Does Facing Senior Management Zap Your Confidence?

Illustration Poster - Big Cheese.jpg


The other week I ran a special one to one session after my ‘How to make an impact in meetings’ Masterclass with a very senior woman at a major global bank.  Let’s call her ‘Lina’.

Lina is absolute boardroom material but she has lost her confidence because she doesn’t feel she gets taken seriously in senior meetings.  She doesn’t give herself permission to speak up or ‘blurt’ out what she really feels in fear of getting something wrong and sometimes winds up not saying anything at all.

As a result, she’s thinking about leaving the bank!

This is a real shame because she is a real asset to them and has a fantastic client base. I can see her work her way up to C level within 3 years.

But she seriously needs help with self- confidence.

This is a familiar story and I experience it all the time with hugely talented people from banks, FTSE 100 organisations and law firms all over the world.

Sound familiar?

Lina is technically brilliant at her job, confident with clients, goes to networking drinks and lunches as she’s charismatic, bubbling with personality and outspoken when she’s with peers or more junior people.  However, she has a problem.

She confessed to me…

“The more senior the people in the meeting the worse it gets and the more I struggle (even though I am pretty senior)”

I could relate to this.  It brought back dark memories of being faced with a ‘senior’ panel at the BBC years ago and despite my ability to produce live shows and interview the likes of Madonna and George Clooney, when it came to formal meetings with BIG CHEESES, my confidence was completely ZAPPED.

I could completely relate to Lina’s behaviour in front of senior people;

- Fear of being found out
- Lost for words
- Terrible at self- promotion
- She puts herself down and apologises constantly rather than bigging herself up
- She feels INVISIBLE despite working really hard and being brilliant with clients
- 360 feedback – makes her paranoid

Lina told me what she wished for…

“I wish I had more courage to speak up, I’m not getting my voice heard…. I want to leave the bank”

I gave Lina my confidence boosting Impact Guru Formula and tips.  (And I’ll share my top transformative tips with you now!)

4 TIPS To Face Senior Managers With Confidence:

-  1.     Dress Like A Big Wig.  The sharper the suit, the more confident you’re likely to look & feel.   You do need to look like you’re already in management. Make it easy for them to see you that way. You up your status when you dress high status.  Good news – go shopping and invest in a good jacket!

2.   Act Like A Peer Vs An Underling.  The more formal the setting the more ‘conversational’ and ‘natural’ your delivery needs to be.  So, show your sense of humour! Eyes and teeth – smile and give eye contact, if you know my tips you know the drill.  Smiling, warmth and eye contact demonstrates ease, confidence and effortlessness!

3. Have An Opinion. If you don’t know the exact answer get in the habit of starting your sentences with ‘In my experience’ (that’s a game changer)

And the biggest tip of all

4. Be Yourself!

“Be Yourself. Everyone else is already taken” Oscar Wilde

Know who you are and what you stand for, don’t be afraid to show the real person.  If you are a detail person, thrive on it. If you’re sociable and chatty, be sociable and chatty.  Don’t put a lid on your personality.

Once upon a time I was scared of being quirky and a bit leftfield, I tried to fit in and be ‘sensible’. Guess what? It didn’t work.

I see talented professionals make the same communication mistakes over and over again – they stop being themselves in business because they ‘think’ they have to be ‘formal’ and ‘professional’ like everyone else.

That will hurt you in meetings with senior managers.  They will either see you as a chameleon or a copy cat.

Go on try these tips, you’ve got nothing to lose.  You were thinking of leaving anyway!

Lina has started giving herself permission to be herself and has stopped trying to be perfect and there’s already a huge difference.

She’s stopped putting a lid on her personality – and she’s realised people are listening.

Her new jacket is now on a hanger in the office (with some spare shoes) and ready to roll for those big wig meetings, she’s loving the feeling of status it gives her.

And the icing on the cake? Eyes and teeth!  She has been smiling and giving eye contact to senior people, something she never did before.  In a few weeks she’s transformed and now she’s up for a promotion!

“Thank you, Esther, for the confidence tips, I am now in line for MD at the bank thanks to you. Eyes and teeth have changed my life!”

Lina, Banker

I help senior people like Lina all time when it comes to making an impact in meetings, facing stake holders in the boardroom, getting promoted and speaking with gravitas and credibility.

Are you worried that your top talent, like Lina, is thinking of leaving? You can show them HOW to stay at your organisation and grow in confidence by getting in touch with me!

Let’s chat

patrick Volavka