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Alda was excited and nervous to work with top executives in client organizations; structured thinking helped her succeed.

Unlimited opportunities to make a difference

When I joined the firm, I was excited and terrified at the same time. I was shocked to learn junior-tenured consultants, including fresh graduates, work directly with top executives like CEOs and chief financial, technology, and information officers. As someone passionate about leadership, I was thrilled to meet these execs and see how they run their organizations and also excited to work with them to make a positive, lasting difference. While I knew this was a huge opportunity for me to learn and grow, I couldn’t help my feelings of nervousness and self-doubt, especially as I settled into my new role.

I remember the first time I was asked to present to a client director. My heart was pounding, my palms were sweaty, and my brain was busy memorizing the presentation script. I struggled with questions like: “What if I say something stupid? What if they don’t trust me? What if the clients don’t like our ideas? Would the men in the room want to listen to a young female consultant?”

The power of structured thinking

With the help of supportive colleagues and mentors, I learned how to manage presentation jitters and enhance my presence by focusing on three things:

  • Topic – arrive prepared, do the research, and speak to the client’s working team in advance to fully understand the situation, the issues and the audience
  • Audience – know what’s top of mind for each person in the room
  • Intent – know the goals for the meeting and clarify what success looks like

McKinsey teams naturally address these elements and doing so boosted my confidence. I have now been with the firm for six-and-a-half years and present regularly to CEOs. Knowing the topic, my audience and my intent has helped me focus and present with confidence. In fact, I get excited and look forward to the collaboration that results from these discussions.

Structured thinking and communications are the most powerful skills I have acquired at the firm. To learn more about building your personal presence, sign up for our Asia Open House series here.

More about Alda

Alda is an associate in Jakarta. She holds a master’s in marketing from Melbourne Business School. Her work at McKinsey focuses on digital adoption, implementation, operations and organization & capabilities in the global energy & materials and telecom, media & technology sectors.

Outside of work, Alda enjoys taking part in the women empowerment movement specifically in Indonesia. She is a mentor at WomenWorks and launched her own podcast titled “Kartini Masa Kini” a.k.a. “Modern Day Kartini” (an Indonesian female activist in women’s rights and female education) where she interviews female role models and male champions in the Indonesian corporate and startup spaces.