Confidence is one of the biggest factors holding women back as they navigate their digital careers. It’s an issue 10 Digital Ladies co-founder Lucia Adams has navigated first hand – both in her own career journey, as well as with the coaching clients she works with.
This month we were treated to a workshop by well-known BBC TV broadcasters Luisa Baldini and Louisa Preston. These two veterans of news broadcasting provided a fascinating insight into the tricks of projecting with confidence in front of an audience of millions. The workshop explored how we can start to build our own confidence and what we can do to appear confident even when we don’t feel it.
The event was once again held at the fantastic venue provided by our sponsors at Photobox and was an interactive affair with 10DL members trying their hands at rewriting a news story so that it could be delivered in 20 seconds.
Here are the top ten pieces of advice that we took from our time with Louisa and Luisa:
Know when you can be assertive
Trying too hard to assert yourself can mean that you end up appearing argumentative or aggressive. When we are concerned we won’t be heard we might try to hard. Pick your moments.
The font of confidence: innate, underlying, immediate
There are three things you notice when you come across confident people. Firstly the confidence appears to be built in – they seem to be born with it. Secondly, it underpins everything about them – the way they stand, the way they speak and the way they move. Thirdly, it is immediate. They speak with confidence from the very first word.
Understand your personal brand
Confident people come in all shapes, sizes and styles. What is common to all of them is that they are comfortable in their skin. This comes from a real understanding of their personal brand. They know their strengths and weaknesses and they have created a brand that is built around those strengths.
Tackle your imposter syndrome
Imposter syndrome is something that most of us struggle with from time to time. Often the more successful we are the more of an issue it comes becomes. This is something that we need to tackle head on otherwise it will build and become a real barrier to building your confidence.
I am here and you will listen to me!
All too often we seem to want to want to ask permission to share our thinking. This often leads to a tone that is uncertain – as if we lack confidence in the veracity of what we are going to say. Whether you are a meeting or at an event you are there for a reason and we need to recognise the importance of your own contribution.
Hold your imaginary cloak in place – chin up and shoulders back!
When we lack confidence our posture gives us away. We tend to hunch forward – head down. Not only does this make you appear unconvinced in the importance of what you are saying it also makes it harder for others to hear you. If you imagine that you are wearing a cloak over your shoulders think about holding it in place – keep your shoulders back and your head up.
Do a quick count of three in between sentences to pace yourself
One of the common mistakes we make when speaking in front of a group of people is to rush our sentences. It is important to remember (especially if you are speaking in front of a large audience) that you need to drop your speaking pace and to pause. Pausing gives an impression of confidence and gives people time to absorb what you are saying. One simple trick is to count to 3 in your head between each sentence.
Video yourself – no matter how excruciating it feels!
Nobody likes to watch themselves on video. Most of us don’t even like to listen to our own voices but if you can bear the embarrassment it is well worth doing. It helps you understand any vocal or physical ticks you may be unaware of and understand how you are going to be perceived by your audience.
Have the confidence to do things slightly differently
The most memorable speeches we hear or conversations we have are the ones that aren’t quite what we expected. It might feel safer to follow tried and tested routes but it is by doing things a little differently that we can have the biggest impact.
Own your entrance!
It is important that you are delivering with confidence from the moment that you walk into a room. If you watch great orators take to a stage they have captured your attention before they even open their mouths.
Thanks again to everyone who made this such a good event. We had some fantastic feedback from our attendees and I am sure we will be calling on Louisa Preston and Luisa Baldini again for another session.
Remember, if you have any thoughts on building and projecting confidence and would like to share them with us please comment below or join us on Twitter or Instagram (@10digitalladies). As always, we encourage our community to offer ideas for our next 10 Digital Ladies book! If you still haven’t got your copy of our first book, Career Hacks, you can register for a copy here: http://bit.ly/10DLbook.