Positioning MBA hires for success
Banking Associate Crystal explains how rotating through three groups shortly after starting at Barclays helped her find the right one to join full-time.
Everywhere you look at Barclays, you’ll find bright, informed, articulate people. To hold your own among them when you start an internship or full-time role, you need to be able to make your points clearly and assertively. And that’s true whether you’re in an interview, taking part in an internal meeting or advising a client one-on-one.
Sometimes it can seem intimidating. You’re surrounded by more experienced colleagues; are they really going to be interested in what an intern or graduate thinks? (The answer is ‘yes’ by the way.) Or perhaps you’re more of a listener than a talker and not used to being as vocal in a group. Whatever the reason for not voicing your opinions, it’s important that you overcome it. Our diversity is one of our biggest strengths. But we can’t make the most of it without everyone’s perspective.
Here are five simple ways to state your case effectively.
1. Use volume control
Match the volume of whoever you’re talking to. It’s okay to speak a little louder to make a point – but not too loud. A raised voice can sound aggressive, which may make others defensive and cause arguments. No matter how valid your point, you’ll have alienated your audience.
2. Don’t butt in
No one likes someone who constantly interrupts, so let people finish their point before making yours. In a long meeting? Then note down your questions as you go and wait for a natural break in the conversation to ask them.
3. Sound the part
Lose words and phrases that suggest uncertainty and devalue your contribution. You’ll sound more assured. Imagine the following with the words in bold removed.
‘I’m just an intern'
‘I’ll try and get it to you tomorrow’
‘I think it’ll take me about an hour’
It’s not about being blunt, which can come across as rude. It’s about being direct and to the point.
4. Frame points well
It’s not just what you say, it’s also how you say it. Frame your opinions in a way that suggests you’ve really thought them through. For instance:
‘In my view...'
‘I would say...’
‘Here’s my take on it...’
Recognize the opinions of others too.
‘You have a point, but have you thought about..'
‘I see what you mean. Why don't we compromise and...’
‘I hadn’t thought of it that way. In which case we could...’
5. Plan ahead
What questions might people ask you? What answers should you give? What counter-arguments will you face? It’s no surprise that the more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel.
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