This post was written by Hannah Morris, Facilitator and Coach at The Latimer Group.
In our first post in this series, we examined the idea that, within our authentic presence, each of us shows up in a variety of different ways based on choices we make to adapt to our environment, audience, and situation.
We have identified four bands of behavior that range from informal to formal, and move from an emphasis on the personal to the professional version of ourselves. Understanding these bands allows us to explore the breadth of our range and see where we may have opportunities to practice and develop.
As you read through the description of these bands, see if you can create a picture (or, better yet, a video) inside your head of what each looks and sounds like – both for you and for your closest colleagues.
The four bands of an individual’s range are: Casual, Conversational, Polished, and Ceremonious.
Casual. We are totally relaxed and very informal. We share freely and dress in whatever way makes us most comfortable. We are acting in the same way we would in a relaxed social setting outside of work, meaning we are focusing on the personal and ignoring or eliminating the professional. For some of us, depending on the depth of our range, this band is still appropriate, but for others, we may be moving into territory that is deemed by some as unprofessional and inappropriate.
Conversational. We are quite comfortable and at ease, but still paying attention to how we hold ourselves, what we say, and how we come across. There is slightly more emphasis on personal than professional, which makes this band a go-to for relationship building. People see even more of who we are in the comments, opinions, and stories we share because we filter less, but we still impose some boundaries.
Polished. We are alert, attentive, careful, and yet still human and relatable. We pay close attention to our enunciation, our word choice, our pacing and emphasis. Our attire and posture signal an effort to impress. We come across as deliberate, but still maintain an element of humor, emotion, and personality that engage an audience and enable connection.
Ceremonious. We are on guard, highly formal, affected, and can even come across as robotic if we become too focused on adhering to rules and propriety. With so much emphasis on the professional, we have subsumed most or all of the personal. This band can be required in certain roles and settings, but is one that most people access only rarely as it takes great effort and creates imposing barriers.
To function within our roles, most of us spend our workday inside our Conversational and Polished bands. For each of us, there are certain bands that become our default and we may receive feedback that we either need to “step it up a bit” or “let our hair down from time to time”.
As you apply these bands to your own experience, consider how wide your range is from one extreme to the other, from Casual to Ceremonious. Is there very little difference between them? Or are the two extremes so incredibly different as to seem like entirely separate people?
Consider also what advice you have been given. Consider where you are in your career and where you want to go next. We all know the adage of “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” This can apply to other aspects of our presence as well. Now, if all of this falls within our authentic presence, then what lies outside? What would make our presence inauthentic? That piece comes next
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