The power of being prepared...

Hand on heart, have you thought things through?

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If you’ve got a big-deal career move, role change, interview or meeting looming, are you as prepared as you possibly can be for it?

Good on you if you said yes... but hand on heart, most of us don’t feel as powerful as we’d like to and are probably hoping that more confidence will somehow ‘find us’ at some point soon.

The reality with power though is that we have to find it. And real power comes from knowing your uniqueness and your strengths, and knowing how to communicate these to others without feeling awkward, brash or arrogant. There are always people you need to influence, especially ahead of a major work-life shift, and it’s a case of putting decent thought and plenty of research into what really motivates and alienates you AND what motivations those people have too.

If you know yourself really well and have taken the time and energy to consult others about how you come across, chances are that you’ll know more precisely what you need to find out in order to take on a new career situation with confidence and style. If you’re curious, inquisitive and hungry to learn (all admirable qualities in the eyes of an employer…) then your power will come from asking the right questions and using the answers to mould and shape your path.

Don’t forget to listen…
Telling your unique story with conviction is powerful and important, but the questions you ask are just as important. How you can make your contribution remarkable, memorable and gain an inner power from having done that? Do your questions show depth of thought and a genuinely keen interest in what motivates the person/group of people you’re talking to? In any important discussion, the power to control the conversation comes from knowing what's going on around you - what roles are people playing here? If you can 'see inside' a conversation, it allows you to influence it.

And in this day and age, being able to really listen and give someone your undivided attention is powerful. As Dick Mullender, Eyes Wide Opened ‘listening’ coach and former hostage negotiator for Scotland Yard, reminds us, the key is to understand the other person’s values.If you listen properly, you’ll find out quickly what makes that person tick and what they need from you. That gives you power.

“The skill of listening is in the interpretation, yet most of us are too busy planning the next question, applying our own judgement or just following our own agenda - we don’t take note of what’s really being said or the meaning of it. They don’t think about what their desired outcome is from each conversation. In life we take shortcuts to make our lives easier, we make huge assumptions about what people really mean.”

So, is there power in your next ‘preparation’, your articulation of your own ‘story’ and in your questions?



Zena James

Writer, Eyes Wide Opened, -

Zena and the team at Eyes Wide Opened are on a mission to help people become crystal clear about what really makes them tick, what they have to offer an employer and how they can offer it. They set aside the less helpful 'What do you want to do?' and ''What job are you looking for?' questions (which can only really be answered if you have an inbuilt career path GPS) and instead help people find the answers to 'Who are you?', 'What do you stand for?' and 'What really matters to to you?' Eyes Wide Opened - - was founded in 2011 by Alastair Creamer, a leading figure in creative training (Catalyst, Creamer and Lloyd) and Paul Preston, a former Unilever chairman and global talent & HR leader. The duo developed a series of intensive, practical and reflective courses for people at a career crossroads with input from businesses on what they're really looking for from their recruits. The eight coaches have eclectic backgrounds spanning business, the voluntary sector, the arts, academia and even Scotland Yard! ------------------ Web: Twitter: @ewopened Facebook: Eyes Wide Opened


Go to the profile of Suzy Walker
about 7 years ago
I think we should all go on courses about listening properly - really hearing what others say versus hearing it through our own judgements.