We all know it, so now it’s time to say it – professional situations can be incredibly STRESSFUL. Besides the sweaty palms, shifty eyes, and stammering voice that come with nervousness – come on, I can’t be the only one! – oftentimes they seem “make or break,” adding one extra level of pressure that, let’s face it, no one needs.
So how do we combat this nervousness? First, you’ve got to realize that confidence is a skill that can be taught, like a new software or sport. To teach yourself how to have professional confidence, follow the simple tips below. You’ll be able to appear and feel confident during that all-important meeting or interview, and crush it like the star you know you are!
The most confident professionals are the most prepared. A little prep goes a long way – following the steps below will guarantee your expertise translates to your audience and in turn, make you much more confident.
How you feel in your meeting or interview attire directly relates to your confidence level. Make sure you pick something you feel great in – this is the time for your power suit! If you’re not sure if your look is the right way to go, take a picture and send it to a few friends for feedback. If you’re still stumped, check out our post on creating a professional wardrobe.
The best way to showcase your confidence is to prepare what you’ll say ahead of time. If you’re going into a presentation, meeting, or interview, make a list of the potential questions that might come up and practice – out loud! – how you’d answer them. Take note of specific examples you can draw on – having concrete evidence will help you knock it out of the park!
Professional confidence can often be shaken by negative thoughts that cloud your mind. Counteract these thoughts by being aware of your triggers and thinking only about the good outcomes.
Instead of dreading what could go wrong, visualize the best scenario, down to the specifics: think about how you’ll enter the room, be an expert in all of your main points, and confidently answer even the toughest questions. If you believe you’re confident, your audience will be confident in you.
The first step to overcoming a problem is admitting it’s there. Instead of ignoring your nerves, acknowledge them and work with them, because they’re a sign that what you’re working on is really important to you! Above all, remember that you can stay confident and be nervous at the same time.
Sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it. When you’re in the spotlight, remember that both verbal and nonverbal cues are important – knowing your main points is great, but not if you’re staring at the floor. Making some simple adjustments like the ones below will ensure that you not only sound confident, but look it.
Show your audience that you’re engaged and passionate by making eye contact with them while you’re speaking. No one wants to listen to a presentation if the presenter’s not into it! You should also smile to demonstrate that you’re confident about what you’re saying and excited to be there. Be careful with this, though – no creepy eyes here.
You want to appear interested and alert, so be careful not to cross your arms. Also, try to avoid slouching. If you’re prone to fidgeting from nerves, keeping your hands in your lap will help you remain still. If you’re in a standing position, feel free to make gestures and move your arms as you talk. But again, be careful – no one wants to listen to someone if they look like they’re about to fly away.
Professional situations are a big deal, whether they’re an interview, a performance review, or a big presentation. By preparing ahead of time, visualizing your success, and being aware of yourself, you will have no trouble staying confident in these stressful situations.