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By: Kaylie Lewis
Confidence in oneself is one of the many interpersonal skills needed to succeed in PR. In an industry predominantly comprised by women, it’s important to realize how to use your voice assuredly to get things accomplished, and be recognized as a leader. As a woman in this industry, I must realize that having a voice means I am contributing to the conversation by adding value and true perspective. Using my voice means thinking strategically about what, how and when to say something. Ultimately, I’ve learned that through self-confidence I can gain respect and authority.
When I walked into my first class at Chico State I was scared. I didn’t feel confident in my ability to connect with strangers and quite frankly, I didn’t want to. Networking with people or even just making smalltalk seemed like a giant mountain I couldn’t climb. After a couple months I thought the only way to get over my fear is by getting through it, so I signed up for a public speaking class my next semester. I have to say, it was one of the best business decisions I have ever made. At first, I wanted to puke every time I got up in front of the group. But by the end of the semester, I could confidently recite a memorized presentation, which was a huge feat for me.
Since that semester, giving presentations at agency meetings and presenting findings to my clients has been a breeze. I rarely get nervous which helps my clients instill confidence in me, therefore producing the best work possible. This newfound confidence helped with my sales job in the mall as well. When I felt confident talking about the clothing garments, people were more likely to do business.
“Since that semester, giving presentations at agency meetings and presenting findings to my clients has been a breeze.”
Author Barrie Davenport writes, “Low confidence makes us doubt our abilities and judgment and prevents us from taking calculated risks, setting ambitious goals and acting on them.” All of these tasks listed are things PR practitioners do on a daily basis, and with a lack of self-confidence, it can be hard to achieve the things our job requires. When I feel confident in myself, I know I am doing the best work for my clients because I can stand behind what I have produced with pride.
Davenport goes on to say, “At work, people who suffer with this problem often engage in subconscious behaviors that undermine their success, making them less likely to ask for or get promotions, raises and even jobs.”
An article by NBC News outlines some tips to improve your self-confidence:
Dress for Success
One of the many factors people lack self-confidence in is personal appearance. By confronting these feelings you have, you can feel immediate gratification and boost your self-esteem.
Acknowledge Your Strengths
The article suggests grabbing a pen and paper to write down your strengths in times of struggle. By identifying all the good traits you possess, you will increase your confidence level.
Surround Yourself with Supportive People
The article reads, “By surrounding yourself with supportive people who believe in you, you’ll find that confidence and self-esteem are natural byproducts.”