Regain the Confidence of an Eight Year Old
While watching my son's third grade musical last week, I noticed something remarkable about how 8 year olds perform. They sing with wild abandon, loudly, happily, and mostly out of key. In other words, they are completely unapologetic about their lack of performance skills, probably because they are so thoroughly enjoying themselves up on stage.
The performance made me think about how we become increasingly self-conscious as we get older and more hesitant to share our opinions, especially if we believe they differ significantly from the views of others. However, losing our voice has a significant cost in our work and personal lives.
Here are some easy steps for regaining the confidence of an eight year old:
- Raise your arm all the way up.
We've all done the "meek half-raised arm thing" when we're unsure of an answer or afraid to ask a question. Whether you're in a business or PTA meeting, OWN your question. OWN your comments. Raise your arm and let yourself be heard.
- Don't be afraid to disagree.
Sure, there's the possibility that others may not agree with your view, but does that mean you shouldn't say anything? Silence is a bigger barrier to success than polite conflict.
- Practice speaking up in comfortable settings.
If you're really nervous about trying this skill at work, test it out at the grocery store or at home. For instance, it is easier to practice at the deli counter ("Excuse me, I believe I was next in line.") than with a new client. Trust me; this skill really will improve with practice.
- Remind yourself regularly of this interesting fact:
Research shows that people perceive someone who speaks up as a competent leader-- regardless of whether they are actually competent. Enough said?
Faun Zarge helps people find solutions for their work-life challenges.
She offers her practical, realistic strategies through a wide variety of highly interactive and engaging seminars. Please feel free to contact Faun directly to discuss how she might help your organization.