Projecting your Image at Work for Success(7 Posts)
Does anyone have any technique or book which they would recommend for developing a more authoritative yet still feminine image at work? I don't mean just appearance, I mean more to do with how you speak and project yourself. I have been encouraged to project myself in a more confident and self-assured way, and I think that the advice is good. I know that I am very competent, but instead of wowing clients, I am quietly getting things done without dazzling. A big in-your-face macho show-off style will never be right for me, but I know that there is room for improvement here, still in a feminine way, but in a more impressive way. What has worked for you?
Sounds ridiculous, but paying attention to dress. How you look matters. Depending on what you feel comfortable in, don't wear self-effacing clothes - wear something which flatters you always, not something that is just OK.
And don't worry about being feminine - you are anyway, being more assertive or confident won't change that, you'll still come across as feminine.
That's very interesting thank you. My work environment requires formal business suits and I think I am always smart, however, I deliberately don't dress in a too sexy way at work; probably I am scared that if I tried to look too attractive at work, it would completely distract from the work I was doing. I am also interested in the telephone side of things, as a lot of my client contact is by telephone.
I think you are a bit softly spoken but I don't have any techniques on sounding more confident and assertive - perhaps others may have some suggestions.
There are plenty of corporate telephone assetiveness courses around, how about proposing you are sent on one at your next review? Would be a good way to show you are assertive (in requesting it) and always looking to improve your work abilities at the same time.
Of course I've been thinking about this some more. I have heard - and should say I don't at all know if I endorse this one - that, for women, consciously Not Smiling at first is effective, so that when you do smile it's received as a "reward" by whomever you're speaking to. Idea is that it works particularly well for women as it's the opposite of what we're culturally constructed to do.
On business phone call matters, if I think about people I find confidence-inspiring there, it is something along the lines of:
- patient listening to what others have to say;
- before saying their own piece, summarising neatly (the neatness takes a natural gift I think! - showing that the listening hasn't just been patient, it's been "active");
- having a plan of what needs to be covered, so being a bit flexible about side-tracking while being responsible for bringing the discussion back to the real issues;
- doing a "wrapping up" at the end so everyone knows where they stand.
This sounds rather stating the obvious doesn't it.
Thank you for your comments which are very interesting. I think if I were going to get any training, I should get something one-to-one specific to my own profession; there are actually actors who advertise voice training in our professional journals. I have also realised that I have several good friends in different professions who deal with this issue themselves and are very interested in having this conversation with me; had one outside the school gates this morning which we said we must continue later. This alone is huge progress from when I was pregnant and did not know any working mothers in our profession and was ringing around my college tutors scrabbling for an unknown contact to call for advice (was put on to someone totally useless and discouraging!). Issues of female power and dominance are very complex; I am expected to take the lead but often am the youngest and physically smallest person in the room. I have also to overcome having been brought up at school and at home to be as modest as possible because otherwise less successful people will scratch your eyes out!
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