I’ve been talking a lot about confidence recently. I’m starting to see it as a profound divider. The wonderfully confident Cindy Gallop, who visited RKCR for an inspiration session, said it was the single most important thing holding women back from achievement. It’s said that women constantly doubt their ability to do their job well, whereas men look at their boss and think they could do his job better.

Confidence is a sign that you know who you are, that you like who you are and that you fully expect other people to feel the same. And they probably will, because when you ask people about characteristics they admire in others, confidence is usually near the top of the list. Confidence is a self fulfilling prophecy.

It’s true about people and it’s also true about ideas. Ideas presented with confidence are infinitely more persuasive than ideas presented with hesitancy. This sounds obvious but how many agencies convey a confident self in practice? We present several potential routes to clients and prospects, instead of putting our full backing behind one idea. We present the creative concept we think will “win the pitch” rather than the idea we think is right. We second guess our (usually right) first instincts and labour on alternative pathways until it’s too late to really develop and get behind our own creative idea.

In our recent workshop with the legendary Jon Steel, he said that you were more likely to win a pitch with an idea that was 80% right but fully developed and presented with confidence, than waiting for an idea which is 95% and hastily throwing together your presentation. The enthusiasm and energy of a team which fully owns an idea, is more appealing than a team with a technically better concept (or concepts plural!) tentatively conveyed.

The perfectionists among us, might feel uncomfortable with the thought of grabbing an idea and just running with it. Surely if you stay and work and think, you’ll eventually come across the better idea, and that would  be worth waiting for.

Jon gives the example of a colleague, who when asked “Is this the absolute best idea in your opinion?”, answered “Is your wife the best possible woman you could have married?” Most of the time, in life and in work, it’s better to just make a decision and commit to it.

Best is subjective. Confidence is more compelling.

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