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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Five Ways to be More Confident in the Workplace

Most of my followers have heard my profile a few times. So here it goes again. I'm a young woman, who stands 5'1 and works at a male dominated company within a very male dominated industry.  There is no room for weakness at my company and I think that's true for most corporate jobs. When I first started working in Corporate America I was so scared yet excited, but I knew I needed to work on a few personality traits. Confidence being #1. For most people, with experience comes confidence.  However, how you carry yourself on a daily basis also exemplifies confidence. Here are five easy ways to be more confidence in the workplace. 

1. Ask opened ended questions - Don't paint yourself into a corner. Ask opened ended question to get more info and figure out how to respond. If you're asking for advice from a mentor, re-frame your questions from "Do I have potential to be a manager?" to "What other skill sets do I need to have to be a manager at this company?" Do you see the difference in your confidence and tone when asking these questions? 

2. Don't always apologize - How often are we sorry when we say something?  I'm going to go out on a limb and say 35%. I hear people apologize for everything, especially women. Today while you're at work, keep a tally on how many times you or a colleague apologizes for things that don't warrant an apology. Also, write down why they're apologizing.  It's usually for something silly.

3. Less is more - When my friends ask me to proofread emails, thank you letters or texts there's a reoccurring theme...over explaining. When you over explain or go into too much details, you lose your reader's attention and confidence. It's a slippery slope. Honestly, the less people know the better. For example, when you ask for a few days off work simply put, "I'm requesting next Monday and Tuesday off work. Thank you." If they ask where you're going, tell them, however it's not necessary to go into details like this, "I'm flying to Vegas to meet my besties for a bachelorette party and I'll be gone Monday and Tuesday". TMI. 

4. Don't ask for permission, ask for forgiveness - This is the best piece of advice I got from my mentors. When you ask for permission, 9/10 times the answer is always "no" or you wouldn't be asking. When I'm scheduling a meeting and I need to change locations, I don't ask for everyone's permission to change the location. You're leaving too much room for opposition. Just do it! Ask for forgiveness later. "Hope you guys don't mind, but we needed to changed the location of the meeting. Nothing else has changed other than the location." That's a take charge kind of person. Someone who rolls with the punches. People in higher positions want to work with someone who is tactful and agile. It's a strength, not a weakness. 

6. Take out the emotions - Always state the facts when you speak and write. Not only will you consolidate some of your thoughts, but you'll always present a compelling reason for anyone to listen to you. When I entered the corporate world, I noticed that those in Director and VP roles always spoke with confidence and ALWAYS stated the facts. No emotions.  Again, friends will ask me to look over emails and there are so many emotions involved in the communication. "I feel like it would be best to meet at 2pm, I think this will work better for everyone's schedule", but in reality what you're trying to say is, "The best time to meet is at 2pm because this will give everyone enough time to prepare for the presentation."

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Thank you for your comments! Olivia