Last night Ogilvy & Mather Group UK had the pleasure of hosting WACL, a club for the most influential women in the UK communications industry, for its first Gathering of the 2016/2017 WACL year.

In keeping with WACL’s theme for the year, “Speak Up – Join In”, the topic of discussion was “What Is The Secret of Confidence – How Can I Feel More Like Joining In?” With success frequently correlated just as closely to confidence as it is to competence, in order to progress you really do need to join in.

Coley Porter Bell’s CEO, Vicky Bullen, sat on a panel of female industry leaders chaired by Founding Partner at The Brooklyn Brothers, Jackie Stevenson, to share top tips of how to feel more confident about joining in.

Here are the key pieces of advice from our panelists:

* Embrace your nerves - the adrenaline will really help to make you brilliant.

A key topic of discussion was how to overcome nerves and appear calm. Vicky Bullen, CEO at Coley Porter Bell, believes nerves are not all bad and can be overcome with deep breaths. She also stresses the importance of preparation – being or feeling prepared will give you confidence.

* Listen to your gut instinct. Listen to it. Act on it.

Sophie Maunder, CEO at VCCPme, shared her experience of not speaking up in meetings when she knew she should have. Often our instincts are right – we need to learn to trust them and act on them.

* Have the confidence to be yourself. Don’t feel the need to mimic anyone else.

Covered early on was the topic of male confidence vs female confidence. Tammy Einav, MD at adam&eveDDB, advised not to be fooled into mimicking the behavior of your male colleagues, but instead to “be brave enough to be yourself”.

* Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of ‘faking it’.

Not feeling confident? Fake it, says Vicky. The more Vicky faked her confidence, the easier it became for her to be naturally confident.

* Put your hand up. Volunteer. Do the thing you are scared of.

For Charlotte Ryder, previous FLA winner 2016 and Account Director at Good Relations, the confidence to put yourself forward has been important in her career. Charlotte shared her tips for overcoming imposter syndrome – the feeling that other people don’t deem you to be as good as you claim. To move past this, Charlotte stressed the importance of developing inner confidence by believing you are good enough to be in the room.

* Remember the little things.

Charlotte also reminded us of the basics - speaking with a smile will make you sound more confident, for example.

* Voice your fears to somebody.

Whether you speak to your friend, your partner, or your mum, Jackie Stevenson believes talking about your fears makes them less scary and will make you more confident as a result.