Confidence is often about having the courage of your convictions, saying what needs to be said, in a timely and appropriate manner whilst considering the other person’s point of view.
So what happens when you are challenged, say in a meeting? Do you stand up for yourself or back down?
During a recent workshop on Courageous Conversations I discussed this with the participants. Many felt it wasn’t easy to stand up for themselves if the person challenging them was of higher authority. Here are a few suggestions should you need to stand up for yourself:
First ask “is it worth it?”. Often the emotions run high and the first reaction maybe to fight for your point of view, but at what damage to the relationship. Or if your instinct is to always let it go, ask yourself would it be worth fighting for this time? If yes, read on…
Secondly consider the other person’s view. Have you understood them correctly, or has there been a miscommunication? Before launching into your side of what could become an argument, ask a few questions to check your understanding, and clarify the situation.
Then, if there is time, plan what you are going to say. This may mean coming back to the discussion at a later point in time – so tell the other person you would like to think about it and that you will get back to them. Write down your key points, and theirs’ before deciding what the crux of the mater is. Often by putting issues onto a piece of paper the mind can be objective and the emotions start to subside.
When it comes to putting your view point forward, I suggest you use positive body language (stand up straight, make eye contact and smile), use clear, decisive words (avoid the ums and ers), and keep a fairly level tone of voice (which helps to keep your emotions in check).
A while ago I was interviewed for an article on this topic by the Financial Times, here’s the link to the article