The Power of Confidence

The Power of Confidence

In this month’s webinar we focused on the topic of confidence.  Confidence is often the reason quoted as to why women do not achieve their potential in the workplace.  ‘Women lack confidence’, they say.

The thing is we have given hundreds and hundreds of women our confidence test during our workshops and when coaching senior women and to date only one did not pass.  Yes, only one!

So at the start of the webinar we asked, how well do you do your job?  Over 78% of participants rated themselves very good or excellent.  Click here to see the range of answers.

The problem with confidence is that we need to know how to give ourselves a confidence boost when we need it – when we are doing something outside of our comfort zone or doing something new.

And so we shared the power of priming. Priming is when exposure to something influences the behaviour of an individual later on, without that individual being aware that the first thing is guiding their behaviour to a certain extent.  Priming is not a new concept, but it is very powerful and can take a bit to time to get your head round.

So we told this story which as a great example of its power.

You may or may not already know this but gas doesn’t smell. They add something to the gas to make it smell. This is clearly done as a safety measure.

In a Midwestern town in the USA, a cargo train carrying this ‘smell’ crashed and the ‘fumes’ were released.

So what did the Emergency Services do?  Did they still evacuate the town at huge expense even though there was no real danger?  Or did they explain to everyone that there was in fact no danger as it was just the smell not the gas.

We asked the attendees what they thought had happened.  The answer was overwhelmingly the former.  That they evacuated.   And they were right.  The Emergency Services had to evacuate everyone from town not because the smell is dangerous because it’s not… but because the gas that it reminds you of is dangerous.

And they didn’t want to say to everybody don’t worry, it’s a false alarm.

It was better to have people keep that very powerful connection between that smell and dying.

So deep down we know the power of priming.  We know how much it influences our behaviour.  This is why we need to learn how to use it to our own advantage too.

So what priming techniques do you use just before a big meeting, a presentation to give you that all important confidence boost?