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Posted 12 years ago
Competence means being knowledgeable and skillful in your field; but it also means possessing a problem-solving ability that goes beyond your own specialty. If you don’t know the answer, or how to fix the problem, with strong competence, you know how to go about getting someone who does. Competence means having a can-do attitude and following through on it.
Exhibiting competence in knowing what you’re doing, or knowing how to get something done, is communicated to others in a variety of ways. There’s the obvious level of actually being able to do what you say you can do. Your “nonverbals” – how you look, the sound of your voice – go a long way toward conveying competence. So does the style of behavior you choose – whether you come across as a very casual person, or as someone who’s a professional and takes herself seriously. Notice I said “the style of behavior you choose,” because you do have a choice. And that’s my tip on competence: you can choose to behave in a way that exudes competence, or you can choose to undercut what skills you do have by looking and acting as if you’re not sure of yourself. Your ability to gain influence with other people is dependent on how they see you – whether they judge you to be trustworthy, whether they think you really know what you’re talking about, or whether you can manage the tasks you claim you can. You’ll go a long way toward gaining that trust when you’re able to impress them with your competence. How do you express your competence to others?