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Projecting Confidence Starts With a Little Planning

As an emerging leader, it is important to project confidence when communicating at work, whether you are interacting with employees, clients, or other leaders. Spend a few minutes prior to your conversations to ensure that they make an impact and are worth the time. Here are some tips to help you steer each conversation in the right direction:

1. Know Your Audience - You should rarely have a conversation with someone you don’t know anything about. Before the conversation happens, take time to gather some background information on the person. That way you can put things into context and have more meaning with everything you say. LinkedIn is a good resource, or ask others who know the person.

2. Ask Good Questions - If you want someone to start talking and sharing information with you, don’t ask yes or no questions. Ask open-ended questions that will net more in-depth responses. Use phrases like “tell me more about...”, or “how do you see this happening?” or “can you help me understand this a little better?”

3. Don’t Make Anything Up - If you want to build trust, be truthful. If you don’t know something, admit it. Or if you only know a little bit, let them know what you know, then ask them to tell you more. You can easily move the conversation back to them by saying, “I only know a little bit about X, tell me your thoughts on...”

4. Respond, Don’t Just Answer - Answering is giving data - who, what, where, when, why, how. Responding is data plus more. By doing this, you provide more richness of the information and then you’re truly engaging. When an employee says, "Can I get this to you tomorrow?" instead of "Yes, that's fine." try "I know you have a lot on your plate. I want to help you with your priorities to get everything done, so thanks for the heads up."

Don’t forget that body language is important! Position yourself in a place that removes barriers like a desk or a computer that stands between you and the person you’re talking with. This will change the whole demeanor and is a much more inviting environment.

Keep strong eye contact and stay confident on the outside even if you don't totally feel it on the inside!

This was my takeaway How To Be Awesome At Your Job Podcast-362: Taking Control of Your Interactions with Maryann Karinch. Listen to the whole thing HERE

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