Why Women Must Own It: Communicating Confidence in the Boardroom and Beyond
by Karima Mariama-Arthur
In business, communicating confidence is currency—it’s quantifiable and can translate huge dividends for those willing to express it. While this notion has traditionally benefited men, it hasn’t been such a trump card for women. In a recent Bloomberg interview, BBC World News America anchor Katty Kay and “Good Morning America” contributor Claire Shipman explore this notion and expose the confidence gap between men and women. Katty and Claire are also co-authors of The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know. Read more about their research and findings here.
I’ve worked with numerous male and female professionals across industries during the course of my career. My experience confirms that being competent means nothing if you don’t believe it. Even if you’re tempted to “fake it until you make it,” that’s simply a prophylactic measure. Confidence must be real, visceral, and owned.
Confidence gives you immediate, first-class and strategic advantages in business. You advance your “pawns” to premium positioning by elevating your thinking, performance and results. You can’t get those kinds of outcomes by faking it. With the power to seal a deal, or break it, confidence is a golden calling card that women simply cannot afford to be without.
Consider the following four reasons to take confidence into the boardroom and beyond:
Confidence is currency. Confidence is the necessary quid pro quo (consideration) in every business transaction. It raises the stakes and opens doors. It helps to position you as the expert, facilitate the exchange of value, and ultimately seals the deal. Doing business without confidence will leave you strategically bankrupt. Don’t do it.
Confidence says “Take me seriously.” Ladies, if you want to play in the big league, get ready to play full out. Bring some old-fashion moxie to the game and introduce it at the outset. Insecurity, self-doubt, and hesitation can all be seen from a mile away. And, if you’re not convinced of your own competence, then why should anyone else? Demonstrate that you have confidence to be in the game and win it.
Confidence influences brand perception. Your brand is your billboard and it’s always at stake. If you are in business, you are always in the business of managing your professional brand. Everything you say or do has the potential to impact it. With that in mind, brand yourself as someone who executes competently, strategically and with confidence. You’ll hardly have to worry about earning a reputation as an ‘easy mark.’
Confidence impacts performance. What the mind harbors, the body manifests. If you don’t believe that you can get the job done with excellence, then your performance will reflect it. Why risk showing up like an amateur or having your qualifications second-guessed? The odds will not be in your favor. Increase your confidence and boost your performance. It’s just that simple.
Here’s the deal: Confidence is an essential life skill and its’s critical for business. Make confidence the gateway, and not a roadblock, to your success. Play bigger, stand taller and… own it!
Not sure where you fare on the confidence meter? Take Katty and Claire’s confidence code assessment here:
To your success!
Karima Mariama-Arthur is a corporate attorney and founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport (www.wordsmithrapport.com), an international consulting firm specializing in world-class professional development and advisory services. For helpful tips on increasing confidence and solving performance challenges, connect with her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter, @wsrapport.