As anyone who spends as much time on Twitter as I do knows: DKNY PR GIRL is a legend. The Twitter account has more than half a million followers, and it’s generally acknowledged as one of the first to give a distinct digital voice to a company.
Here’s what you might not know, though: the DKNY PR GIRL Twitter handle is run by a woman named Aliza Licht, who also happens to be the Senior Vice President of Global Communications at Donna Karan. So yes, in addition to being the best on Twitter, she also has an amazing position at an equally amazing company.
I recently had the opportunity to hear her speak about her new book LEAVE YOUR MARK: Land Your Dream Job. Kill it in Your Career. Rock Social Media (which you should totally read!). And here’s what I learned: Licht is a wealth of amazing career advice, witty anecdotes, and tweetable quotes. So much so that I could probably write a book on her 90-minute discussion. She touched on the importance of progress and not perfection, using a resume to show off skills and not just specific jobs, and why you should never procrastinate.
But out of all of her great nuggets of wisdom, there was one particular point that stood out to me. An attendee talked about how she was unsure of when to speak up in interviews, meetings, and other professional settings, fearing that she would upset others, especially if her ideas were not fully formed yet. She asked for tips on how to overcome those feelings of inadequacy.
Licht’s response was short, but important: “Don’t dumb yourself down for the sake of other people’s egos.”
It sometimes feels like you may not want to rock the boat, especially if you’re the youngest or least-experienced person in the room. And sure, there are more nuanced and appropriate ways to share your ideas (for example, not putting down other people’s ideas when presenting your own). But it’s also crucial to speak up before it’s too late, and no matter what you’re saying, put real oomph behind it so that other people believe it, too.
Or, as Licht pointed out, “You’d be surprised what you can get away with if you say it with the utmost confidence!” That means getting straight to the point and leaving out qualifying statements like, “This may be a dumb idea…” or “I’m not sure if this is right, but…” And the more often you speak up, the easier it becomes to do in the future.
Licht faced this battle numerous times in her career. And while she’s quick to point out that it took a lot of trial and error, the results speak for themselves: You don’t become senior VP at a major fashion brand or a Twitter phenomenon by just sitting back and laying low, right?