3 Easy Steps to Self-Confidence!
(click below to view the video or read on if you’d prefer!)
Hello dear reader and welcome to the second installment of this two-parter on self-confidence!
Last month, I kicked-off with an offering about learning to be self-confident. If you missed it, don’t hesitate to catch it up by going here.
I promised you tips so let’s get on with it. Here’s is how to be appropriately assertive and behave with self-confidence.
My first tip is this simple 3-step model: Now, let me be upfront: this model is deceptively simple and it will take practice in order to get it working. Let me tell you more about it.
First step: Listen. This is actually the hardest step. And that is because when we approach someone with something on our mind, our head is so full of what we want to say that we are usually incapable of paying attention to what they’re saying.
But think about it: if someone walked up to you and launched without preamble into a speech, how would you react? Would you give then your full attention? Or, rather, would you be talking to yourself in your mind, saying something like: “what is going on here? Why is this person talking to me like this?” You would most likely be completely distracted. So my point is: you need to engage the person before you launch into your spiel because if you don’t listen, neither will they!
And don’t pretend to listen. When we pretend, we’re not really there. So don’t have your mouth saying “Hi Paul, how are you doing today?” when, in your head, you’re screaming: “Shut up! Let me speak! I have this thing I want to tell you!” Really pay attention. Ask them if this is the right to talk to them. Ask them a question about the topic you want to broach – so you get a sense of how they’re feeling about it, what their views are.
It will do two things for you: first, it will build rapport, the person will sense that you are really listening to them and, according to the Law of Reciprocity, they are very likely to respond – by, in turn, listening to you. The second thing listening will do for you is give you a tactical advantage because it will give you an angle from which to launch into your topic. So it will come out more smoothly, with the ground already laid out and it will help the conversation get off to a good start because what you talk about will be relevant – since you introduced the topic by listening! Come to think of it, it will do a third thing for you: it will calm you down.
Last month, we discussed how uncomfortable we all get ahead of delicate conversations. Well, listening will help feel you less nervous. Because if you really listen, it will take the focus away from you and this will naturally help you relax by distracting you away from the unpleasant physical sensations you would otherwise be obsessing about.
Second step: say what you think. OK, this is your moment. And if you did well at step one, the stage is well set for you to have your say. Two things I want to share with you about step two. First, you need a link from step one. This might seem obvious but my experience is that many people botch the link: they just jump. And they ruin all the good work in step one! Tragic! If your audience seems to share your views, say something like: “I agree and I was just thinking…” or “I can see that we’re on the same page, and why don’t we…?” On the contrary, if they seem to have a different point of view, then something like: “On the other hand, another way to look at this could be…” Smooth…
The other element to be successful in step two is to stick to the KISS principle: some translate KISS as ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid’. I rather like ‘Keep it Short and Simple‘. Do not drown your audience in a sea of details because they will lose both the plot and the will to live! So prepare and identify your one – at most two core messages (if you have more, you need more than one conversation) – and focus on that: say what it is and DON’T FORGET to say why. Give a reason for what you think.
All right, step three: say what you want to happen. Again, in my experience, people don’t do so well there. They get through step one and set the stage nicely, then they say their piece but… they don’t close! ‘Close‘ is sales jargon for when you actually make the sale. Well, you need to close even when you’re not selling. Because in fact you are selling – your idea, your wish.
A story which comes to my mind to explain to you what I mean is one of a young man who had great potential but was rather withdrawn. He went into his manager’s office, established rapport, discussed the upcoming promotion round, discussed the promotion criteria and nicely explained what he was up to and why he thought he deserved to be promoted. As he’s saying his piece, the manager is nodding… All good but… he left without saying something like: “Thank you for the chat. This was very informative and I am glad to have your backing. May I count on your support with the promotion committee?” Now let me reassure you: he got the promotion. But he fretted no end because he had not asked for what he wanted and was therefore left unsure about what his manager would do.
So what do you think about the 3-step model? Go on, have a go. And let me know how you get on! I hope this simple model will help you but, like all models, it needs practice and, because it’s so simple, it has obvious shortcomings.
Let me know what you think by either leaving me a comment (see above) or dropping me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!