My partner Roger recently completed work on a practical and useful new business book, The Credibility Code, by Cara Hale Alter. It concerns developing a personal “code of conduct” in order to present yourself as a credible, competent businessperson when interacting with others. We live in a time when “business casual” is overtaking the stuffy formality of the past, and that’s not an entirely bad thing. [Secretly, I wonder why men’s business attire has not changed a whit in over a hundred years.] Yet how far should we take casual? While it might be OK to wear an open-collar shirt, Ms. Alter argues that posture, speech, eye contact and other interpersonal communication media are essential to projecting the image you want others to accept as you.
As I read, I came across a section on Valley Girl speech, where the end of sentences is raised and turned interrogatory. I was reminded of a another particularly personal issue: People who speak at a fast clip and slur their language, like Ira Glass does to sound cool on “This American Life.” These are the kinds of issues we all confront in daily life and which often create roadblocks to understanding and, yes, credibility.
Ms. Alter not only writes of these issues, but demonstrates them in videos that accompany the book. Read the chapter, watch the video. This is a fantastic way to learn and then turn the camera upon yourself to see how you’re doing.
Congratulations to Cara Hale Alter on her first book, and to my partner Roger for helping her create a powerful, useful message for today’s business world.