Personal Impact & Its Growing Importance Since the Pandemic

Hello, Are You Okay?

Personal impact has taken on a new prominence in business since March 2020. And as workplaces reopen, it’s even more important to focus on this key part of our skillset.

Maximising your personal impact transforms your life. It builds you into the best possible version of you. Also, it’s open to everyone. Join us as we look at some practical actions and tips you can act on today and see the difference.

COVID has Impacted on Personal Impact too

The pandemic and the lockdowns have affected all our relationships and interactions, altering how we communicate. Consequently, conversations between managers and remote employees have changed too. The previously casual “How are you?” has new significance, we want to feel valued and appreciated.

Words Covid-19 written in flour
Covid-19 has impacted so many things including the ay we interact

Psychologists have coined the phrase “forced empathy” to describe this phenomenon. With people working from home, managers have more responsibilities for listening and understanding feelings. They need to generate greater reciprocity, be authentic and show empathy. And this is what personal impact is all about.

What is Personal Impact?

Personal impact means understanding how others perceive your actions and how these impact others. It means knowing how to give your best and putting this knowledge to work.

On an external level, personal impact involves creating a strong impression. This requires good presentation and communication skills and being confident.

You can build your confidence and your presentation skills, including one-to-one communication. Learning to control your voice and facial expression, body, and breathing, and come over effectively to your peers.

But at a deeper, ‘content’ level, personal impact is also about being real, authentic, and sincere. Having empathy with colleagues and thinking about the bigger picture.

Why You Need to Work on Your Personal Impact

We need both hard skills – tech stuff – and soft skills to get on in business. You can’t do your best if you don’t understand how these soft skills contribute to your personal impact. So, acquiring these skills makes all the difference in getting promotions. It leads to being given more responsibility and having a greater influence.

What Does Authentic Personal Impact Mean?

Personal impact isn’t about the sheer force of personality – or bullying! We’re talking about enhancing your other skills with the ability to influence others.

Authentic personal impact is about speaking your mind without offending your audience. It involves appreciating conventions and boundaries. Also, handling difficult people and situations, and improving your ability to influence others. All this is especially necessary after the pandemic. 

Playing card with Authentic written on
Being authentic in your personal impact is key


What Does Presence Impact Mean?

Presence is an important attribute of effective leaders, helping them motivate people.

They are focused here and now, in the moment, undistracted by other thoughts. This gives a sense of poise, enabling them to build rapport.

People Talk about Charisma, But They Don’t say what It Is

People described as charismatic are usually brilliant and effective communicators, who communicate emotions very well. The Journal of Behavioural Studies lists these characteristics of charismatic leaders:

  • Being genuine
  • Meeting expectations.
  • Working the room.
  • Reading the audience.
  • Using humour to connect.
  • Storytelling.
  • Getting the body language right.

The good news is, because charisma is a collection of behaviours, you can learn it.

What Performance Skills do You Need to Create Personal Impact?

  • Feel confident and capable when communicating.
  • Make an audience listen and take you seriously.
  • Make spoken messages interesting and engaging.
  • Project positivity in one-to-one situations.
  • Be comfortable maintaining eye contact and attention.
  • Come over as open and relaxed in meetings.
  • Make a positive, lasting impact, talking to people at all levels.
  • Use your voice to ensure your audience take you seriously.

All these are primarily communication skills. They contribute to our personal impact. Part of this is about performance and presentation. But there’s more besides, which you need to think about at a deeper, ‘content’ level.

Is Personal Impact the Same as Leadership?

Personal impact is a major part of a leader’s skill set. Leaders need to have a presence and create an impact. So, they must be self-aware and able to adapt their style to the moment and the people they’re with.

Leadership involves other gifts too, including critical thinking, courage, flexibility, and resilience. This needs to come from the inside.

Wooden blocks and one red block
Personal impact is key to effective leadership skills

How to Build a Presence and Create an Impact

  • Dedicate yourself to things that give your life meaning and purpose.
  • Commit to continually improving yourself.
  • Engage with other people in open, mutually beneficial ways.
  • Invest your energy wisely. Not in what is now, but what can be.
  • Embrace criticism and be humble.
  • Share what you know, don’t keep it to yourself.
  • Lift others with you as you climb the ladder.
  • See your journey as the goal: don’t take short cuts: learn from experience.
  • Use your power and influence well: care about your influence and how you’re perceived.

What Are Some Examples of Having a Good Personal Impact?

  • Finding a creative solution to a problem.
  • Mentoring somebody who went on to be successful because of this person’s impact.
  • Leading a team who got on with a project and reached their goal.

Let’s Get This on Record:  Personal Impact Statements and More

If you have led a project team, future employers will want to read your personal impact statements and reports. They contribute to your personal impact. So, let’s look at some of these documents.

What is a Personal Impact Statement?

A personal impact statement describes your actions and responsibilities in previous roles. It shows the value of your projects and underlines your involvement. It gives future employers clarity about your work history. Part of your resume’s work experience section, it identifies the tasks performed and the skills you used. It details your actions’ positive impacts, due to the successful execution of your skills.

Businesswoman writing statements
Knowing how to write a personal impact statement is an effective skill to have

What Makes a Good Impact Statement?

A good impact statement:

  • Is brief, concise and readable.
  • Uses non-technical language: identifies the activities, their impact and importance: includes figures.
  • Identifies the subject matter so readers know what you have done and people can carry out searches.
  • Avoids vague words.
  • Isn’t written in the first person.

How Long Should an Impact Statement Be?

Writing a good impact statement is an important part of the development process. Keep your report to one page or less. Ensure it is concise, deleting extra words that don’t contribute to telling the story.

How Do I Write an Impact Report?

Follow this simple formula:

  • Describe the issue or problem statement.
  • Provide an action statement, detailing your response.
  • Describe the impact of this action
  • Say who was responsible.
  • Include your name and contact information.

What is the Impact of Your Research?

While we’re here, the desired impact of research is real change, in the real world. Consumer market research is generally about shopper purchases, usage and attitudes. In other fields, the impacts being researched can include attitudinal, awareness, economic, social, policy, cultural and health.

Researchers achieve impact by helping relevant audiences discover, connect with, understand, apply and be advocates for, the research. This impact is best achieved through stakeholder achievement, throughout the project’s lifecycle.

Researchers need to develop new skills and capabilities, to demonstrate their ability to create impact. And they also need personal impact, to make their projects flourish and lead to more studies.

I Want to Learn about all This Stuff. Please Tell Me How!

Can I Get Training in Personal Impact?

Yes, you can. Personal impact courses typically cover communication, presentation, assertiveness, and influencing others. The emphasis is on developing insight, increasing confidence, and raising self-esteem.

Other popular topics include facilitating motivational meetings, feedback training, and managing expectations. Also, with the pandemic recovery in mind, personal impact training might well extend to cover mental health support, personal wellbeing, and resilience.  But you can always do better.

Can You Assess Personal Impact With Quizzes?

Various online quizzes are available to assess how you present yourself in business situations. They can be helpful, if you answer honestly! Use them for coaching and advice to identify weak spots and work on them.

Round speech or thought bubble with question mark
Personal impact can be tested with a quiz or questions

How Can I Improve My Personal Impact and Influence?

  • Deepen your understanding of how your habitual responses have built up over time.
  • Explore and define the effect your behaviour as a leader has on others.
  • Look at your body language, voice control, and your mindset, and how others respond.
  • Plan influencing strategies and how to respond to challenging behaviour.
  • Explore how to increase your impact and influence in your role and beyond.
  • Create your personal vision and action plan.
  • Experiment with different techniques and approaches and see what works for you
  • Review the gap between your intentions and the actual impact of your leadership.

How Do You Measure Your Personal Impact?

  • Set benchmarks: Create a personal scorecard, with objective standards to achieve your personal best. Check how you compare with people you look up to.
  • See how the world sees you: People measure you against such criteria as job experience, formal education, publications, thought leadership pieces and social media activity.
  • Assess your online activity: How many people view, like and share your posts? How committed are they to interacting with you?
  • See the demand for your expertise: Do people want you to write for them, join webinars and speak at conferences?

Understand the impact of your influence and how best to communicate to those who matter, so you do the most good.

It’s Not Just Our Bosses Impacting on Us

Our friends and colleagues also influence our thinking, attitude and views. These informal relationships give you the opportunity to impact positively on others around you.

How Can Someone Impact Your Life as a Mentor?

Having someone who motivates you, encourages you, and cheers you on will make a huge difference to your success. Someone to check your progress and ask how it’s going will have a positive impact. For best results, choose someone with good emotional intelligence.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is our ability to recognise our own emotions and others’. It means using this emotional information to guide our thinking and behaviour, and adjust our emotions to manage situations. 

Drawing of a happy face and a sad face
Emotional intelligence is key to yoru personal impact

How Does Emotional Intelligence Help Achieve Personal Impact?

Emotional intelligence plays a central role in realising success, both in personal life and professionally. Also, it assists in helping ourselves and others deal with stress, become more motivated and improve our decision-making. Emotional intelligence helps us connect with others and improve interpersonal communication. Part of this connecting can involve story telling.

Are You Sitting Comfortably? Then I’ll Begin

What Is The Impact Of Personal Stories?

Business leaders like telling stories. Hearing their anecdotes generates understanding, empathy and reflection. It nurtures rapport and trust and shows they care. “Hey, did I tell you guys how I killed that dinosaur?” Telling compelling stories may well have provided our ancestors with some survival advantage in our evolution. They helped pass on skills and teach the tribe how to handle danger. In the 21st century, hearing business founders tell stories still motivates us to aim for success.

I’m Doing a Team Talk. What About Including a Story?

Yes, go on! Personal stories are a great way to share real life examples of how you acted differently. Share tips and show the impact you made.

Telling stories is good neuroscience, too. Personal stories are emotionally compelling. They engage the brain better than a set of facts. Therefore, your audience is likely to give more weight to personal experience than hard data. That’s true, even when the past is unlikely to help predict the future. 

Do the Math – Personal Impact by Numbers

Lists of tips are great for inspiring us to action. So, here are some more Personal Impact ‘numbers.’ Do they add up for you?

Seven Instant Ways to Impact Positively

  • Smile more.
  • Remember people’s names.
  • Look them in the eye.
  • Ask questions.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Show kindness.
  • Spare a moment for someone.

Nine Nuggets For Lasting Impressions  

  • Be the one people look to for ideas.
  • Keep colleagues informed. Update them often, tell them what’s happening.
  • Be the go-to person to get things done.
  • Look ahead. If you see issues coming, be proactive. Set things in motion before time.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak up. You know the answer, say so. Show you can help.
  • Go one step further! You’re paid to do your job: if you can do more, go for it.
  • Take the initiative. Making an impact means seeing what’s needed and making it happen.
  • Have a positive mind. Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced manager, people are drawn to positive attitudes. Accept tasks with enthusiasm. Positivity is viral!
  • Take the lead while serving others. Be generous and encouraging. Guide and support others while solving problems and finding solutions.

Don’t Let Work Stop You Maximising Your Personal Impact

It’s important to check in and see how others are progressing. But is work affecting your own development? Which of these describes your situation?

 

Building blocks falling in a line
Don’t let work stop your impact progress
  • My work makes my life better.
  • It adds stress.
  • It distracts me from what’s important.
  • It’s keeping me complacent.
  • It’s stopping me being amazing.

When we’re working to excess, we get caught up and can’t think beyond the immediate workload.

We try to leave work behind when we go home. But the thought of what we still have to tackle affects our home life and our stress level. Therefore, it reduces our personal impact.

The bottom line is, being constantly busy with work leaves no head space for other things. Achieving your potential requires time to develop mental clarity. Think about the person you want to be and the soft skills you need,  to maximise your personal impact. And become your amazing, true self!

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