The most powerful person in the room is usually the person who's most confident in being able to articulate thoughts and ideas that add value to the objective.
When I was younger, I had a senior position at one of Australia’s largest organisations.
The reality is I cared deeply about what everyone in the room thought, but I went in with the mindset that I didn't care about what they thought. I wanted to leave everything that I believed would add value on the table. I hated the feeling of later regretting not saying something that I should have.
If I ever have an idea or a thought that I believe adds value to the discussion I will speak my mind. I don't always get it right, but when I do the results often exceed my expectations.
Over time this made me the person our senior leadership would turn to for advice. By having this mindset, it offset the fact that I was 30 years younger than most people in the room.
Removing yourself and viewing this like a game, can result in a greater level of calmness, certainty and confidence. We are so conditioned to be scared of what people think, screw that feeling, try thinking “who gives a crap?”
Even if you screw up as long as you’re coming from the right place, life will move on. Please don’t mistake this for being aggressive, obnoxious or arrogant, don’t make everyone hate you.
Some of you reading this will probably need to tone it down. If you speak too much in meetings and no one agrees with your ideas or thoughts. It could be signal that you need to revise your approach. Maybe you need to tone it down, communicate your points better, pick your battles more carefully or prepare your ideas with more logic, data and storytelling.
But if you’re someone who regrets not saying something that would’ve added value because of fear, my advice to you is to care less and to speak up. Talk about what you know and what’s required.
Also, once you have greater clarity in who you are and what you are about. It will automatically turn into confidence.
With communication the big mistake we make is we want to improve our technical skills (vocals, public speaking, stage presence, storytelling), when first we need to improve how we communicate with ourselves and that starts with our internal dialogue, the voice inside our heads. The better we know ourselves and our strengths the better we can communicate our value to others.