This month we’ve introduced a brand new Training section. Sussex Business Times has teamed up with Scott Summers from The Skills Farm who here, explains how you can stand out from a crowd

Why do some people confidently speak up in meetings and convey their suggestions & opinions with authority and ease, while others struggle to sound credible when expressing their point of view?

What enables some people to feel able to discuss their ideas at meetings with senior leaders, while others feel out of their depth, inferior and often hold back from speaking?

How do some people get listened to and taken seriously when they speak up about problems & potential solutions, while others get bogged down in detail, waffle and ultimately get overlooked?

The answer, in large part, lies in their personal power.

Think of someone you know who is able to command attention, speak with gravitas and is influential. Were they born with this innate ability to engage others and inspire people into action? Probably not. Personal power can be developed.
One key aspect of personal power is Personal Authority.

Interestingly, your ability to express your personal authority isn’t dependant on seniority. Your role or position is your ‘given’ authority. Personal authority is available to even the most junior member of staff.

So if this is a learned skill, how can you develop more of it? There are two parts and each has two distinct benefits.
Lets imagine you attend a meeting where others in the room are more senior or more experienced than you. Ultimately you want the leaders in the room to listen to you, take you seriously and view you as credible.

Firstly, think about your past acheivements. Specifically focus on your…

  • Knowledge: The things you know, your studies, research, analysis etc.
  • Experience: The tasks, roles, projects you’ve worked on.
  • Skills: The things that you are able to do.
  • Track Record: The things that you have done that worked. The decisions you have made that were right.
  • Reputation: The things that you are known for. The positive things people have said about you.
  • Credentials: The awards you’ve won, the things your received recognition for and associations that you belong to.
  • Network: The people who you know that others hold in high regard.

All these things are your personal authority and if you take a moment, you’ll realise that you have a huge amount of positive aspects from your past that you can reflect upon.

The benefit of spending a few moments thinking about the above list before speaking to more senior or experienced people, is that you give yourself a self-confidence boost.

Does focussing on your personal authority really help? You bet! Say to yourself, “I know what I’m talking about” or “I’ve done this before and it worked,” and feel your self-confidence click up a notch. Secondly, express your past acheivements. Here’s are some examples…

  • Knowledge: “I’ve analysed the data and the results tell me that…” or “an article I read recently shows that…”
  • Experience: “In my experience, I’ve found that…”
  • Track Record: “Last time I did this and it worked well, I…”
  • Network: “I’ve seen Fred do it this way” or “I’ve discussed this with Fred and he agrees…” (where others hold Fred in high regard).

When you say these things aloud, others will subliminally think: “she really knows about this” or “he has experience of this” or “oh, she knows Fred!”

Say these things all the time and you’ll be irritating. Drop sentences like these into your dialogue occasionally and watch your perceived confidence increase.

Finally two tips from me… Firstly, own it! This is your personal authority. Use “I” language with confidence. Secondly, be succinct. You don’t have to share everything from your past – just the most relevant bit – and keep it short and simple.

In fact, listen to those who have influence and you’ll hear them briefly expressing their personal authority once or twice in every conversation.

Then, next time you want to express your idea, opinion or point of view, draw from your personal authority and notice how much more you are listened to, taken seriously and seen as credible.

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