Confidence is a strange thing at a time like this. But, it's a word I really love. Obviously I have made the language of confidence integral to my business, I mean, I named my key offer the Content Confidence Consult. I have a bit of an emotional tie to this word.
I believe that confidence breeds more confidence.
Growing up as the daughter of a farmer accountant (accountant farmer? IDK) I spent the first Tuesday night in May every year watching the budget. Quiet descended on the dinner table every night at 7 pm so that we could watch the news. No one dared to breathe when Ross Greenwood spoke. Markets. GDP. Budgets. Indexes. Surplus. Growth. Confidence. These were the words around our dinner table.
(It was more fun than it sounds, promise)
Yes, I think of confidence then in personal and economic terms, and now as a solo business owner I realise that it’s the same thing.
In times like this, confidence is the thing we’re struggling to find.
Economic and personal.
But it might just be the thing that we need.
So how do we, as business owners and solo marketers, help others feel more confident?
And, as a result, hopefully the old adage of ‘fake it until you make it’, will mean that some of that confidence rubs off on us too.
There is a huge difference between serving people and wanting to help and being paid for that help...and trying to capitalise on global pandemic.
If you genuinely can serve and help people, don’t hold back.
Go out with kindness and that kindness will be repaid.
It’s at times like this when people start realising what is lacking in their lives or businesses. It’s why the last recession bred so many amazing companies (you know, like Uber).
I’m having lots of conversations with people who need help with crisis communications.
Others, who have been slowly moving process is online, now have a renewed sense of urgency. They have gaps they need to fill and I can help them.
There are people out there having a hard time. Would it be right of me to keep these skills to myself?
I don’t think so.
Words matter. Now more than ever.
Keep your words clear and focus on the impact on the audience.
Don’t send another ‘[REDACTED*-19]: how we’re responding’ email, explaining that your team is now washing their hands (what were they doing before?). Send ‘you can now shop with us online’. Or, ‘we’re still just an email away’, or even ‘our doors are closed: but the party continues online’.
Unless you’re directly involved in health, let’s ban the word in our subject lines and Insta-squares.
Another thing to consider is overwhelming an already uncertain audience.
Right now, many of us are experiencing frustration at what seems to be different messages coming from a plethora of different governments, experts and randoms on social media.
We don’t know how to behave, because there are too many options.
Uncertainty in your message adds to this general, ambient anxiety floating around.
Try to avoid too much thinking aloud on camera, “If this happens, we might do this. But it might not, we don’t know.”
Instead, try, “Today, business looks like this. We’re taking this one day at a time. This is how you can get updates.”
If things change for you daily, then communicate daily. As always, put the important information first, and the detail second.
We are all now armchair epidemiologists.
We are talking of flattening the curve. We all know what exponential growth looks like.
While it’s very hard to do at the moment and won’t be possible for everyone (we all need to do what we have to do to look after ourselves) I do believe that just a little bit of confidence is contagious.
Economies are complex. But I do know that confidence is important to sustaining and building a strong economy.
I might just be one person, but I really do hope that if I go out with just a little bit of confidence, I can influence someone else in my sphere. On and on, it will grow exponentially. Kinda like Pay it Forward.
Being distanced from other people does not stop us from keeping the energy flowing where it can.
Many businesses will need our support over the coming months, particularly those who are currently unable to work. The more that those of us who can and will work, the better off we will all be down the line.
It feels big and scary, but if my love of history podcast has taught me one thing it’s this: this too shall pass.