Meet Carol Kinsey Goman, president of Kinsey Consulting Services, is an international keynote speaker. She is an authority on the impact of body language in the workplace. Some of her clients are: General Electric, AT&T, Amazon, Expedia, Google, Hewlett-Packard. She is a best-selling author of thirteen business books, she is a current faculty member for the Institute for Management Studies.
Who is Carol? Define yourself
The COVID-19 pandemic changed how I define myself professionally. A year ago, I would have described myself as a leadership presence coach and an international keynote speaker for corporations, conferences, universities, and government agencies -- traveling the world, with clients in over 300 organizations in 32 countries. This year I’d describe myself as a virtual coach and webinar presenter. I now have virtual speaking and coaching engagements in Pakistan, Turkey, Russia, France, Canada, and throughout the United States. I do them all without leaving my home office.
How were you as a kid?
Lucky to have funny, optimistic, and supportive parents. And luckier to have been aware of my good fortune, even when a kid.
“I have learned that people in all organizations want leaders who are both confident and compassionate. The trick is learning to balance and display both sets of qualities”
Tell us more about your academic background, I know you hold a Doctor degree in Philosophy (Ph.D.) why did you choose those courses of study?
I am fascinated by people -- why we act the way we do, make the choices we do, talk to ourselves the way we do, and love the people/things we love.
Before you founded Kinsey Consulting Services 32 years ago, you were a therapist in private practice, a nightclub performer, and a majorette for the 49ers football team, how did you jump from the point to start your own company?
I first learned about the power of body language when I took acting classes as a teenager. When we put on a play, I also saw how the nonverbal aspect of “dressing the part” greatly influenced both the audience and the actor. But it was not until I started working with businesspeople, first as a therapist in private practice and later as a coach, that I understood the full impact of body language and “presence” on leadership effectiveness. That is when I knew I had something of value to offer a wider audience - and when I started my company.
“I am constantly updating my skills, making connections with wonderful people, and getting prepared for when the next opportunity appears”
What does your company make unique in the market?
We help executives, managers, supervisors, and team leaders increase their ability to positively influence and impact others by projecting leadership presence.
You are an international keynote speaker and seminar leader for corporations, conventions, universities, and government agencies. Your clients include over 400 organizations in 32 countries, some of them: 3M, PepsiCo, the American Institute of Banking, the Healthcare Forum, Hewlett-Packard, Amazon, Expedia, Google among others, what are the biggest lessons you have learned over the years working for such as important companies?
I have learned that people in all organizations want leaders who are both confident and compassionate. The trick is learning to balance and display both sets of qualities.
You are an authority on the impact of body language in the workplace (Body Language for Leaders) you are a best-selling author of thirteen business books, your expertise has been cited in The Wall Street Journal, Industry Week, Investor’s Business Daily, CNN’s Business Unusual, you are a current faculty member for the Institute for Management Studies, presenting seminars throughout the United States and Europe. What´s the recipe for your success?
I am constantly updating my skills, making connections with wonderful people, and getting prepared for when the next opportunity appears.
“Leadership presence depends entirely on how other people evaluate you. Since it is totally dependent on the impression you make, enhancing your presence requires a deep understanding of the impact of your appearance, your body language, your emotional state, and how well you to communicate key messages”
Can you elaborate on your newest book "STAND OUT: How to Build your Leadership Presence"? [ Kogan Page, September 2020] including where people can buy it?
I learned early on that leadership presence is not automatically assigned to you because of your title, intelligence, or leadership skill -- and it is not necessarily reflective of your true qualities and potential.
Instead, leadership presence depends entirely on how other people evaluate you. Since it is totally dependent on the impression you make, enhancing your presence requires a deep understanding of the impact of your appearance, your body language, your emotional state, and how well you to communicate key messages.
The goal of STAND OUT: How to Build Your Leadership Presence is to align other people’s impression of you with your best authentic self. I wrote this book as a skill-building guide for all the wonderful people I have not (yet) met, to help them stand out as the talented leaders they already are. It is filled with strategies for displaying credibility, confidence, composure, connection, and charisma. It offers tips for personal branding and enhancing your body language skills. It looks at how leadership presence is different for women and why your style of leadership may not be shared by all members of your global team. STAND OUT: How to Build Your Leadership Presence is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Porchlight, Indie Bound, and Kogan Page (the publisher’s website).
What does a normal workday look like for you?
A normal day does not exist. On any given day, I might be writing an article, preparing for a webinar, participating in a Zoom meeting, or being interviewed on a podcast or vlog. It’s an interesting time - when anything can happen!
Do you have any philosophy that guides your career decisions?
Don’t bang on locked doors. Push gently on doors that are ready to open for you.
“I do everything I can to stay visible -- and I would advise others to do the same”
What do you love most about your job? & what is the most difficult part?
I love giving webinars and “meeting” people from all over the world. But, while working from home is both convenient and safe, there is much I miss about the “good old days” of last year. I miss seeing the audience, making eye contact, and gauging people’s reaction by reading their body language. Most of all, I miss that amazing human energy and connection that only happens face-to-face.
What is one strategy that has helped you to grow your business?
I’ve learned to challenge my assumptions. For example, when Lynda.com asked me to create a video course on “Body Language for Leaders,” I had never heard of that organization, and I assumed that it would be a waste of my time. But I ignored that assumption and agreed to film the videos. When Lynda was bought by LinkedIn, my course went viral, and now has been viewed by over 2 million people.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else does?
I do everything I can to stay visible -- and I would advise others to do the same.
What are the do and don’ts in body language for female leaders?
The two sets of qualities that people look for in leaders are warmth and power. Women score higher in warmth, but often lack power cues. Here’s how to keep your natural warmth, but also project authority and confidence . . .
Don’t use too many head tilts. Head tilting is a signal that someone is listening and involved – and a particularly feminine gesture. As such, head tilts can be very positive cues, but they are also subconsciously processed as submission signals. (Dogs tilt their heads to expose their necks, as a way to show deference to the dominant animal.)
Do use head tilts when you want to demonstrate your concern for and interest in members of your team, or when you want to encourage people to expand on what they are saying. But when you need to project power and authority, you should keep your head straight up in a more neutral position.
Don’t smile excessively. Excessive or inappropriate smiling can be confusing and a credibility robber. This is especially noticeable if you over-smile while discussing a sensitive subject, expressing anger, or giving negative feedback.
Do smile at the right times. During an initial meeting with a potential business client, smiling can be one of the most powerful and positive nonverbal cues, and especially potent for signaling likeability and friendliness. But when the subject turns serious, you need to look serious.
Don’t constantly nod your head. When a man nods, it means he agrees. When a woman nods, it means she agrees – or is listening to, empathizing with, or encouraging the speaker to continue. In fact, women tend to nod so much we’ve been accused of looking like bobble-head dolls.
Do nod your head to express encouragement and engagement, but when you want to project authority, especially when stating your opinion, keep your head still.
Don’t look smaller than you are. Women tend to condense their bodies, keeping their elbows to their sides, tightly crossing their legs, and contracting their bodies to take up as little space as possible.
Do remember that status and authority are nonverbally demonstrated through height and space. Stand (or sit) tall, pull your shoulders back, widen your stance, and hold your head high. People will judge your confidence by your posture more than by your title.
“People will judge your confidence by your posture more than by your title”
Everybody has had dark moments in their lives, what have you done to get out of that phase?
I focus on everything for which I am grateful.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I take online Pilates and Zumba classes.
KEY: Many authors say women can and must strive to have everything a shining career, a blossoming family life, and a perfectly balanced lifestyle all at once others, point out that– then women are placing unrealistic expectations on themselves if they believe they can have it all, so according to your experience, what do you think about these statements?
I have yet to meet a woman who has perfected this mythical balancing act. I know I haven’t.
What are your plans for the future?
I am living with crossed fingers that 2021 will include some form of in-person meetings where I will once again have the joy of presenting to audiences face to face.
There is still the glass ceiling for women in the world: Fewer opportunities, jobs underpaid just for that fact of being a woman, etc. Have you experimented with the glass ceiling? If yes, what are the biggest challenges you have faced and, how have you overcome them?
One of the benefits of working for myself is that the only ceiling I worry about is the one I create for myself by focusing on my limitations instead of my strengths.
What tips can you give to young girls who want to become an entrepreneur like you?
The young girls I know amaze me with their intelligence, technological savvy, and confidence. I get tips from them.
I think in your position, many people may have the wrong idea of who you are, and what do you (professionally), with this idea in mind, what is being Carol and what´s not?
My job as a professional speaker is not to go onstage and deliver the keynote speech or present a seminar. That is only the visible tip of my profession’s iceberg. The other 90% is the time and energy I’ve spent researching, creating, sending proposals, negotiating, preparing, tailoring, and rehearsing to be able address that audience.
Who is the woman you admire the most and why?
Ruth Bader Ginsberg - for the grace with which she lived her life and for her outstanding contribution to the lives of all women. My hero.
Something else do you want to add or share with us?
I am (as it says on my favorite sweatshirt) “Perfectly Imperfect.”
Name: Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D.
Company: Kinsey Consulting Services