“She speaks so confidently,” you might hear someone say. “I wish I could speak like that.”
“He exudes confidence,” says someone else. “His proposals are always a hit with the client.”
We all know what confidence looks like. But what exactly is it, and how can you develop more of it? Today we’ll take a closer look at the powerful tool of confidence.
Many people assume that having confidence means you can naturally communicate well with others, answer difficult questions, and think on your feet. This is what most see from the outside, but it is not necessarily what confidence really means. In order for your audience to see these results, you have to feel confident, and that takes time and preparation.
Confidence is not a personality trait. It’s a habit. It can be developed over time, with experience and continuous practice. Confidence is having the motivation to show up in a certain way for both key situations and everyday situations. It involves practice, preparation, and a state of mind.
So, how do we develop confidence?
Step 1: Practice Your Communication
Before important communications, rehearse your words and actions. You don’t want to become stiff and over-prepared, but you do want to fully know your material, what message you need to send, and your available time slot. Then think about your audience: who are they, and what do they need to hear from you?
Consider possible responses: what questions do you not want your audience to ask? Picture your intended result: what questions do you want your audience to ask? Practice will help prepare you to exude confidence during this communication.
Step 2: Project Confidence
Projecting confidence may mean acting more confident than you feel. Even if you are feeling only 80% confident, you want the audience to know you are comfortable and your recommendation is solid.
In your communication, project confidence through your word choice, body language, tone of voice, and eye contact. Be comfortable with pausing and listening to your audience’s questions. Sit comfortably in your chair; resist the urge to fidget. Look your audience in the eye and speak clearly.
Step 3: Persevere
Both practicing and projecting confidence takes time and hard work! But the more we do it, the easier it will come. Think of the Olympics: no Olympic athlete shows up without practicing. And they each need confidence to perform their best. These athletes have been working towards their goal for 4 years or more, and they expect a good result.
When you have a meeting on your calendar, you may not have days to prepare. But there is something you can do with the time you are given. How can you practice, project, and persevere to demonstrate confidence in this upcoming meeting?
No matter what your role is at an organization, you need confidence to show up every day. You may be having conversations with your coworkers or presenting to the C Suite, and confidence is essential to both interactions. It impacts how you do your job, how you train for new positions, and how you use tools and technology. For more assistance with increasing your confidence as a leader and communicator, check out our available tools:
- Enhancing Your Presence
Confidence is intimately tied to your Presence as a leader. Learn how to emit Presence by understanding what it looks like, how it can impact your career, and how it can be developed through confidence, communication, and emotional maturity. This is a custom offering; contact us to get started.
- Lead to the Max!® Coaching
This coaching program is specifically designed for emerging leaders. It includes one-on-one coaching sessions, an Everything DiSC Assessment, and the creation of a six-month coaching plan. Get more details here.