too.
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