Building your credibility through your communication

Building your credibility through your communication

Building trust with the members of your team, and, the decision makers above you is an important part of your role. For most of us, trust does not come easy. We only come to trust someone after we’ve known them for a while, and have some experience with them.

To become an effective Executive Assistant, it’s important to focus on honing those skills that make it easy for others to quickly come to trust you. Most of it comes down to communication.

If you’ve read Tara Mohr’s book “Playing Big,” you’ll know that as women, we are often responsible for holding ourselves back and playing small.  She says, “Too often, they were sitting on their big ideas rather than sharing them, holding back their most provocative questions rather than asking them.” For Tara, it’s all about you finding your voice.

Finding your voice

Finding your voice may not be as difficult as you think, but it may mean you need to confront some of your limiting communication behaviours and replacing them with confident new ones. That will mean acknowledging and managing the vulnerability you will feel as you start speaking up and voicing your opinion, too.

The best place to start is with an examination of your language and word choices.

Stop being your own worst enemy

If you want your team members, peers, and decision makers to take you seriously, you must first stop undermining yourself with your speech.

For many Office Professionals, self-sabotage is a genuine issue. This is particularly for women, who may have developed the habit of apologising for everything that goes wrong in a situation, whether or not it was something in their control.

Whether it’s conditioning by society and social expectations, or, the result of listening to an internal critical voice that expresses self-doubts and fear, we assume the blame for things going wrong. It seems to be part of our innate need to keep everyone happy. As women, most of us tend to be nurturing and to offer emotional support and empathy to others in a difficult situation. But saying “I’m sorry,” when it’s not your fault, comes across as weak, and wishy-washy.

Be mindful of general overuse of “sorry”. For example, when you arrive at a doorway at the same time as someone else, or you want to manoeuvre past someone. It’s common to say “Sorry”when what you really mean is “Excuse me” or “May I please pass you?”. Pantene did a great campaign on this which you can watch here.

Finding Trust

Your team members, peers and decision makers need to feel assured. Apologising for things that are not your fault, failing to speak up and take credit for your own accomplishments, or failing to defend your opinions for fear of making someone angry isn’t showing respect for others. It is sending a very clear message that you don’t trust yourself, you may not support your team, and that you aren’t to be trusted. Even a single seemingly unassuming word like “just,” or “perhaps,” decreases your authority and makes others less likely to trust whatever additional words you say after that one little “qualifier.”

Combine this response with our tendency to excuse ourselves and our opinions, and it’s very clear why women struggle to play as big as they are capable of. When communicating in a business environment, be sure your communication is helping your career, not hindering it.

You are more than capable of playing big. Your ideas are worth sharing and you are as entitled to your opinion as anyone else. Stop playing small with the way you express yourself. You can do better than that!

Athena Coaching

Linda Murray is a successful businesswoman, coach, strategist and mentor, speaker and trainer. Linda’s talent is teaching women to increase their commercial success while using their authentic feminine approach. She mixes her personal experience in business, her strong academic background and her observations of hundreds of businesses to show businesswomen and female executives how to enjoy greater commercial outcomes and accelerated individual success. Linda has coached countless clients to greater success through improved business strategies, increased profits, leadership development, increased team engagement and greater personal satisfaction and commercial confidence. Linda balances the extremes required in business. She has the unique ability to focus on both the big picture and the details; the numbers and the people; the sales and the administration; the left-brain and the right-brain. Linda has a track record in assisting women in business and female executives to identify the commercially profitable big picture strategy and then create an achievable action plan to implement it. Linda built her first successful business in her early 20s, growing her business to a team of 25 bookkeepers and financial controllers. Linda’s business model modernised the bookkeeping industry dramatically – by constantly challenging the traditional models of client management and service delivery. After experiencing the results that business coaching delivered in her business, Linda became passionate about coaching. Linda sold her financial business to start Athena Coaching, where her clients enjoy the benefit of her proven commercial experience combined with state of the art coaching support and her exceptional academic background. Linda has a Masters of Business Coaching, a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology and Philosophy), is an Accredited Professional Coach and Certified NLP Practitioner.


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