According to a new survey of 2,000 British women, 48 percent believe that it is a lack of confidence that holds them back in their careers. And this confidence problem doesn’t just stay in the office. Over 90 percent of the women said they felt like their lack of self-assurance was holding them back in some aspect of their lives.
Even more depressing, these women surmised that if they didn’t have these career issues they would be two to five years farther ahead in their career. Half of the women surveyed said their confidence problems started in school, with 25% attributing it to playground teasing. Interestingly, only one in 10 women say their confidence issues started in the workplace.
But whether you have not felt confident since the fifth grade or since your first job, here are some tips to help you get over the hurdle.
1. Take note of your accomplishments
Don’t go around bragging, but when you do something great, tell people. Make a note of it. Women need to get better at singing their own praises. Levo contributor Brittany Thomas says you should keep a “brag list.” At work she has a “booyah” folder in her inbox specifically for shout-out email from her co-workers and managers.
2. Know your stuff
You can’t take any short cuts. You have to have the credentials to back up your confidence. Whether this means getting further education or just doing research on your own about your industry and role. For a presentation, you have to know everything backwards and forwards. Become the expert.
3. Gain confidence by helping others get more confident
In order to get the love, you have to spread the love. Giving others a boost will make them feel better and will promote better working relationships.
4. Work on your communication skills
It is all about the body language and your speaking skills. Body language can be an extremely effective tool (hello, Beyonce), but it can also paint you in a very negative light. There are certain gestures that display your lack of confidence (a weak handshake, slouching in your chair and a head tilt are common ones). But a quick power pose can show a whole new confident you. Power poses are also linked to better performance, research found. Standing in a power pose for a few minutes before an interview can literally help you get the job, according to a study led by Amy J.C. Cuddy (@amyjccuddy), an associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.
As for speaking, if you know you have a meeting, you can think about what you want to say. Being more prepared will help you relax and be more confident. Having a list of topics you want to cover and ideas you want to convey in your presentation is key.
5. Dress for success
Sylvia Ann Hewlett, economist and the founding president of the Center for Talent and Innovation, said that one of the most important facets of executive presence is appearance. At an event hosted by Marie Clairelast year Hewlett said, “Appearance is an extraordinarily powerful first filtering. It can get you knocked off the list in a second.”
To boost your confidence for an interview The Prepary’s Jaime Petkanics says, “Regardless of the stated dress code, there are a few things to stay away from no matter what. Use your best judgement and avoid anything short, revealing, ripped, see-through, or overly loud/trendy. Not only is this unprofessional but it will distract the interviewer. Simply throwing a blazer on over a dress doesn’t make it appropriate for business wear!”
6. Fake it
Fake it ’til you make it is actually great career advice. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The virtue you would like to have, assume it is already yours, appropriate it, enter into the part and live the character just as the great actor is absorbed in the part he plays.” Basically, old Ralph is saying if you pretend to be that girl you want to be who is super confident, you will eventually become her.
Do you feel confident at work? Tell us in the comments!
Ask Jen Rubio, head of Social Media at Warby Parker, for some confidence tips!
Photo: Death To the Stock Photo