More specificity please

There is no doubt Queen Elizabeth II had impact.

People have been referring to her ‘quiet power’ and her ability to keep going and the saying and embodiment of  “never explain, never complain” and a myriad of other impactful phrases.

This is the thing about impact.  You need to understand what you want to do with it.

HRH QE2 wanted to devote her life “whether it be long or short” to service and that’s exactly what she did – whilst quietly but intentionally being a daughter, sister, wife, mother, granny, great-granny, loyal friend AND a Queen.

So.  Impact in our working world ….

A male client once told me he’d been told by his boss “you need to have more impact in meetings“.

Well how helpful is that?  Not at all.  

As I said to – let’s call him John – “John, you can have impact in a meeting by dropping your trousers.  Let’s get more specific on the sort of impact you want and why?”  After John had stopped laughing *hoping I was joking* we got very specific.

It’s one of my bugbears when working with a client who’s been told some lazy-arsed, generic instruction, for example

  1. You need to have more gravitas
  2. You need to speak up more
  3. You need to be more dynamic
  4. You need to have more impact in meetings (grrrrrr)

Well, my response to clients to say to these boring, unhelpful phrases is

  1. What do you mean exactly?  How will you know when I have ‘more gravitas’.  Who has the kind of gravitas you want for me?  What support will you give me to enable this for me?
  2. What examples do we have where I could have and what difference would it have made?  Who could I ‘model’ about how they do it?  What do I need to think about as I start to speak up more?
  3. What do you mean by dynamic?  What am I doing or not doing that tells you I need to be more dynamic?  How will you know when I am being more, what will be happening?
  4. What kind of impact do you mean?  What difference will it make to the meetings and to you and to my career?  What am I doing at the moment that’s working?  What will I do differently exactly in your mind?

If you encourage the feedback-giver to be more specific, on target for you, to be a little less lazy in their instruction or feedback and a little more helpful it will help you enormously...

We all need to have specific feedback.  Otherwise, how will be know how we’re doing?  

Oh that was great?” isn’t has helpful as “That was great – loved the way you prepared your argument, you didn’t back down AND you did it with grace.”  

See what I mean – really helpful.  You can do it again AND build on it.

Felt a little ‘fighty’ today as I wrote this to you.  

So many women, particularly, get poleaxed by being told something unhelpful and generic and it stops them in their tracks.  Push.  Back.  Ask them to be more specific.

 In other news…


After feeling very half-mast these last couple of weeks, I decided it was time to be out and about again.  Yesterday I went to an insurance industry networking event and spoke a few words about how to have more impact AND be more intentional as you ‘network‘.

AND the weather’s turned here.  We’ve lit fires in our new home and the hounds get very intentional about where they want to sit

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