‘But Jon, I want to actually be confident.’
For your audience, apparent confidence is all that matters, whether it’s genuine or not. And here’s how you do it:
- Prepare properly. This could be a rehearsing presentation or pitch, creating a well-researched meeting agenda or making thorough notes for a phone call. It might seem like a waste of time, but investing time in preparation can give you that magic look of confidence, because in that crucial moment when you need to maintain the energy, your prepared structure will provide the flow.
- Win yourself over. Visualise success, remind yourself that you’re the expert (that’s why you’re speaking), and then deliver with conviction the authority they expect. Looking confident at the start creates a good first impression, which sets up a positive feedback loop: the trust means the audience relaxes and responds well, then you feel comfortable and can be yourself.
- Try to enjoy yourself. Instead of entering a speaking situation with the pressure of delivering the perfect presentation/meeting phone call, try basing it on a more useful objective: making a human connection. Remember that you’re expert; you’re simply going to talk about what you love. Have fun, show that your subject matters.
Looking confident isn’t always easy. But it is very simple: prepare your material, prepare yourself mentally and try to have fun.