In life there are certain things that are a given, you know like we grow old and at some point die (morbid) or that as seasons change so do our clothes (a bit more light hearted). But mostly there’s a lot that we don’t know. Like in business for instance, many decisions are based on educated guesses or ‘gut instinct’. Lots of us go on dates on the basis that ‘we’ll see how it goes’ or furthermore, invest in six inch heels with no confirmation of how many times we’ll actually wear them (answer; likely never).
Years ago in one of my previous jobs, when I wasn’t particularly happy with the way things were going I was told to just ‘play the game’. In media (and also other worlds) these words of advice are common. Office politics all over the UK are all about ‘playing the game’, acting like you know what’s going on and ultimately just ducking your head down and getting on with it. I always say to Daniel that I’m more street wise and he’s more book wise. Am I right about that? First of all who knows but there’s definitely having the gift of the gab versus being A* student and first class degree smart. Those who are fortunate to have both are therefore just, well, amazing.
From Rags to Riches
Lets take Roman Abramovich for instance. Orphaned at 2 he was raised in near poverty. After a plastic toy business, he got into oil and from there… Well. Obviously now he’s one of the richest Billionaires in the world. How about Oprah Winfrey or Ralph Lauren? Thing is it’s not all about where you’re from or what you’ve grown up with. It’s down to you. Of course opportunities present themselves but it’s the choices you make that can make the difference. So how can you act in those situations where an opportunity is there but you’re at risk of saying/doing the wrong thing and losing it? Here’s how I like to fake what I don’t know.
If I don’t know about something, I won’t comment. Especially in a room full of people. Don’t be mistaken into thinking this means you’re a budding wall flower. Quite the opposite – think of the consequences. I remember once saying ‘Yes, I’d love to go to Argentinia’… Urm, you mean Argentina Lauren?
Education is 90% listening. New media launches? New ways of advertising? Digital innovation? I’ve always been the one listening and taking notes. Listening and investigating/researching is crucial to learning new things. I learned Hebrew, Welsh, French and tried to study Spanish and without listening to others, I would have gotten no where. In business meetings, listening gives you a front row seat when it comes to processing the information to come up with a solution. Those being told twice, three times are already on the back foot.
Confidence Not Arrogance
Not to be confused. Having the confidence to speak loudly and in depth about a subject you are passionate about sets you apart from the team. So if you’re obsessed with your latest current affairs or even your designers, talk about it and engage people. Chances are people will consider you more of an expert in a certain area and will over look that which you don’t know.
Sounds obvious but often overlooked. Got a presentation? It needs to be rehearsed. Got a meeting with a cool new brand? Think about the questions you’d like to ask before hand. Meeting with the MD of a new company? Research the person in advance and think about how you’d like to approach their working history. All of these skills will make you more memorable and up your profile.
Don’t be shy. Smiling can instantly put a person at ease and help them to trust you. Body language is key in faking what you don’t know. If you’re hunched over, staring at your hands and twiddling your fingers, who is a person more likely to engage with? You? Or the person stood tall working the room and networking?
The Women Who Made Me
It’s only in the last 5 years that smashing the glass ceiling (and not pulling the ladder up behind you!) has really become something I’ve paid attention to. When I worked for a famous newspaper company, I worked on a very male dominated floor and for the first time I really saw the divide that everyone talks about around women in the workplace. For me it’s important to have a bunch of women – both whom I speak to regularly and those who are famous – to look up to. Female role models for women of all ages is so important.
SHOP THE POST
Gucci Belt – Gucci
Faux Leather Jacket – Topshop (*Similar)
Black Boots – Office
Skinny Jeans – Asos
Black Top – H&M