Recently, I attended a professional development conference for business and life coaches. Each of the speakers focused on a different topic, and each spoke in a different style. Some used PowerPoint slides while others spoke without notes. Some were very polished while others were rough around the edges. Sitting in the audience, I was struck by something they all had in common. Each one of them was confident that she was an expert in her chosen field. This confidence translated into a very compelling message that attracted and kept the attention of the audience.
When you own a business, you’re always thinking about ways to stand out from your competitors. As an employee or manager, you wonder what you can do to make your resume or job accomplishments stand out from others with the same job description. I believe that the secret is to have a strong belief in your own self-worth as well as how your skills and expertise are essential to your company or your clients.
When I managed a disaster recovery group at IBM, we felt that our services were essential to help customers prepare for and survive a catastrophic event in their technology platforms. Even though there were many other vendors who provided this service, we were confident that we were the best in the industry in specific areas. We highlighted those in discussions with our clients, and we ensured that we performed above expectations in those areas. Clients who felt that these things were important naturally gravitated to us.
Self-confidence isn’t something that you’re born with. But it certainly is something that you can learn. And the more you practice it, the more confident you will become.
Here are six tips that will help you look -- and feel -- self-confident:
1.) Figure out what you’re good at and capitalize on it. Make a decision to be an expert in one area of your business or job.
2.) Whenever your area of expertise comes up, take a position and share it with others. Don’t sit back and wait to see which direction everyone else is going and then follow along.
3.) Make your points without apologizing. Sit or stand up straight, and speak clearly without mumbling or fumbling around.
4.) Accept compliments graciously. Don’t say things like, “Anyone could have done it,” when in reality, you’ve put a lot of time and effort into the finished product.
5.) Admit mistakes. When you make a bad decision, acknowledge it; share what you’ve learned and move on. Don’t dwell on the bad stuff.
6.) Don’t be overconfident. If you’re an intern, you probably need a little more experience before you apply for the CEO job.