Episode #11

Tales of the C-Suite

Confidence, we know when we have it and we know when it is absent, but have you ever given thought to how ‘it’ arrives and disappears?

Psychologists will tell you confidence comes from self-efficacy. The knowledge that you can do something based on previous success in doing the task or facing the situation. This belief in your own abilities is important to your self-esteem, but also in how you respond to new or unfamiliar situations. You’ve rocked the room in team meetings, client presentations and executive briefings in the past. So, how do you adjust to a new work context like a video call or Zoom meeting? This is especially important when you remember you are always on parade. How you look and perform in facing daunting, new or different experiences will be viewed as a reflection of your abilities and your work. Confidence can be built by deliberate practice, exposure to certain situations and remembering previous successes. While there are some schools of thought that say we need to ‘fake it until we make it’, there are easier ways to boost your energy and drive your confidence. These work for in-person meetings and in the virtual world.

Stand out, from the inside out, with these 5 energy boosters:

Find a song that when it plays makes you feel happy and strong. This song can uplift your spirits and essentially shift your emotional state. Make sure you have it on your phone or playlist so you can listen to it before you log in to a video call as your power song. Have two or three go-to outfits. Why? Because being comfortable in your own skin is important and clothes are also our armour in the world. Work wear is not weekend wear, no matter how expensive the item and exercise gear is purely for going for a run, not for doing a work video call from home! Feeling uncomfortable or wearing something that you would not wear to an in-person meeting can make you appear less confident. Stylist Fiona Keary (1) recommends “having one or two blouses ironed and ready to go in the wardrobe in case of a last-minute Zoom call or meeting that you weren’t prepared for … add earrings, a pendant or a cool scarf … or pop on a blazer over your t-shirt. All of a sudden you have elevated the look and your confidence.” Standing tall, running a few stairs, power poses all work. Amy Cuddy (2) famously taught the world about power poses and you can do these anytime in the home-office or bathroom. There are other ways to get your energy up too. Run up and down a few stairs before you log into a conference call or go for a run the morning before that important Zoom meeting. You will feel better and this will shine through on the small screen.

Control your environment before the important event. This is one of the most critical components. Create the space you need to be in. Turn off your phone and don’t check emails in the minutes before you dial in. Do not check your socials either. As much as practical, ring-fence the time by closing the door and putting a “Do Not Disturb” sign on it or negotiating a time out with a spouse or other responsible adult. Steer clear of crazy-making people. Have you ever noticed how that one email can derail your day? Make sure you are aware of those crazy-making people who destroy your confidence. Those people who break deals and destroy schedules, who expect special treatment, who discount your reality while consuming your time and energy. If someone calls and says, “Can I talk with you”, tell them you can do it later. You need to manage your confidence.
Here’s an Exercise: Make a list of eight things that you can add to your arsenal of energy boosters this week. Post this list where it can be seen. Have some fun with it. That’s right, manage your energy, take control of it, and the difference will show! Be the obvious choice to the C-Suite. Sign up to receive future episodes direct to your inbox here.
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(1) Keary, F (2020) Top 5 tops for Zoom meetings, 35+ Where to Shop https://www.facebook.com/styleliberation/videos/226055948604319/UzpfSTYwNjcwMDQzODpWSzo3OTYwOTk0OTQyMTM2MTk/ (2) Cuddy, A (2012) Your body language may shape who you are, TEDGlobal https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_may_shape_who_you_are?language=en