While you may be striving for a “seat at the table” and a chance at getting your voice heard, are you prepared to speak up for yourself when you get there? Whether you’re selling yourself for a job promotion, pitching investors to get funds for your startup, or standing up for a cause you’re passionate about, preparation, clear communication, and confidence are the keys to a successful meeting. Here are five ways to sell yourself with confidence:
1. Avoid using words and phrases that
weaken your authority
Examples: “I think,” “I should have,” “You know what I’m saying,” ” Just,” “I’m no expert, but…,” To be honest,” “This may sound like a stupid idea, but…,” “um,” “like,” “I may be wrong, but,” or “I’ll try.”
2.Communicate your value proposition
Why should someone do business with you instead of someone else? What’s the problem you solve or need you fill in the market? Who do you help? Do you have a unique way of solving this problem or filling a need? Do you bring a unique perspective to a common industry challenge?
3. Prepare your brag story
A two-to-three-sentence story with three parts—problem, solution, and impact. Use words that convey action and describe the transformative experience people received from working with you. A brag story is a perfect way to tailor your transferable skills to the needs of the person you are trying to convince. Consider a time when you made something work better or ways you reduced cost or eliminated an over-complicated process.
4. Bring your enthusiasm into the discussion
Don’t hesitate to let people know WHY you really do what you do. For instance, “I’m super excited about this opportunity because as a teenager…” or “I’m passionate about teaching because too many children are….”
5. Have conversations, not meetings
Show interest in people by asking open-ended questions about their experiences, needs, and desires. Then follow up and explain how your previous experience can help them, or provide a tip, which demonstrates the value you bring to the table.