Deborah Sweeney
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By now, most professionals know that certain behaviors help them to be viewed in a positive light in the workplace. And how our professional image is perceived counts for quite a lot. 

But what if you want to go above and beyond in order to appear accomplished and at the top of your game? No matter what department you work in or what level you’re at, including these subtle actions into your day-to-day routine will allow you to look (and feel) more powerful in the workplace.

1. Active listening

How often do we listen, and I mean really listen, to what someone is telling us? As VP of Marketing Strategy at Digital Edge, Maeling Demdam has prioritized active listening in the workplace. The more she does it, the more she finds that it really does help individuals in leadership positions.

“Leaders are better able to concentrate, understand and respond thoughtfully to the conversation when they become active listeners,” Demdam says.

Demdam also notes that when she actively listens, she is better able to recall details. This allows her to create a dialogue with her fellow team members and provide more productive feedback.

Ready to become an active listener? In addition to opening your ears, Demdam recommends bringing along pen and paper during meetings. If you hear a bit of pertinent information, whether at a meeting or in a conversation with a coworker, jot it down. Taking notes through active listening makes the bit of information even more valuable in the future. Individuals will like that you remembered simple details, like their dog’s name, which helps present you in an authoritative, compassionate light.

2. Refusing to use disclaimers

Melissa Zehner, a small business finance editor at Lendio, believes it’s time for women to stop using disclaimers in the workplace.

What does she mean? Think about how often phrases like “This might not work but” or “I just think” are said around the office. These fall into Zehner’s category of disclaimers, as she says the language undermines your ideas before you have a chance to share them.

If we should think before we speak, it’s not a bad idea to act as an internal editor. Zehner recommends self-editing by eliminating weaker words such as “just” or “actually” from your language to appear instantly more qualified and confident.

3. Being honest

Content marketing specialist Lauren Remo graduated from college in 2017. As a post-graduate, she worked at three startups where she was thrown into roles of responsibility and autonomy. Remo says she has always been the youngest professional within these companies, which often comes with its own series of unrealistic expectations. One of the biggest ones, especially for younger generations, is the old adage “fake it until you make it.”

Rather than live this motto out day after day, Remo says to be completely honest when you don’t know something and maintain an urge to learn more. She recommends asking for help when you need it, but only ask questions once. This is when you’re able to truly develop a key power behavior. Ask questions once and take notes, if necessary, to avoid making the same mistake again twice.

4. Slowing down

Slow and steady has been proven to win the race, even if it does look like the hare is always beating you to the punch at the finish line. As CEO of b Authentic inc, Erin Hatzikostas is the first to admit that it’s not easy to move slowly. 

“Often people early in their career will feel like they need to talk quickly to get their point across while using the shortest amount of others’ time,” Hatzikostas explains.

In reality, it’s much better to take your time and avoid the unnecessary rush. Hatzikostas says that the slower and more succinctly one speaks, the more likely they will capture the attention of others around them. Once you have their attention, you’ll be better equipped to gather their buy-in. Now that’s confidence — and power — in action.

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