Tag Archives: Confidence

Mandelson. A lesson in confidence.

If there is one word that that characterises the winning pitch it is confidence.  Does the team have it? Do they inspire it?

In  my post on January 18th, ” His (Gordon Brown’s) appointment of Mandelson, who exudes an eery sense of confidence, could prove to be a masterstroke”.  And how!

We have witnessed pitching, the art of persuasion, at its very best.  Some of the editorial plaudits include: “Without Mandelson’s powers of persuasion, Gordon Brown would be out of a job” (IoS). “Gordon has clung to Peter’s presentational flair, tactical nous, coolness in a crisis..”(Observer).

And from Quentin Lett, master of body language observation,” You do not have to like Peter Mandelson–not many do–to admit he has played a presentational blinder these past few weeks …sleek, serene, brain ticking as fast as the workings of a Swiss watch.  He radiates natural authority.  He is calm.  He knows his brief.”

Love him or hate him, but learn from him. Know your brief, and ‘ooze’ confidence.  And this you can achieve through rehearsal, lots of it.

“It’s all down to confidence. Obama has it”.

These words headlined an article by William Rees-Mogg in the MoS and there are plenty like it.  As the world economy falls apart, confidence, or rather lack of it, dominates the media, and our lives, at an intensity not seen since the thirties.  As a result we repond, perhaps disproportionately, to those who appear to have it.

Right now Gordon Brown has it more than Cameron.  His appointment of Mandelson who exudes an eery sense of confidence, could prove to be a masterstroke.  Perhaps one reason Kenneth Clarke is in the frame for the Tory front bench is an ebullient self-confidence less evident in his colleagues.

Barack “yes you can” Obama  has it!  Oratory up there with the Gettysburg address, body language to rival Roosevelt, whose  “jaunty figure communicated boundless confidence to his countrymen” and the charisma of Kennedy.

 The relevance to the business pitch?  Confidence has never been so important.  No one has a crystal ball, no proposal comes with cast iron guarantee, no procurement process can eliminate error. Now,  more than ever, it is the teams who inspire the intangible of confidence that get the vote.

How do you build this?  You accept that the more you rehearse, the more confident you will be. That the strong opening gives you and your audience confidence.  That it’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it.  And, that listening can be more powerful than talking.

Yet another lesson from Obama, ( Andrew Sullivan, S Times)  “What he gets, what he seems to intuit, is how to make others feel as if they are being heard”

Its what all clients want!   (More on confidence in Best Practice Guides and posts Sept 15, Oct 8,15,19)

Confidence Capello style

Starting in  September, confidence, the ‘sine qua non’ of successful pitches, has been a  regular topic.  During those few weeks Gordon has gone from ‘cow’rin’, tim’rous’ to roaring ‘beastie’, giving us more confidence in the process.

Something similiar is happening with the English football team.  Give or take, it’s the same bunch of players, same old skills, same formations, same tactics but now winning and winning well.  Why?  In one word, confidence.

“Capello gives players ring of confidence on path to higher ground” A headline in the Times which says Capello believes England’s rapid improvement is largely down to increased confidence, with the Italian eradicating a climate of fear and beginning the process of instilling a winning mentality.

” We have the confidence”, Capello said.  “Sometimes there have been moments when we have not played so well, but we are always confident of scoring goals to win the game.  Confidence is the most important thing for a team”.

As it is for any team pitching. And the key role for management, mentor or coach in the lead-up to the pitch is one of boosting confidence.  Not last-minute nitpicking.

Capello’s command of English may not be that great, but the body language, the crossed arms and those spectacles shout confidence in any language!

World-leading confidence from Gordon!

WOW. As they might say in politics.  A few weeks ago it was all Cameron.  Today it’s all Gordon, suddenly achieving a hero status that requires no surname.  Cometh the hour, cometh the man!

And it is all about confidence. His confidence is rubbing off on us, on the media, on the markets and on other world leaders. Some press comment:

“Brown to pitch rescue plan to EU….this could be his Falkland moment..”

“The hunched, hunted man of a few weeks ago replaced by a confident even swaggering figure……His chin is up.  His stride has lengthened.  His shoulders have straightened.  He has even taken to cracking jokes…He casually squelched David Cameron..”

“He has acted boldly and decisively, showing great stature and gravitas”. A frontbencher, reflecting on this new found confidence, said  ” First Britain, then Europe, now the World”.

The spirit of Churchill has been evoked   And why not.  It was Churchill’s confidence that did so much to inspire during the crisis of war.  It is Gordon’s confidence now at work in this crisis.

Of course Churchill, once the crisis was over,  lost the election.  Will this be Gordon’s lot?

Confidence with a capital C.

As the headlines of £500 BILLION here and $700 BILLION  there, meaningless figures to most of us, hit the news we are constantly reminded that it’s all about restoring “confidence” in the markets.  Since it is the markets and governments that created the mess, this is proving difficult.

However, in the absence for most of us (all of us?) of any understanding of what may, or may not work, we rely on our feelings about the spokespeople.  Do they make me feel confident?

Right now, even if he contributed to the mess, Gordon Brown with his background of experience, coupled with his Scottish prudence, does appear more confident than his novice rival.  The very dullness of ‘old’ Darling at this time works in his favour. 

Perhaps anticipated by William Pitt, who in 1766, said in a speech in the House of Commons-“Confidence is a plant of slow growth in an aged bosom: youth is the season of credulity”.

The lack of confidence in business is, in all sectors, translating into pressure on suppliers.  Often this leads to calls for a pitch.  ‘We are not sure what the future holds but it won’t cost anything to pressure our advisers’.

In the pitch, they will say they are looking, in these tough times, for improved performance, efficiencies and lower cost!  All the rational stuff.  But what they will be responding to are the companies, the  people who are confident.  And who inspire confidence.

…..rehearse, rehearse, rehearse……………………………..(Best Practice Guide)