Rule 14: Exude Confidence and Energy

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Aviation Expert, Barrister Allen Onyema, Owner of Air  Peace Airline

I once had to give a talk to a large group of businesswomen about stress management.  As I walked to the front to start my talk, I noticed that there was no lectern for notes (not that I had any anyway), nowhere to stand.  There was a desk with a chair behind it.  If I sat there I would have been lost to view to anyone who wasn’t in the front row and it would have seemed very stilted and formal.  I could have stood there with my arms behind my back looking like Prince Philip talking to the palace staff.  I could have stood there with my hands by my side or clasped in front of my groin like an embarrassed schoolboy.  But I was about to talk about stress – and its management.  I needed to look relaxed, calm – as if I was practicing what I was preaching, walking my talk.

I solved it by sitting on the edge of the desk.  I could swing my legs, lean back, lean forward, almost lie down if I wanted.  I met someone several years later who had been there and she said that she couldn’t remember a thing I’d said, but had been impressed by how relaxed I’d seemed – and how when I’d finished talking I spray up and went off for photos with the local journalist.  I don’t remember that bit but she said I seemed confident, relaxed but also energetic.


That’s what we’re aiming for.  When you walk through the office first thing in the morning there should be a spring to your step.  Let the others crawl in looking hung over or freshly turfed out of bed or exhausted from long hours commuting.  You will arrive fresh and energetic, ready for the day’s work which shall be as a trifle to you to deal with, a mere nothing. Walk quicker rather than slower – quick means keen, means energy, means awake and lively and ready for the challenges the day will throw your way.

Not too quick mind or you’ll seem to be in a rush.  You need to be smoothly in control – not hurried, not sluggardly, not cowed or beaten.  You need to be seen as bright and fresh and alive and enthusiastic.

(Excerpts from THE RULES OF WORK by Richard Templer Read “How to develop the style that gets you noticed” from The Rules tomorrow on Asabeafrika)

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