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Eliminate uncertainty from others' sight, but not from your mind.

A retweet led me to this post on the GothamGal blog which makes a very valid case for acting more confident and (as I read it) eliminating a significant amount of doubt from your statements, and some meekness in your approach.

The post really is more about women, and how this applies more to them, but it really applies more to a certain personality type or default behavior.

Yes, as with most things, I somehow managed to make this about me. :)

The reality is that people like their leaders confident, and their arguments simple.
On an average, men are more confident and see things more in black and white (i.e. simpler), and this sits well with others when they look for leadership or need to be convinced.

I identified a few simple things I could do differently to make things move faster.
  • Eliminate unnecessary word in emails: I use "I think"/"I believe"/"I suspect"/"One way to look at this" a lot. Its not because I'm waffling on arguments I'm making. Its because partially I always need to be open to the opposing point of view and partially its because how I've been socially conditioned. But I'm using those words less lately in professional emails; sometimes explicitly going back and deleting them.
  • Similarly in speech: I try more often that I used to eliminate modifiers, which segues nicely into...
  • Don't always try to be complete: Often when I make arguments, I just naturally caveat, e.g. "of course this doesn't work if...", "while the other side will..." - too much debating in school I guess.
    I do it mainly because that's just the way I normally think, but also to show I've thought things through completely and understand nuances. However, I increasingly find it only ends up diluting the argument you're trying to make. Unless you're talking to people that think the same way (not most people), you end up making your own job harder. It doesn't mean you don't think about the other side of things - just that you don't need to say everything you're thinking about.


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