Self-confidence is an important part of your personal and professional development. Having confidence allows you to be assertive in the workplace, make decisions and get your opinions across in any situation (like asking your boss to go to Turing Fest!)
But the fact is, many people don’t feel confident at work. According to the ‘2021 State of the Workplace Report,’ only 4% feel confident at work and 96% have experienced imposter syndrome.
This lack of confidence has an impact on career growth and makes it a challenge to communicate, particularly when it comes to your boss. The solution? Take the time to learn and hone soft skills to reach your full potential.
First, let’s look at the benefits of soft or common skills and look at simple and effective tips to help you build on two key ones: confidence and communication.
Why should you learn soft skills?
One of the main obstacles for employers is the skills gap and finding the right candidates. Often employers rate soft skills as equally or more valuable when looking at the workforce.
Monster’s ‘The Future of Work 2021: Global Hiring Outlook’ research found that regardless of industry, the top skills employers want are:
These types of skills will enable you to become empowered, increase productivity, forge relationships, avoid disputes or miscommunication, and show your worth.
It will also help you to ‘manage up’, a concept that aims to create a good working relationship between an employee and their boss. It’s about bridging the gap between your role and the role of a manager to help things run smoothly and bring the best out of both of you. Confidence and communication are a big part of achieving that.
1. How to build confidence
Confidence can help you in many ways. It can protect and improve your mental health, enable you to feel comfortable in any situation, and have a positive impact on your happiness.
One of the first things to do if you don’t feel confident is to figure out why. What makes you feel vulnerable or unconfident in a situation? To help you figure this out, make daily notes or jot down when you don’t feel confident at work and why. This will help you get your feelings and thoughts down so you can see a pattern or reflect on them later.
You should also understand what self-confidence looks like for you. For example, is it speaking up in a team meeting or being more vocal in a one-to-one meeting with your boss about what you need?
Confidence can come from knowing yourself better and practicing self-care. So think about what could help. Would a weekly yoga or exercise class give you a boost? Or spending time with friends or colleagues at a weekly lunch? It’s about understanding what you need and tapping into it.
Above all, you need to adopt a growth mindset. This is about having a career vision and seeing what you need to get there. Is it creativity, resilience, or networking skills?
Think about what you want from your professional life and start to visualize it. Then you can create a path that includes challenges and opportunities to get you there!
“I’ve been attending Turing Fest for 5 years in a row. To me, this is a must-attend event as it covers a range of business topics and brings the best calibre of speakers!” – Sid Vel
2. How to communicate better
It doesn’t matter whether you work alone, are part of a small team or even a big one, communication is a skill that can go a long way.
However, there’s a lot of noise in the professional world and it can be hard to get heard amongst other voices. Here are a few things you can do to improve your communication skills:
- Prepare – If you feel anxious about your communication, prepare what you want to say in advance. For example, if it’s a team meeting, note down the points you want to get across or anything you want to raise beforehand and check them off as you go through.
- Be clear – When you are given the chance to communicate, be clear about what you’re saying or what you want. Try and be concise too as your message can get lost in too many words.
- Listen – While it’s important to say what you want to say, good communication is also about listening. Practice active listening by avoiding the temptation to interrupt or drift off when someone is speaking.
- Be mindful of tone – While you may be frustrated or annoyed about something, don’t let it show in your communication. A calm tone is more effective in getting someone to listen than an irritated one, as it can get someone’s back up. So keep calm and neutral.
- Use other types – Verbal communication is not the only way to collaborate or get your point across. Non-verbal communication can use body language or eye contact to put someone at ease to show you agree with them. Visual communication uses things like graphs, images, or tables to get a point across. This can be helpful when giving updates on a campaign or project or representing data.
- Ask questions – If you don’t understand something or want to know more, just ask. It’s also good to ask questions to build collaborative skills or support a colleague on a task or project. Asking questions also shows initiative and interest in your job and the company.
“I love the vibe and everyone is so friendly. Being here and around so many like-minded people is so awesome compared to being in front of a computer screen.” – Anika Zubair, InSided.
Improving these two skills will help you to thrive in your role and set a path for your career. It’s at events like Turing Fest that you can show your value and earn some brownie points by learning new things and networking with peers and experts.
Showing what you’ve learned and can apply once you’re back at the desk is surely something every boss wants from an employee. Plus, you’ll get a confidence boost too!