It took me by surprise this week when speaking with
Rob, when he related to me that there is a disconnect
between what recent grads think or are led to believe
and the reality in the job market. They, he said, do not
realize that skills and papers published may be ‘check
marks’ in evaluations but ’soft skills’ are looked at as
essential in the hiring process.
One soft skill that clearly stands out is confidence.
We may not have a definition on the tip of our tongue, as
it is the situational expectation that your efforts will
result in a positive outcome. This expectation leads
to a list of positives– greater energy, support from others,
goal-directed effort and cooperation. As R. Moss Kanter
points out there are three cornerstones of confidence:
accountability, collaboration and initiative to take action.
The reality is we observe a demonstration of a person’s
skills in a presentation. Having confidence goes hand-in-
hand with giving good presentations. Being confident does
NOT mean not being anxious or nervous. But it is knowing
how to rearrange all the butterflies in your stomach to fly
A person can learn good presentations skills. A person
can also gain confidence. The presentation of our technical
accomplishment is the medium by which our confidence
is displayed. [Rules of thumb.]
Gaining confidence is a common thread through a series of
stories of women entrepreneurs in the T. Corrigan and J.
Desai’s piece in the WSJ describing what it was that each
overcame in their careers to become successful.
C. Fiorino- overcame dropping out of law school by
being given the chance to exceed an entrepreneur’s
expectations, first at an entry level position. Then,
developing skills and interests where her leadership
skills could be honed.
B. Comstock- wisely learned how she could propel her
curiosity to dispel her lack of confidence to compete with
competent peers. This attention switch has allowed her
prove to herself and build a reservoir of courage to try things.
L. Tilton- challenged her self-image of being a
victim of circumstances and posed herself with goals
that had value and meaning so that she became a positive
force for good.
These stories of courage and building confidence are
central parts of what catapulted these leaders as
entrepreneurs, not only as first rate presenters. So, garner
a perspective of what a technical presentation is used for,
besides the results and conclusions.