I had a fantastic professional development experience last week with 19 associates working for LEGO America. They had come to spruce up their presentation skills and learn more effective planning and delivery techniques in a two day course called The Motivated Presenter™ Level 1: Essential Fundamentals of High Engagement Presentations.
What amazed me about this session was the number of times the word Confidence came up. It was listed by many participants as the ONE THING that they wanted to change about their presentation style. It was discussed multiple times over the two days. It was demonstrated in the practice presentations. It was realized in the end. I walked away knowing that this course was fundamentally an exercise in confidence building – a critical ingredient in career and business success.
So what is confidence and why is it so important to us?
To understand concepts at a deeper level, I like to go to the Dictionary or the Thesaurus.
- Synonyms for the word confidence include: assurance, certainty, positiveness, spirit, boldness, self-reliance, communication, faith, trust, belief, courage and hope.
- Antonym listed was the single word: Doubt. I think that says it all.
In a seminar that I gave a few years ago at the Business Women’s Forum, I defined Competence, Confidence and Credibility and showed how your mastery of body language and vocal power could enhance all three. Watch this video and let me know if you agree with my definition of Confidence?
You’re in control
What is so wonderful about confidence is that it lies totally within your control. Other people can applaud it and build it up; or they can poop all over it and even destroy it. But they can do neither without your permission. You are truly in charge of your own thoughts. How you feel about yourselves and your abilities is the underpinning of your self-confidence.
What can you do to build up your self confidence?
We rarely have confidence in things that we are afraid of or do infrequently. Things like public speaking or sky diving, networking or negotiating. If confidence is defined as your belief that you can do something well, then it stands to reason that you can build greater confidence by doing that thing more often. Frequency might build confidence: repetition, experience and repeated success, even if very small. Facing your fears and doing it any way may serve you to not only chase away your anxiety, but may serve you by building you up to become a stronger, bolder, more self-assured person.
I know many people who lack confidence about going to networking events attended by tons of people that they don’t know. The idea of striking up a conversation with a stranger can create high levels of anxiety in some people. The same is true for picking up the telephone and talking to someone new for networking purposes.
I networked today with a woman over the telephone. She used the word “reticent” to describe her feelings about networking. By the end of our call, she was charged up and ready to go do more networking. Just like the LEGO employees, her confidence increased by the simple act of doing the thing that she feared. Practice makes more than perfect. Practice makes you more confident.
Your Networking Goal for the Week
Build your confidence in networking by increasing your connections and relationship building activity. Study up and learn from those that do networking well. Observe yourself and know when you are putting it off not because you don’t have enough time, but because you are reluctant and frightened of networking. Go take a networking skills course to help you overcome your fears, masters some new networking techniques and boost your confidence. And above all, hang out with positive people who build you up, challenge you and bring out the best in you.
Lastly, try this on. Repeat the Networking CPR mantra three times a day, every day this week:
C: I am Confident;
P: I am Prepared;
R: I am Relaxed.
I am a Motivated Networker!
About the writer: Kathy McAfee is known as America’s Marketing Motivator and is author of the book Networking Ahead for Business (Kiwi Publishing 2010). In her role as Executive Presentation Coach and Professional Speaker, Kathy helps her clients to become the recognized leaders in their fields by mastering the art of high engagement presentations, more effective networking and personal marketing. To learn more about Kathy, visit her web site MarketingMotivator.net. If you like this tip and want to receive free networking tips on a weekly basis, please sign up at NetworkingAhead.com