Do you remember all the group work you were forced to do at university? I do. I didn’t care about the content of the PowerPoint and I would usually be hungover on presentation day. Thankfully my studious group members would cover for me and I would end up achieving a decent mark with minimal work. At the time I couldn’t see the point of group work. I was usually forced to work with people who I didn’t know and hated listening to other peoples ideas.
Now I realise how important those group sessions were. In most jobs you are required to brainstorm collectively and work on projects. I have always been very outspoken, so I was shocked to realise I struggled to present my ideas. This wasn’t pointless uni work and these projects were helping build my organisation. I thought people would dismiss my ideas or that I would come across as bossy. After a few months I realised I had to speak up. I wanted to help shape my organisation and improve our reputation. In order to do this I had to work on my confidence. Here are my top tips for building confidence at work.
Socialise with your colleagues
I am a private person and I like keeping my personal life separate from work. Unfortunately this is almost impossible – 90% of my office are 30 and under. This means they enjoy frequent socials- after work drinks, wild club nights and even the odd lunch. Social media has made us nosy and we want to know intimate details of each other’s lives. Work is no different. You need to get to know your colleagues on a personal level. Take an interest in their hobbies and relationships. This will automatically improve your work relationships. As you get to know them better they will seem less intimidating. If you have a group brainstorming session coming up send a preliminary email with your best ideas. This will allow you to gauge a response and help you come up with more ideas.
I always think it’s best to be honest and open with your colleagues. It’s always best to address problems early. There is nothing worse then building quiet resentment towards someone. It will only make you feel uncomfortable around them and you are less likely to engage with the team. This is the key to confidence.
Have one-to-ones with your manager
My manger is very big on personal development and progression. In our one to ones we often discuss personal/professional barriers to success at work. He also helps me mange my work load and shows me techniques to help manage stress. I find these sessions invaluable and they help me become more confident in all aspects of my life. I believe you should be completely open with your manger, they will respect you for it. You will also become someone they can trust. This will bring you opportunities and greater freedom within your work. If you have low confidence discuss this with your manger. They will be able to help. Talking to a senior manger will also build your confidence in talking to senior members of staff. This will help you as you progress throughout your career. If you don’t have one-to-one sessions with your manager already you can request them. As a new graduate you need help making that transition from student to professional.
Work past your limiting beliefs
A limiting belief is a negative thought you constantly tell yourself. For example, if you constantly tell yourself that your crap at presentations you will start to believe that. Even if you have had a bad experience in the past you shouldn’t obsess over that. Presentation skills can be learnt like many other things. If you have identified a weak spot make an effort to learn more about it. You are now a life long learner and should relish challenges. Limiting beliefs are very damaging and can stop progression. It’s important that you learn how to mange your thoughts. Replace limiting beliefs with positive ones. I know there must have been times when you were studying that you thought you wouldn’t make it through- I know I did. But you finished. Allow your past successes to motivate you. If you would like to learn more about limiting beliefs check out How to mange your limiting beliefs.
I think many of us struggle with low confidence and this can make life feel overwhelming. These tips can only help you improve your confidence at work. If your low confidence is linked to deeper issues this may be something you want to explore with a counsellor. Whatever you do, in all things choose happiness.