No matter what our age is or what generation we’re part of we have something in common—we all want to be taken seriously. While some people assume that youth may not be as credible in the business world due to their lack of experience that isn’t always accurate.
This is a topic that I help my younger clients address because it impacts their credibility and ultimately their confidence level. In business, it’s a big deal. Here are recommendations noted in an article by Samantha Cole that appeared in Fast Company along with my comments on each point:
1. Don’t overcompensate.
Rather than establishing dominance over employees, being vulnerable may be the wiser route. Additionally I recommend that while you should be confident about your expertise it goes a long way to seek the input of others by observing and asking insightful questions.
2. Be humble but don’t be a doormat.
While being young may breed resentment initially, it pays to prove your worth by facing rather than avoiding issues. Additionally I recommend seeking out a mentor with whom you can discuss topics in a timely manner and develop communication strategies.
3. Watch your tone.
If it’s a statement, state it. Phrasing simple declarations as questions is a habit that’s easy to fall into when you’re unsure of yourself. Additionally I recommend recording yourself while leaving a message or giving a presentation. Become an astute observer of how you sound and when feasible obtain professional feedback. Hearing the “slight rise” in your speech must be noticeable to you in order to make a change. Only then can you make adjustments so that your intonation shifts based on your message.
4. Pay attention to body language.
When we’re all plagued with “text neck” looking someone in the eye is a refreshing sign of confidence and trust. Additionally I recommend my clients practice what I refer to as “head-to-toe” communication. This means we factor in that communication is most effective when it includes our entire body vs. strictly what we say. That’s why when I coach clients we work on gestures and movement that assist with sounding more energized and memorable.
5. Accept the generation gap.
If you’re managing a team decades older than you, earning respect requires a new kind of awareness. Additionally I recommend coming to terms with the sense of awkwardness that occurs with some intergenerational interactions. The best approach is once again something I coach my clients about which is the importance of doing your homework and learning as much as you can about those with whom you’re interacting before the interaction occurs. Preparation is invaluable.
What’s your experience with acting your age? Let me know and I’ll share your observations with my readers. Can’t wait to hear from you!