Lack Confidence? Preparation is the Cure.

Opinions Posted Sep 10, 2014 by chenpr

kapow I may not be a “woman of style and substance,” but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn a trick or two from a magazine that speaks to that demographic. I’m a modern guy, after all, provided you dose that term with generous latitude. My masculinity is not threatened by leafing through the pages of a magazine like More. Heck, I was once featured in Women’s World. So what if it was about neatnik wives married to slob husbands?

But back to the part where I impart a bit of wisdom picked up along life’s winding road. This time that path took me to an article entitled, Tricks to Command a Room when You are not a Natural Born Leader. I thought the tips were worth sharing since we all find ourselves out of our element from time to time, whether delivering a presentation, engaging in a business meeting or networking with others in a social or business situation. Advanced preparation is the key to confidence.

How, then, can you set yourself up for success? The article offers five areas of focus:

  • Believe in Your Message: If you don’t have conviction about a topic, you’re unlikely to engage with the same measure of passion and confidence. Be ready with facts and supporting anecdotes.
  • Think Before You Sit: Put yourself—physically—in a location that best suits you. In a meeting you may be better able to achieve your goals from the side rather than the head of the table. Position yourself beside or across from a colleague in order to facilitate communication.
  • Don’t Consider Yourself an Underdog: Blowhards who talk a lot may seem intimidating to an introvert, but they can wear out their welcome quickly. You don’t have to monopolize a conversation to add value; just make sure you have something worthwhile to say when you do speak up. Pick your moments and state your case. People will remember.
  • Charisma is not a Requirement: Don’t confuse charisma with dominance; it can be over-valued if there’s no substance. True charisma is influential, and you can often achieve that through quiet, thoughtful engagement better than with verbosity.
  • Know in Advance How You’ll React: Have you given thought to potential objections to your presentation? What if the group has already gathered in clusters and appears unwelcoming? What if there’s a technology malfunction? What if a key member of the team is delayed, or there’s a change of venue? In such cases preparation is vital to your ability to adapt and respond.

Handling adversity with aplomb may be the best result you could ask for, so be ready to absorb unexpected blows with humor and grace.