CONFIDENCE – Essence of Influence
Essence of Influence
When I came to Singapore I was faced with a dilemma. One of the products my company produced was Brands Essence of Chicken. We made significant claims for it, claims that dated back to those made for the original Chinese recipes nearly 3,000 years ago. There was a major tightening up of advertising hyperbole taking place everywhere and I knew our claims would soon be questioned. So I sent the product to an independent laboratory in the UK. They were impartial, of course, but if any of their staff had a personal initial bias it was probably that the claims were rubbish. If that was the case I needed to know it first.
However, the claims turned out to be true. Two things happened as a result of this. First, we could go ahead and promote them knowing they were valid. So we did that. But there was another effect which I hadn’t reckoned on. All my colleagues suddenly became more confident about the product. That extra confidence gave them a lilt in their step, an attitude of positivity and a vision of much greater growth than we had thought possible. The confidence came from having the facts in a way that was public, not secret, and knowing what others only believed.
When Eliza and I started Terrific Mentors International one of our objectives was to help people exude greater confidence. To do that they had to have it, really have it. That’s how we developed our Roleplay system. When you’ve been through an aviation simulator you haven’t flown a plane but you’ve come as close to doing so as is possible on the ground. In the same way, doing a dry run of an event gets the bugs out of the system and instills confidence in the final performance. Ask any producer about the importance of the Dress Rehearsal. He will confirm what I say.
So what exactly is this confidence? How do we see it best? Tommy Koh, Singapore’s internationally known Ambassador at Large, was Chair of a conference I was attending not too long ago. At the end of the lunch break – it was one of those buffet lunches – I saw him go back to his table at the front of the room and pick something up out of his briefcase. On his return I saw he was carrying a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste. No little toiletries bag, no document case, just a toothbrush and paste. That is confidence.
You see, the fact that he had nothing to hide, that he was being transparent about wanting to brush his teeth after a meal was confidence-building for him and also for all those who saw him. As Chair of a major conference would you walk down the room carrying a toothbrush? Probably not, but ask yourself why not. The only reasonable comment to be made about doing it is ‘sensible fellow’.
Confidence has to be real, you can’t play-act it. Well, you can, but only very briefly. And confidence lost is harder to recoup than a broken marriage. The solution is to get your confidence now, make sure it is supported by facts and use it in such a way that it enhances the lives of others, not just yourself. The confidence of youth is charming but transient. The confidence of middle age is a nervous potpourri of learning, earning and churning. The confidence of old age is of knowing what is the value of a mistake and appreciating that you aren’t the only person making one.
There is one other aspect of confidence I must mention. It dispels much of the anxiety we all suffer from. Facing the problems of life is anxiety-creating. When you become confident much of that anxiety falls away. You will release the knot in your stomach. You may even put on weight.
But above all you will have a better digestion, a settled tummy.
That’s worth a lot of anybody’s time.