International Women’s Day is on March 8th. The occasion gives us all an opportunity to reach out and support women we work and do business with. Confidence is key to supporting women in business. Confidence can come from within, but more often than not it comes from the support of a friend, work college, business partner or mentor. We asked some of our female Sage Business Experts to give us their views on inspiring confidence in advance of International Women’s Day.
Many women feel they lack in confidence or feel a little insecure, particularly when going for a promotion, pitching for a new client or whilst networking. The fact is many men feel just the same, they often just hide it better. An extremely confident Sales Director that I used to work with gave me the following tip which he surprisingly used: “If you don’t feel confident, try “acting” it, eventually the acting can subside and you will just feel confident from practice.” Practice is extremely important, instead of shying away from the next challenging client meeting or presentation to staff put yourself forward. The more times you are in front of an audience the more at ease you will feel.
Nicky Goringe Larkin, Goringe Accountants Ltd
My favourite quote about confidence is a slogan you sometimes see on tee-shirts in ski resorts. “If you ain’t scared, you ain’t skiing!” Meaning, of course, that if you are puttering around the blue runs, you are not extending yourself, or learning anything. In order to develop and progress from year to year, you have to take on those red runs, and eventually the black runs. You have to feel the fear and do it anyway.
No matter how competent or experienced we are in a particular role, we are never fully ‘cooked’. There is always room for improvement, and more learning, and it is through this progression that we get the greatest sense of achievement, and ultimately a sense of confidence in our amazing, untapped potential. It is all there to be done, we only have to make up our minds to do it.
Orlaith Carmody, Mediatraining.ie
If you don’t ask, you don’t get. I think this is so true and every time I use it I get amazing results. I think one of the biggest challenges women face in business is fear of rejection. Women tend to be more cautious and protective so they aren’t inclined to ‘just ask’. However, I’m here to say that it’s vital! The worst that can happen is people say ‘No’ but you haven’t lost because if you hadn’t asked in the first place you’d still not have had the opportunity anyway. Nothing venture, nothing gained.
Joanna Booth MyStudentStyle
A really effective way to market your business is through speaking at events or participating in webinars and podcasts. So how do you build your confidence for building a speaking platform especially if you are nervous about speaking in public?
When looking to develop your speaking skills, partnering with others as a guest on an audio podcast or hosting your own podcast is a good way to refine your content and style of delivery. If you don’t want to be on camera, start with creating video content incorporating slides or screen shares to which you can narrate your story. You may feel uncomfortable watching or listening to yourself, however you will improve your skills and effectiveness if you record and review your performance.
Krishna De, Biz Growth News
Take off the cape and stop trying to fly! Or in other words don’t try and be a super human, super hero. Many women try to be everything – the home maker, the cook, the cleaner, the wife AND the business owner working 24/7 365 days a year. Starting and running a business is incredibly challenging for first timers, so adding all these other things to the mix is a blueprint for extreme stress and probably burnout. Remember you are one person and you get the same 24 hours a day the everyone else does during which you must also sleep and relax. Get help with your business (outsource) and your household (hire a cleaner, house keeper, nanny etc.,) as soon as possible.
Ola Agbaimoni Eélan Media Ltd
We care about people and nurture relationships. This is great for keeping our customers happy. We talk about what we are passionate about and are able to convince other people of our point of view. Being in business means juggling lots of skills; book keeping, marketing, sales, customer service. If it’s true that we can multitask this has to be an asset.
Amanda Webb, spiderworking.com
Just get out there and make your voice heard. It could be through your blog, it could be making sure you’re the first one to stand up and ask a question at a conference. It could be getting more active on social media, or it could be taking the plunge and applying for funding for a new business. Sometimes you have to shout to be heard above the din, but still, there are always ways of making yourself heard.
Sue Keogh, Sookio Limited
Confidence comes from the combination of clarity of purpose and action. To get clear on your purpose, think big – think about the difference you want to make in the world or in your corner of it. Then you will have a standard by which everything can be measured, and you can begin to cut out the dross that isn’t moving you towards that thinking-big-purpose. Then take action. Thinking about doing something is always more effort than doing it. Just get on with it and relish the satisfaction at the end of a day of action towards your purpose. And finally, when time or energy is tight, think about what you CAN do rather than what you can’t do. Even 5 – 10 minutes of deliberate action towards your goal, consistently on a daily basis, will build both confidence and momentum in your business.
Joanne Summer, JoanneSummer.com
Women tend to sell themselves short: our strength in empathising is also our weakness. Stand tall and make sure you achieve what you are worth, whether negotiating a pay deal or selling your products and services.
Kate Baucherel Galia Digital
Network and build a base of strong, supportive [but honest!] colleagues. Starting out, developing or growing a business can often feel like a lonely or isolated experience… it’s really critical to have your own personal ‘board of directors’ that you can bounce ideas off, ask for support from and generally connect with when you need to.
Olwen Dawe, OlwenDawe.com
Women in business often overlook their unique talent and skill: women spend over 70% of the household income, business women understand the mind set of other women, their decision-making process and their language – business women must have confidence in their natural gifts.
Janice B Gordon, The Problem Solver
Women can use their skills anywhere. Workplace skills can be used in the home, their own business and with their family as well. Anything a woman learns has a use, nothing is superfluous, we’re all life-long learners in business.
Sarah Arrow, Sark eMedia