3 Ways to Gain Confidence at Work (or in Your Craft)
1. Practice Your Craft
This goes without saying, but we really need to get this out of the way. When I was much younger, I believed that if you were a confident person you’d be instantly taken seriously. Not true. People can see right through a cocky exterior if the message you’re sending doesn’t seem credible. If you’re spewing crap, sooner or later someone will catch on.
So, the solution to that is to constantly be practicing and working on refining your craft, whatever it may be. Lately, I’ve been practicing my writing skills (in the form of communication to partners, and just writing at every chance I can).
In the research I’ve done, writing is actually one of the most valuable skills to have. When you’re not there to speak up for yourself, the messages you send in written form will be there to do the talking for you–you need to make sure you’re capable of professional language and getting your message across clearly and concisely. People don’t have unlimited time to be spending on your words. Quick and to the point is exactly what you should be aiming for.
2. Get Down to the Specifics
Instead of saying something like “I think what we did should have affected us positively…”, say “We implemented the process two weeks ago. I’ve taken a look at the data, and it suggests that we’re trending to be more profitable this month based on a 4% higher conversion rate.” Between the two scenarios of ways you could approach presenting the information, one seems tentative and unsure, and the other proves you did your homework.
This approach will help you by leaps and bounds. You’ll not only state your assumption and recommendation, but also back it up with relevant statistics. Because of this approach, I’ve become a bit of a data junkie–so nerdy, I know.
3. Speak in an Even, Controlled Tone
The cadence by which you speak has a large effect on the way people perceive you. If you sound flighty and nervous, but what you’re saying is solid, people will still undervalue you and not fully trust what you are saying. If you are speaking to a group and can compose yourself enough to speak slowly and evenly, you can absolutely gain the ears of upper management.
To get good at this, people sometimes use public speaking courses/clubs like Toastmasters. I’ve never personally joined a Toastmasters, but have been thinking about it for some time.
Alternatively, you could just do it more. Purposefully place yourself in situations where you’ll have to talk a little bit in front of people. Volunteer a story when you’re hanging out with your social circle. Say something of importance or try to prove a point during a work meeting. All of these are opportunities to learn and grow. Take them now, and they’ll slowly snowball into a habit where you feel comfortable presenting information to people confidently.
Either way, best of luck in your journey to becoming more confident. If you have any other tips to share with me that have helped you become more successfully confident, let me know in the comments below.
The picture above is of me trying out an aerial yoga class. We did some pretty cool and challenging moves that day!