I was recently presenting a talk on self-confidence to a large group of women. I asked them to raise their hands if the room contained a woman who had nailed self-confidence — every hand was raised; I then asked them to raise their hands if they personally struggled with self-confidence — every hand was raised.
We all know what self-confidence looks and sounds like…and yet, none of use believe that we could be that self-confident woman…and likely are to someone that we know.
The good news is, however, that you can create the visibility and credibility you need to ignite your self-confidence. You can affect how others perceive you. You can learn to communicate to others what value you bring to the table.
In short, you can be visible, take credit for your accomplishments, showcase your skills, and build your reputation both inside and outside your workplace to strengthen your self-confidence.
The 2011 Catalyst study, The Myth of the Ideal Worker: Does Doing All the Right Things Really Get Women Ahead?, supports the importance of communicating your value. Catalyst found that doing all the “right things” such as being proactive, requesting high profile assignments, and asking for promotions and raises, did not significantly help women advance their careers. What Catalyst found to have a positive impact on women’s careers was the communication of their achievements. This was one way women were able to advance their careers and increase their compensation.
When women were proactive in making their achievements known, they advanced further, increased their compensation growth, and were more satisfied with their careers. They also advanced further when they proactively networked with influential others. This also holds true for women involved in community and philanthropic organizations.
So, how do you convey self-confidence in an authentic manner?
Here are some suggestions on how to build your self-promotion skills:
Understand your value.
This is the foundation that gives you the confidence you need to talk about yourself in a positive manner.
Identify your strengths. How they have helped you in the past and how are these strengths helping you now?
What are your accomplishments? What do these say about you?
Communicate your value
Create your personal value statement so that you can clearly articulate your value to others. Whether you’re newly entering the workforce, a homemaker, an entrepreneur, or occupying the C-suite, you possess unique gifts and strengths that solidify your value.
Think strategically and identify your web of influence or power network. Build and leverage these relationships and create a plan to communicate and be consistently visible to these contacts.
Self-promote (this is not a dirty word!) in ways that others care about by focusing on outcomes when talking about your accomplishments.
Demonstrate Your Value.
Once you understand your value, you can demonstrate this value to others to establish your expertise, reliability, and credibility. Here are some suggestions:
- Volunteer and take on high profile projects at work or in your community. This gives you the opportunity to show your leadership and ability to work well with a team.
- Community involvement is a great way to showcase your abilities and meet influential people at the same time.
- Sit on non-profit boards.
- Speak up in meetings and let your opinion be known.
- Take credit for your accomplishments.
- Use assertive communication.
- Write a blog that showcases your expertise.
- Teach a course at a local college or continuing education program.
- Submit articles to become a subject matter expert.
- Say yes to opportunities for radio/TVinterviews.