Confidence has long been recognised as a desirable – if not essential – life quality. A recent study in the United States, for example, identified ‘confidence’ as the one quality women found most attractive in men. A great deal of research and writing, therefore, has been devoted to identifying ways of building self-confidence. But attention also needs to be devoted to how to build others’ confidence in you – your effectiveness and success rely on it. Here’s how to help others to become confident in you…
1. Focus on building relationships.
Tom Peters is attributed with saying ‘Business is a series of relationships between people’. In fact, relationship building has become a key value-adding activity – the better the relationships, the better the business. To build and maintain the desired relationships, four behaviours are essential:
- Arrive on time (or earlier).
- Do as you say you will.
- Finish what you start.
- Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.
Failure to adhere to any one of these behaviours leads to a decline in, or dissolution of, the relationship.
Robyn Henderson, in ‘Be Seen, Be Known, Move Ahead’, says that to build relationships, you must gain the respect of…
- Your work colleagues – pull your weight; acknowledge the contribution of others; don’t be afraid to ask for help; be positive; and don’t gossip about others.
- Your superiors – treat them as you would your colleagues; work to deadlines; stay calm in a crisis; be organised and efficient; be a problem-solver; think creatively; be articulate; keep up with trends in business; and relate well to customers or clients.
- Your customers or clients – be polite and helpful; be pleasant on the phone; solve problems; know your products; offer advice and creative solutions; get action; meet deadlines; follow up; return calls; and show a genuine interest in people.
Note that most of this advice boils down to being organised and polite, and being an expert on the procedures, products, and services you offer.
2. Observe established communicative know-how.
Years of investigations and observations have helped to increase our understanding of the effect our behaviour has on others. We know, for example, that:
- the first four minutes is a most important period in any interaction.
- more than 70 per cent of information is communicated nonverbally.
- voice tempo communicates much more information than either volume or tone.
- remembering and using people’s names, and knowing what they’re interested in, gets them on side immediately.
- people appreciate those who listen more than they speak and smile more than they frown.
Your awareness and application of this information enhances relationships and builds confidence.
3. Help others to see things differently.
Often, the greatest barriers to achieve-ments are self-created, brought on by a limited view of the world. The way you question others’ assumptions, make suggestions, and challenge established views helps to increase your value to people who more confidently see merit in developing their relationship with you.
4. Reinforce what others are good at.
For people to feel confident about others and move forward, they must first feel confident about themselves and their strengths. By helping others to identify and build on their strengths, you are promoting their self-confidence, forging even stronger relationships with them, and increasing their confidence in you. An ideal starting point, therefore, is to help people identify – tell them if necessary – what they have already accomplished. As they become aware of those accomplishments, they will not only value your encouragement but also look to you to provide any missing qualities.
5. Increase others’ sense of certainty.
One of the most important aspects of building others’ confidence is to increase the amount of certainty they feel about working with you. Your achievements, knowledge, resources, and capabilities play an important part: others feel they are gaining a great deal through their association with you. It is important, therefore, that you let people know – subtly – about your achievements, knowledge, and capabilities. The letters after your name, your certificates and degrees displayed on your office wall, club and association memberships, resources and backing you have access to, all help to build a sense of certainty in others.
6. Identify and develop ‘your unique process’.
Everyone is famous for something. Or, as Dan Sullivan says, ‘Everyone in life seeks out other people who have translated their unique skills and knowledge into a unique process.’ Only a few people, however, make the effort to name what that ‘something’ or ‘unique process’ is.
The first step, of course, is to realise that you do have a unique process. Then you need to put a name to your process or special something that differentiates you from the rest. When you have done so and devoted time to its continued development, you will find that you can give enormous confidence to everyone you deal with – staff, colleagues, suppliers, customers, and prospects. After all, if this skill or quality is unique to you, there will be only one place where others can confidently obtain it.
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