I recently had a coffee with a communications coach and journalist Edie Lush.
Edie studied Political Science at UCLA and International Relations at Yale. She moved to London to work for the UBS investment bank as a political analyst before taking on a role in front of the camera with Bloomberg TV. She covered international political and economic events, thriving in a fast-paced environment. Starting a family made it difficult to maintain a career, which required a commitment to be up and running at dawn, so Edie (now mother of three) turned to writing for The Week and The Spectator, organising knowledge festivals and coaching public speaking and communications, which leaves her time to pick up her kids from school, run marathons and play the piano… A Lady Who Impresses, isn’t she?
Edie really is an expert in public speaking and is a talented coach. She just came back from California, where she worked with a team at Visa. And so I asked Edie for her professional tips on the subject of confidence and communications. Her advice:
“Confidence is just like a cloak you put on ahead of an important meeting, an interview or a speaking engagement.
Approximately 90% of our impact is from how the audience (be it a group of two or two hundred) perceives us, rather than the content of what we say. This 90% dictates how we feel about someone. Do we trust them? Do we have confidence in them? Can we connect with them?”
Edie explains that body language is very important indeed. She recommends watching Amy Cuddy’s Ted talk on “power posing” – adopting a posture of confidence, even when you don’t feel confident. Your posture can apparently affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain. When your brain sends less cortisol (stress hormone) and more testosterone through your body, you look and sound more confident, authentic, passionate and captivating. And then you start feeling that way too.