In a world that is perplexed, afraid, and overwhelmed by the recent election, the role women play in not just politics, but corporate America is one that demands clear definition. For entrepreneurs and business executives, quarter four (Q4) requires intentional strategies to seal the deal. For powerful, intelligent, savvy, and sophisticated women, charting a path for success is not optional. Whether you are an executive in need of sharpening your sales skills or a budding entrepreneur with a million dollar idea, how well you position yourself determines how successful you are in accomplishing your objectives.
What does it mean to self-empower? Well, I am glad that you asked. To self-empower means to find something so powerful and impactful within yourself, that it drives you to do what you never thought was possible. How awesome is that? To find strength and determination from within to cross the finish line. Sounds easy, right? Well, if your answer is “not so much,” here are a few things to keep in mind that will help you shift the paradigm in your professional and business career. They are sure to launch you from a goal setter to a goal achiever.
1. REMEMBER, IT STARTS WITH MINDSET
I’m a firm believer that as a man—well in this case a wo-man—thinks , so is she! Your thoughts about your capabilities and capacity must be influenced by positive truths. As a matter of fact, negative self-talk not only impacts your ability to perform proficiently, but it also does a total disservice to how you effectively manage stress and your overall mental and emotional well-being.
According to The Huffington Post, negative thinking creates tunnel vision; all you can focus on are the problems. It limits you from seeing other options around you, which are critical to survival. What happens when you tell yourself that you don’t add value to your organization or that a potential client will never pay the cost for your services? You eliminate the possibility of any opportunity coming to fruition.
2. IT IS WHAT YOU KNOW
Whether you are a small business owner or a billionaire, knowing your numbers is non-negotiable. Assessing what it takes to do the job, and to do it well, is not optional. While, yes, “who you know” can facilitate a promising conversation, what happens when you make it to the table? Creating a statement of need requires an assessment matched with the data to back it up.
According to American Express OPEN, there are seven numbers that you should always have on your radar when having a sales or pitch conversation:
- Cash Flow
- Net Income
- Profit and Loss
- Price Point
- Gross Margin
- Total Inventory
Keeping these key performance indicators (KPI’s) in mind will facilitate a productive, and insightful meeting.
3. DRESS FOR SUCCESS
“A Girl Should be Two Things: Classy & Fabulous.” –Coco Chanel
Whether it is the illustrious pantsuit worn by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton or a pencil skirt with a custom lapel blazer, how you show up adds indispensable value to a first impression. While your wardrobe should not define your ability to do the job, it does represent your overall brand. What do I mean by that? Well, where would you take a potential client? To a restaurant that serves food on paper plates or on fine china? Our ability to assess value in one restaurant over the other is the same value your prospective customer is assessing between you and your competitor. Don’t let a lack of regard for your overall appearance serve as the reason why you missed out on a lucrative contract or mutually beneficial partnership.
4. PRESENCE IS CRITICAL
Body language contributes in a major way to your overall presence and negotiation outcomes. Whether preparing for a big presentation, or discussing pricing, your non-verbal cues speak louder than what you are actually saying. Have you ever been in a meeting with someone who refused to make eye contact or had his or her arms folded the entire time? They probably came off as disengaged, or even worse, dishonest. To avoid having people question your motives and skills, practice power poses before the meeting to relax. During the meeting, make sure that you keep an open posture and maintain direct eye contact.
Your abilities to accurately perceive the body language of others and work it to your benefit enables you to negotiate and confidently present your expertise.
In a society where women are paid a fraction of the $1.00 that every man makes, your self-empowerment has to be cultivated from within.
How will you prepare for your next big opportunity?