Over Chai and Paranthas at “Not Just Parantha’s”, a couple of us classmates from MICA discussed success and what it means to be successful in the midst of queries about families, jobs, countries toured, portfolio’s handled and investing in startups.
When you have professionals who are on top of their careers, who have worked across nations and industries share what they think it takes to succeed in the absolutely informal environment of a brunch with friends, you know this is their true unvarnished opinion.
One of them pronounced that the differentiators of success are “Confidence and Communication Skills”. As the Devil’s Advocate, I asked…what about intelligence? “Hygiene factor” he claimed. He stated at Google we have a very bright lot as that is the entry criteria, but what makes a person successful is his confidence and communication skills. The conversation then veered to ski resorts and work ethic in Europe vs. India vs. China vs. US etc. etc. But his statement had got me thinking…
It is true that in my training business just about every organization is looking at improving their employees’ communication skills. They also seem to want their employees to have more confidence, be assertive with clients, be consultants to clients etc.
I started thinking about confidence and what affects it. I knew for sure behavioral styles (DISC styles) is one. For some DISC styles (D-style) projecting confidence is a breeze. It does not matter if they have done something before, the way they project themselves others are confident about their abilities. This reminds me of the early days of my career and one of my clients Devendra Garg (Brand Manager at Dabur India). Dabur was one of my first major accounts as I had convinced Devendra Garg to buy spots on Headlines Today and Surkhiyan versus on the Saas Bahu serials that preceded or followed these headlines. I achieved this by showing him through people meter data that the drop in audience viewership was negligible and so we were extreme value for money. The interesting part was in a meeting with his agency, he mentioned me and what I had shared. A classmate of mine could not hide a giggle. When asked she shared that she and I were classmates. The next time I met Devendra Garg he asked me about the same. I confirmed that it was true. He then said that you must have worked prior to doing your post-graduation. I told him that I was a fresh graduate. This was my first job and I was barely 2 months into the job. He seemed amazed. I asked him why? He said that I projected myself in a manner that suggested experience. Now that I know that I am a DI (Blend of D-style and I Style on DISC), the projection of confidence is actually a given.
But what can people of other styles do to project confidence and then actually increase their confidence?
- Necessary so has to developed: Understand that projecting confidence may not be your natural style (And it is definitely not for S-Styles and C-Styles), however it is a necessity for success and so has to be developed.
- Do your homework: One way to improve your confidence is to do your homework. Get in-depth knowledge in your area of work. Work to develop expertise.
- Speak up: Make a goal to speak at least once during meetings. If you have an idea / suggestion do share it.
- Give suggestions in writing, if required: Share your recommendations, ideas etc. through email if you feel hesitant about sharing it face to face. In written communication you can review and correct tone and manner, if required.
- Care less about what other people will think: Convince yourself that you bring value to the table and that whenever you will give an idea or try out something new resistance and even failure is to be expected. But nothing ventured, nothing gained.
- Use power poses (powerful body language): Power poses not only signal confidence to others it actually makes you feel more powerful yourself. Power poses include standing with legs apart, hand on hips etc. Basically you expand the space you take up.
- Use powerful words: Use action verbs and active voice to avoid tentative or wishy washy. Which sounds better, “I made a report” or “I analyzed the important criteria and then after evaluating all possible solutions recommended the best solution in my report”?
- Do not Uptalk: Uptalk is a way of speaking that puts an upward inflection on the last word of a statement that makes it sound like a question when it’s not. Makes you sound tentative.
- Realize success begets success: Realize success enhances confidence and interestingly success in a field increases confidence even in other fields. So use the magnifying effect of initial success.
- Use affirmations: Affirm your value to yourself daily. Affirmations are a very key tool that we cover in our training workshops. Read up on it so that you can formulate them well.
- Use visualization: This is another key tool we cover in our workshops. Visualize confidence. In your mind’s eye view how would you look if you were super confident.
Confidence is a muscle. Work daily to build it.
Contributed by Lovely Kumar: Chief Projects, Larks Learning
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