Confidence can be tricky. We have it in spades after we’ve achieved a major milestone, but often can’t find a lick of it when we need it most—before we step up to the plate.
Unfortunately, life goes on even when you’re feeling down. You’ll still be expected to secure new business, engage team members and complete projects. So, you may have to fake it until you make it.
During times of doubt, try these techniques for keeping up positive appearances:
- Embrace silences. Great communicators often use silence to their advantage. Don’t immediately jump in to fill a conversational void. A thoughtful expression and an affirmation may be all that’s needed to keep things on track.
- Steer discussions. Try to influence or set agendas. Know what you want to say ahead of time about your values and what you bring to the table. That way you’re less likely to get flustered or go off on a tangent.
- Ask questions. Asking “What do you think is at risk?” or “What specific results are you after?” gets people to share their ideas, which makes them feel valued, and buys you time to compose and succinctly express your thoughts.
- Speak in sound bites. Stay high level when forced to comment on something you’re unsure about. Stick to key business themes: productivity, engagement, quality and profit. Make clear statements that link the topic at hand to desired outcomes.
When in doubt about yourself, ask colleagues or friends for feedback. You’re probably doing just fine.
Before you act . . .
Keep in mind that being confident doesn’t necessitate taking charge of every situation. Look for opportunities to delegate responsibility and forge partnerships. After all, truly confident people aren’t intimidated by other people’s success.