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More than a third of women feel intimidated asking for a pay rise

January 2022: Starting your dream job in January and want to ensure you make the right impression? Or perhaps you’re looking to secure that overdue pay rise or promotion in 2022?

New research from Lenstore has revealed the situations at work we find the most daunting, and the interviewer techniques that intimidate us the most, before securing advice from the experts on how to make sure we get what we want from our bosses this new year.

Presenting and asking for a pay rise are the two most nerve-racking situations
Lenstore’s research shows that presenting at work (29%) and asking for a pay rise (29%) are the two most intimidating scenarios in the workplace, followed by asking for a promotion (26%) and dealing with workplace conflict (26%). Shockingly, women are much more likely to feel intimidated in these scenarios:

More than a third of young workers (16-24 year olds) lack confidence when asking for a promotion (36%) and when public speaking or presenting (34%). Meanwhile, just one in five (20%) of 55+ year olds feel nervous when asking for a promotion, and only a quarter (25%) of 35-44 year olds feel intimidated by public speaking or presenting.

Distracted interviewers are voted as the most intimidating
With many people looking for a fresh start in the new year, January and February are often seen as the best time to apply to a new role, which means you could be up against increased competition. But how can you overcome less than encouraging interviewers?

Lenstore’s research found that the two most off-putting body language techniques interviewer’s use is when they check their mobile phone (40%) or appear distracted, for example looking out a window or peering at a computer screen (40%). Avoiding eye contact comes in second place (38%) whilst a blank facial expression (37%) comes in third.

If your interviewer is making you feel intimidated, Liz Sebag‑Montefiore, Director and Co-founder of career coaching provider 10Eighty, says you should utilise positive body language such as smiling and nodding “in the face of an inattentive interviewer, maintaining positivity is important; first impressions count and employers should favour a positive and enthusiastic person who displays energy and curiosity.”

Use impactful body language to get what you want in the workplace
With 55% of our communication being non-verbal, body language expert, Inbaal Honigman, argues that impactful body language such as broad steps, large sweeping gestures and a wide smile can show that you’re a positive person who is eager to succeed in the workplace.

“It all starts in the mind, so train your mindset to think that you love being at work and enjoy the company there – and your movements and gestures will reflect that,” says Inbaal.

When negotiating something like a pay rise or promotion, however, Inbaal says it’s crucial to drop the smile and stop nodding. A soft face indicates a submissive personality, so make sure you maintain a neutral face, a strong, straight posture and steady eye contact.

Negotiating through a video call whilst working from home means it can be difficult to convey confidence, so make sure you’re looking at the webcam as much as possible, keep a straight posture and avoid swaying in your chair. Gestures can increase the value of our words by 60%, so remember to emphasise your points with regular hand and arm movements.

The top three ways to FEEL confident at work
Kirsty Hulse, founder of Roar! Training says “I invite everyone to think about how they feel when they stand confidently, greet people confidently and walk into a room confidently. We have to allow for a bit of difference, but I also believe that we all know what it looks like and feels like to be confident.”

Practice techniques that make you feel confident, whether that’s dressing smarter, making more eye contact during conversations or sitting up straighter. If you work from home, try recording yourself to see how you’d appear via video calls.

Finally, Kirsty also suggests “On days when you’re feeling particularly nervous, ask yourself this question: ‘If I was feeling a little bit less shy, how would I behave?’, and then look to create a mental blueprint for what you need to do to move towards this behaviour.”

For more advice on how to come across as more confident in the workplace, see Lenstore’s full guide here: