Appearing confident at work... when you secretly don't really know what you're doing.

Now, I'm not saying you should blag your way through your whole career, because I'm 100% certain that this would never work. But, I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only one who's walked into a meeting having no real idea what it's about or what's going on. We've all been there at least once. 

Not really fully understanding something at work can be a little scary and intimidating, and having been thrown in at the deep end more times than I can count during the last 5 years, I've most definitely been in this situation on a few occasions! 


I've had so many little panics in clients bathrooms before meetings because there's been technical things on the agenda that I have no clue what they mean. Or when you start a new job and there's loads of new systems to get used to, people's names to remember and processes that you've never had before. 

You want to appear confident and like you know what you're talking about. You want to impress your boss or the client and show them that you've totally got this and that you're great at what you do. But OMG if I could've had a little more time to have prepared for this, that would've been fab. 

So, here are a few little tricks I've picked up over the last few years, to help give people the impression that you're confident at work.. even when you secretly don't really know what you're doing.



A S K  Q U E S T I O N S.

Asking questions is a really great way to do two things at once in these kind of situations. Not only will it make you look like you're really engaging in the conversation and debate that's going on around you, but guess what? If you ask the right questions, you'll be able to catch up and ~hopefully~ get your head back to where your boss thought it already was an hour ago.

Oh, and it also means that you're not the one that has to do all of the talking. You get to sit, listen, take notes, and maybe fire a follow up question back at most because I don't know about you, but when I'm feeling overwhelmed and nervous, the last thing I want to do is try and be the one who's holding a conversation.


S I T  U P  S T R A I G H T

If you're in a meeting, sit up straight. If you're sat at your desk, sit up straight. If you're meeting someone for the first time, stand up straight. Looking confident can really help you on your way to feeling confident, and kinda like all of the dating tips that get thrown our way, our non-verbal cues can often give away more than what we actually say. 

So, if you're face to face with someone or giving a presentation, remember to maintain eye contact and smile. And if you're sat at your desk on the phone or frantically trying to type an email, push your shoulders back and sit up straight. Getting yourself in the right frame of mind first, can make all the difference. The more you pretend to be confident, the quicker you'll realise you actually are. Fake it 'till you make it and all that, right?


T A K E  F I V E

There's nothing like giving yourself a good ol' pep talk, is there? If I'm feeling particularly stressed or overwhelmed at work, I'll just take myself to the bathroom for five minutes for a little 'time out'. Office's can be really busy places, and it can be really hard to calm your thoughts when there's loads of people and 3 million things going on around you. So trust me when I say, taking yourself to somewhere quiet for a few minutes can be a life saver, sometimes. Collect your thoughts, give yourself a pep talk and go back and smash it.



Soph

16 comments

  1. This is super helpful Soph! I was literally chatting to my housemate about this just yesterday - it is so true that so many of us ain't *quite* sure what is happening at work! Asking questions and just keeping calm is so important - It took me ages to accept that actually, I ain't gonna know everything straight away haha! Immy x

    www.immymay.com

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    1. Definitely not! And I think we forget that we aren't expected to know everything either, and also that our managers have probably been in the exact same position that we have! x

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  2. Totally agree with all of these points! I think it's normal to feel like you have no clue what you're doing at work, it's all just part of the learning experience. I'd even go as far to say that the most senior managers in any company will sometimes not know exactly what to do - it just happens to us all!

    Lynnsay x
    www.sartorialscot.com

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    1. It really is, and I think going through this process and learning for ourselves is most definitely how we learn best x

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  3. Hi Sophie,

    Great article -I can definitely relate, especially when I first started out in my first "real grown up job". It can be so daunting.

    Also, I just wrote an article called "The Ultimate Cure for Being Bored at Work" which you might find interesting! http://www.modernflourish.com/bored-at-work/

    Oh how the struggles for the working people are real...

    Vanessa
    www.modernflourish.com

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    1. Haha thank you, Vanessa! I'll take a look :) x

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    1. Ahh thank you, Laura! I'm glad you liked it and I hope things get better for you lovey - you've got this! x

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  5. Another fab post Soph! I think asking questions is so important because at the end of the day you can't be expected to know everything straight away, but it shows you are willing to learn and are interested! :) xo
    www.misszarabelle.com

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    1. Thanks Zara! I totally agree with this :) x

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  6. This is such a useful post, as a recent grad who feels horribly under-qualified for all the jobs I see, it's very helpful to have a few tips to help me fake it til I make it!

    https://paleandmildblog.wordpress.com/

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    1. Thank you, Rachel! I'm so glad it's helped! Haha definitely, and I 100% bet you're not under-qualified like you think - a lot of employers don't expect everyone to know everything... as they often like to train you up the way they like ha! x

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  7. Love this post, as always girly! Great ideas, and I think asking questions is so important. It's such a good way to learn and get talking to people too :) xx

    Jessie | allthingsbeautiful-x

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    1. Thanks Jessie <3 It really is, and it's certainly a lot better than sitting there not really knowing what you're doing! x

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  8. my CEO always says how much he loves it when people ask him questions. it shows they were listening and are dedicated to learning. i always used to feel awkward asking questions...but he's so supportive and enthusiastic about them that you never feel like a question is silly!

    katie xx lacoconoire.com

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    1. Ahh that's so awesome that he's so encouraging of you guys asking questions! I bet that's such a fab work environment to be in! x

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