Caroline Arnold, Executive Coach, led an interactive workshop exclusively for members providing practical tips on overcoming some of the challenges women can face in their career - particularly when working in a male dominated industry such as transport - by increasing their confidence.
She kicked off the workshop with an engaging visualisation exercise which got everyone considering whether they were really pushing themselves to reach outside their comfort zone.
This led into an interactive discussion on the question: What does confidence mean to you?
The audience responses included:
- Sounding convincing/voice
- Body language/stance
- The way you act/interact
- Being respected
- Self belief
- Knowing what you want to say and saying it with conviction
- Being authentic
- Seeking out new opportunities
The second discussion was about the challenges women face in the transport industry. These included:
- The potential negative perception of considering having a family
- Dealing with negative feedback from others
- Being ignored, particularly in meetings
- Being the only female, in a team or in meetings
- Care-giver responsibilities
- Unconscious bias
- Pre-conditioned beliefs
- Male dominated environment
- Lack of role models
Caroline provided several pro-active and practical methods to overcome some of these challenges and increase confidence:
Positive affirmation: Consider setting a daily alarm with positive affirmations as a way of refocusing and staying confident. Your mindset can make a huge difference to confidence and self-belief.
Stance: Standing in a positive posture can boost feelings of confidence. Check out Amy Cuddy's excellent TEDTalk on this subject.
Body language: Consider and be aware of your body language including; posture, head motion, facial expression, eye contact and gestures. Caroline recommends asking a trusted friend to help pinpoint nervous habits.
Getting out of your comfort zone: This is where 80 per cent of us exist, where everything is safe, routine and you can survive by just getting by. Instead consider the potential of the learning zone where you push yourself to do things you fear. If you were10 per cent more confident, what would you do? What is on your bucket list?
Make a list: Caroline suggested journalling as a way to create a positive mindset; listing five things you are grateful for every day and three things you will achieve. Try the Five Minute Journal app
Read: Continuous learning and development can also increase confidence. Caroline reads at least one business book a week and suggests finding a productive way to fit this in rather than seeing it as a chore or another demand on your precious time. Try audio books, podcasts, TEDtalks or Blinkist which provides short summaries of non-fiction books.
Network: Networking groups are great for building confidence and growing your connections. Check out Philippa Gregory's tips from the WTS London event last year Consider what can you do to continue a relationship formed through networking? How can you make the most of it?
Caroline's top tips for being more confident in a job:
- Get a coach
- Be a mentor and/or a mentee
- Speak to your manager and HR about opportunities
- Learn to say no
Finally, Caroline called on the audience to ACT:
Consider one thing you can do tomorrow to increase your confidence, be bold, be daring.
Here's what some members had to say about the event:
Some great tips on improving confidence
Liked the interactive aspects
Enjoyed the networking – very relaxed atmosphere
I really enjoyed the session and found Caroline's tips really useful
I'll definitely try to incorporate them into my daily routine