self help

How To 'Wing' Any Task, Every Single Time

You may have, unbeknownst to you, done this a few times in your life already, but how do you go about actually ‘winging’ certain tasks? What situations do you have to be in to ‘wing’ them? What does ‘winging’ even mean?

To ‘wing it’ is to simply perform well at something you otherwise have little or no skill to accomplish. Some classic examples could be doing a talk on a topic you don’t really know about or playing a sport you’ve had no training at whatsoever (thank your genes). 

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Winging things in life has its perks, and I’ve definitely had some great experiences with it. I’ve winged so many tests at college, winged reports, winged interviews, meetings I’ve had at work, and even some tasks I’ve never done (but have heard about a few times). While I always recommend being prepared for anything, there are times when you need to wing yourself out of (or into) situations. 

Winging things can only be successful if you’re confident you can get away with it. Confidence is key here. You’ll need to know how to keep eye contact, modulate your voice that’ll make you sound believable (if you’re doing a speech or something similar), use body language to exude power (link to my article), and hold yourself as someone with the authority to be doing that specific task. It will also help if you’re a wide reader

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Now, a question usually posed to me is this: Isn’t ‘winging’ lying or deceiving other people? Personally, I don’t think so. Deception is often intentional, while winging is having to improvise when you’re left with no other choice. If you’re suddenly put in a position where you’ve got zilch time to prepare, there’s no other choice than to wing it.

I remember having to wing a debate in college, about whether or not sleeping with the lights on is better than sleeping with the lights off. Our team had very little time to prepare, if at all, and in the end, after looking my classmates square in the face as I refuted the statements of the other party (we were assigned the ‘lights on’ position by the way), we won. Scientifically, sleeping with the lights off provides more benefits, but because our team spoke with such confidence, we managed to steer the audience our way. 

Also, back in Oman (a country 4 hours away from Dubai where I spent three years after high school in), I had to play bowling with some friends from church. I didn’t say I had zero experience ‘cause they might not give me the time of day, but once I got into it, I started getting the hang of holding the bowling ball and ‘steering’ it where I needed it to go. After a few hours, I felt like I had been bowling all my life. No one knew I’d never bowled before too, and I got away with it. Not only did I spend such a great time with friends, but I learned how to bowl just by observing others doing it.

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Another example of winging something is going to a meeting unprepared but still providing input into the conversation. Sometimes, I have no idea what we’re talking about but then I hear a word or two that gives me a hint and I go for it. It works out all the time for me. In this case, the key is being attentive to the words being exchanged. You pick up hints when you do, and using these little keywords, you try to inject related items until you understand what you’re meeting about fully. Call it luck during the first go, but if this happens often, it’s no longer just that. It’s winging it. 

It takes practice to be great at this. You might feel awkward and very self-aware when you try it for the first time, but as you are pushed to keep doing it, it’ll get easier. Like I mentioned before, I’ve been winging things since my school days (which I’m sure you have done too), making me look so prepared all the time and knowledgeable about a lot of things. Believe me - I don’t know everything. Hell, I’ve winged conversations I had no knowledge about, but people still saw me as sort of an expert on it after. 

 

When was a time you winged something? How was the experience?

Body Language: Exuding Confidence

In a room full of people, it's always beneficial to have the upper-hand. You get to control your response and other people's response to you, charm them and make you believe whatever you say, and practically trust you with their lives.

Some use this to take advantage of people in a negative context, but today, I want to show you how you can use these tips positively, whether during a deal meet, a lunch date, or at an office setup.

 

What are Non-Verbals?

Non-verbal communication includes pitch, speed, tone and volume of voice, gestures and facial expressions, body posture, stance, and proximity to the listener, eye movements and contact, and dress and appearance.

In simple terms, it's how you present yourself to other people without having to say anything. It's the art of showing power/authority or intent to others using your physical features.

Here are some non-verbals which may be useful to you (if done right):

 

Be aware of your hands.

What you do with your hands during a situation says a lot about your confidence. An example would be keeping your palms facing down from behind a desk, which shows a high level of personal confidence. To not look too overbearing, show your palms once in a while.

Psychology tells us that exposing the palms speak of a character that is quite subordinate or lacking authority compared to someone who keeps their palms downwards. This is said to signal confidence and certainty in one's self.

 

Get in their 'space'.

It's not about making the other person feel uncomfortable - rather, it's making them feel you're approachable and willing to step forward. By meeting others in their space, you're telling them, "I'm present, I'm currently acting in-the-moment". Shake their hand and step forward. Don't wait for it to happen the other way around. Doing this will show your control of the situation.

 

Stay still, physically.

If you want to exude confidence, stand your ground and keep still. Obviously, people who are frantic or nervous can be hyperactive or fidgety. Nothing shows courage and assurance by being physically calm.

A lot of us move our heads around when we speak, but if the head is still or moved slowly, that person speaking exudes an air of authority, seriousness, and confidence. If one constantly looks around with a darting eye or have quick head movements, it indicates that one is under threat or is of a lesser status or rank.

 

Have good body posture.

Sometimes, being the most powerful person in the room requires more than looking good in a suit or dress. Often, it's about how you hold yourself - quite literally. To be confident, stand stall and don't slouch, look at the people you're speaking to in the eye, and keep your hands relaxed. Fidgeting with you hair or your clothes can make you look bored or insecure, which we don't want.

 

There are heaps more non-verbals you can look into, but the ones I mentioned will help you get started. I do seminars/workshops on Body Language, so if you're interested in scheduling a session with me for you or for your team, shoot me an email at contact@theindymiss.com :)

Let me know if you need more series like this on self-improvement, and what topics you'd like me to cover. I'd be more than happy to oblige.