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The Art of Advocating—For Yourself

Rock Events' Lyn Gleasure shares her tips for workplace confidence and more effective communication

By Lyn Gleasure

Nobody likes to be the bearer of bad news. It’s awkward, uncomfortable, and anxiety-inducing. But what if we are unconsciously turning even more communications into bad news without being aware of it? Think of how many times a day we say “I’m sorry, but,” and, “I hope I’m not interrupting.”

Lyn Gleasure, CMP, CPCE, is senior manager of business development for Rock Events in Detroit. || Courtesy of Rock Events

A better approach to win over your clients and colleagues is to be solution-focused. Take this example: A client calls asking for a location for their next big event, but the date they have requested is already booked by another client. Rather than saying, “I’m sorry, our venue is not available,” turn that around to, “That seems to be a popular date—if you move your event one week later, the space is available, plus it’s historically a bit warmer, so you have a better chance of enjoying our patio for your cocktail reception.”

Some also feel as though their presence might be a bother rather than presenting themselves as a valuable collaborator on a project or task. Assuming someone doesn’t want to talk to you undermines the insights your experience provides. Of course, recognizing others might not be available at every moment is rational, but leading with apprehension can be detrimental to your sense of self-worth. Instead, try approaching the situation with confidence by saying something like, “I have an update on this project I would like to share. Is this a good time or should I set up a meeting for us to discuss it? What time works for you?”

Confidence also comes from being an active learner rather than shying away because you don’t understand a subject. As a venue manager, I often meet subject matter experts in many diverse fields. If there is something the client is discussing or acronyms are being used that I do not recognize, I like to dig a little deeper. Again, doing this confidently is key. Refrain from, “I’m sorry, I’m not sure what you mean,” and instead try, “Can you tell me more about XYZ and how that will be showcased at this event?” Seeking to understand shows you care about the client’s work and often leads to landing the business.

In words often attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, “Believe you can, and you’re halfway there.”