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Building Confidence, Stand Up, Speak Out and Silence Your Inner Critic
By Barb Girson, My Sales Tactics
Published On:  6/4/2014

Building Confidence Tips Inspired by Experience

After being invited to Women for Economic Leadership Development (W.E.L.D.) by my friend and financial guru, Mary Slane, and the W.E.L.D director, Barb Smoot, I decided to attend one of their meetings. (The meeting was excellent.)

During this meeting, the speaker asked the predominately-female audience to contribute feedback.  After a few people offered ideas, I stood up and spoke up with a reinforcing comment. "Hello, I amBarb GirsonofMy Sales Tactics" I began.

 As soon as I said my name, the little voice inside my head, my inner chicken, spoke up. "Do you realize that you are the only person out of 10 or more contributors who said your name? And did you notice no one else stood up to speak"?

I felt my face get flush.  I could feel my inner chicken squawking.  My bolder self was saying, "Go ahead, don't be afraid to stand out. Others probably wish they had the courage to speak out, too." It takes courage to be willing to be noticed and be vulnerable.

As a professional executive coach, I am experienced in recognizing times where I can build confidence and tune out the inner critic.  Therefore, I confidently proceeded to speak my thoughts at the W.E.L.D. meeting. 

I have learned that the annoying, negative voice sometimes has a seed of information that can be useful.  With this in mind, I sat down and observed how the other attendees did or didn't respond.

During the meeting about 10% of the audience spoke up at one time or another.  One other person stood up when she spoke. None of the other participants introduced themselves professionally before commenting.

This insight led me to think about how my clients and readers may benefit fromexecutive coaching tipsto help them build confidence.  Inspired by my experience, here is helpful advice to build your confidence and enhance your professional executive presence.

How to Build Confidence to Professionally Stand Up and Speak Out

Today, thought leaders challenge traditional definitions of leadership. In the best-selling book, Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg, Sheryl sites research by Marcus Buckingham that indicates "leadership needs to be more than a pre-defined set of qualities (like strategic, analytical, and performance-oriented)".  While a strong part of the message recommends that leaders be authentic and express themselves, she also supports leaders who do this imperfectly.  After Sheryl's memorable TED talk, she was asked by many listeners to keep speaking up and she encouraged others to do the same.

I join Sheryl Sandberg in encouraging leaders, especially women, to speak up. I also encourage them to stand up and not to be afraid to stand out. There are opportunities daily to practice and develop the "courage muscle". It takes confidence to stand up and speak out, as opposed to passively blending in. This is not to imply we need to be blatantly self-promoting, stealing the spotlight or speaking when we have nothing to say.  It is important to be judicious.

Building Confidence Strategies while Networking

When I attend networking events, meetings, classes, or presentations, if I have something valuable to contribute, I make it a habit to participate. From another perspective, as a professional public speaker, I appreciate when the audience engages. It is gratifying to converse with my audience instead of lecture. So when I am in the audience, I like to help the speaker.

While attending events or meetings, it is a great opportunity to practice standing up and speaking out. It is an effective way of building confidence, professionally.  It surprises me how many people, especially women, miss this opportunity. Or when they do speak, they timidly raise their hand, speak softly and make a comment without seizing the moment to be memorable.

When attending networking events, meetings, classes, or presentations, try these confidence-building exercises:

1. Look for opportunities to make valuable contributions to the conversation. Keep your responses brief so that you are not stealing the attention from the speaker.

2. Stand up when you make a comment. Let yourself be seen and heard. "Own it!" as Oprah would say.

3. Start by identifying yourself and your business or organization. If you feel uncomfortable doing this,practice gaining confidencein settings where there is little or no pressure. It will get easier. Not only does this build your courage muscle, it gives you practice silencing your inner chicken. It also helps you to build the skill of extemporaneous speaking.

Use these three tips to help you stand up and speak out. As Sheryl Sandburg says,"Lean in and get out of your own way."

2014 My Sales Tactics copyright original work

Permission to reprint this article is granted with inclusion of "About the Author, contact information, & active web site link".

About The Author

Barb Girson,International Direct Selling Industry expert, trainer and Registered Corporate Coach(TM), is a highly interactive, creative speaker & author offering professional skill development programs for workshops, leader retreats, and annual conventions & telecasts sales training programs. Custom programs /Coaching 1:1 available.

Barb Girson helps companies, teams & entrepreneurs gain confidence, get into action, & most importantly… grow sales. To sign up for her next FREE sales training teleclass / join her free email list & get ‘Sales Strategies that Stick’ ezine, VisitMySalesTactics.comto learn more. Need aspeakerfor your next event? Contact Barb Girson: 614.855.0446



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