There's more to career success than talent and skill. It's unfair, but it's also not going to change any time soon. It's not enough to be very good at the job - we also have to project confidence and competence so that everyone else can see how good we are at the job.
Some of us are always making a first impression on clients, patients, and juries. Others spend each day reminding our colleagues of how fabulous we are. You don't get a second chance to make a first impression, but the first isn't the only impression that counts.
Shake It Good
Sure it's cliche, but a handshake can say a lot about a person. A firm (but not bone crushing) handshake tells the other person that you're confident - and also that you're pleased to meet them.
People are likely to forget the firm handshake and remember how it made them feel. But they will remember a bad handshake. A new colleague once shook my hand by grasping it normally and then pulling her hand away slightly so that her fingertips were touching my palm. It seemed like she was trying to avoid touching me - had she taken an instant dislike to me? Was she trying to be dainty? I have no idea, but it was so off putting that she lost out on any advice or support I could've offered down the road.
If you're not sure about your handshake, ask a friend. If you need improvement, just be very aware of what you're doing when handshake-worthy occasions present themselves.
Let It Shine
The Shine Theory tells us that when we help other women shine, we shine too. One of the keys is amplification. When Mary makes a great point in a meeting, Susie can amplify that point by repeating it and reinforcing that it was Mary's wonderful idea.
It isn't just that Mary will someday return the favor. It's a total power play because it shows that Susie doesn't feel the need to steal Mary's ideas, or to only push for her own ideas. That manager who steals credit for everyone else's ideas and work? That person has no accomplishments of their own - and it will hold them back.
Dress to Intimidate
I'm not suggesting you walk into the office dressed for battle. But when your clothes are polished, put together, and fit well it makes you look smart. You know how to dress well, so it stands to reason that you do everything well. Vikki Vi's Navy Classics are great for this. The navy color makes you look trustworthy and competent.
Why? Navy evokes military dress uniforms, so it sends a subconscious message. But it also seems like a trickier color to wear than black. Navy is a classic neutral, yet some women shy away from it. They worry it won't look good with other colors - even though it does. Wear navy like you would black - just think twice before pairing it with black since they're so similar.
We Know You're Awesome
None of this will help if you don't have the talent, skills, and ability to get the job done. But we know you have that part covered. Everyone else will too.