Practical analysis for investment professionals
14 July 2015

How Confidence Affects Your Career in the Investment Industry


Communicating is about four things: you, your audience, your message, and your delivery.

In a recent webinar for CFA Institute, Sharon Ranson, a Toronto-based executive coach, explored these four elements in detail. She argued that clear communication is an important aspect of developing your voice in the investment management industry.

Ranson makes a number of invaluable points about knowing your purpose, understanding your audience, conveying your essential points, and making your point memorable. Here are three that I found especially insightful:

  • Relating deeply and making personal connections with your clients allows you to think more naturally about your message and your delivery from their perspective.
  • Decisions are made based more often on emotions than on data or logic, so using stories that identify trends and leverage known emotional responses can be a valuable delivery technique.
  • Q and A can make or break a presentation. It is essential to prepare for it. It is also important to adopt an attitude of curiosity and an eagerness to learn, because you can’t prepare for every single possible question, but responding with curiosity and learning from the experience helps you to improve.

To really establish your voice though requires something more: It requires confidence! Believing you can accomplish a goal makes a difference in whether you accomplish it. Confidence is not only important to your self-interest but also materially impacts whether you can serve your clients to the best of your ability.

While this is an important point for everyone to keep in mind, it’s an especially relevant point for women in the investment industry to remember. Ranson references Katty Kay and Claire Shipman’s book The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance — What Women Should Know to illustrate how women often display less confidence than men. Here is one example: For an assignment or position with a set of experience/knowledge requirements, men will put themselves forward for it when they believe they meet as little as 40% of the requirements, while women won’t put themselves forward for it until they are certain they meet a minimum of 90% of the requirements.

Here are a few of the tips offered in the webinar for building confidence:

  • Focus on your client and your audience and what you can do for them.
  • Know yourself and your style.
  • Have a personal mantra.
  • Practice power poses. (Here’s a popular TED Talk by Amy Cuddy about power poses.)

What tips have you discovered for improving your communication skills and/or increasing your confidence? Share your tips in the comments section.

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All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute or the author’s employer.

Image credit: ©

About the Author(s)
Julia VanDeren

Julia VanDeren, manager, career services at CFA Institute, serves as the subject matter expert in career management skills, curating and developing career resources for members and program candidates. Previously, she served CFA Institute as career services representative, managing the CFA Institute JobLine (now Career Center) and Career Centre (now Career Tools) resources. VanDeren holds a BA from the University of Virginia and an MPA from Virginia Commonwealth University.

1 thought on “How Confidence Affects Your Career in the Investment Industry”

  1. Peter Adigwe says:

    This article makes an interesting insight into customer relationship. Very brief, but rich.

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