I’m often asked by clients to help managers stepping up into more visible leadership roles. They typically say, “He’s very smart and has great ideas…but he needs to be more confident.”
While there is no “confident” switch, there are ways to help us feel more confident. Here are ten suggestions:
- Focus on why you have the position, the seat at the table, the opportunity to speak at a conference…Think about your successes and accomplishments — give yourself a silent, in-the-moment pep talk!
- Don’t wing it when meeting people for the first time. There is no excuse today not to be prepared with insights about a prospective client (both the company and individual). It’s easy to do a quick Google search or check someone’s profile on LinkedIn, yet it always impresses the other person, which boosts your confidence!
- Use that preparation to help you shape your point of view and then own it! Deliver your point of view eyeball to eyeball!
- Banish tentative language. “I think…” “We might…” “I’m pretty confident.” If you don’t sound like you believe in what you’re saying, why should anyone else care?
- Don’t fidget. No nail biting or cuticle picking or hair twirling or pen clicking or coin-rattling in your pocket.
- Stand tall. Excellent posture exudes confidence. If seated, lean into the conversation vs. retreating into the back of your chair.
- Smile. Remind yourself that you’re happy to be there, in that situation, at that event, at that moment.
- Anticipate conversation starters and questions that will demonstrate sincere interest in others.
- Look confident. Dress the part.
- Beware of the “wet fish” handshake. When you enter a conference room or restaurant, put your hand out to confidently shake the other person’s hand. Have a firm (but still friendly) handshake and make eye contact.
The next time someone says to you, “you just need to be more confident,” remember these ten suggestions.