Are You Confident, Terrified or Just Winging it?

Everyone knows confidence is a key to success. But how can you develop confidence when you don’t have any? Is it true that you can “fake it until you make it?” Is just acting confident enough?

There are times when you need to put your game face on and go forward even though you’re afraid. But it doesn’t pay to pump yourself up with affirmations and then charge ahead only to hear the awful sound of your balloon being popped by a prospective customer or a seminar audience because all you had was bravery with no real substance to back it up.

You don’t have to be addicted to “Hope-ium” – that vague wish and hope that it will all work out Okay.

Here are five keys to developing legitimate confidence in the face of a scary new opportunity:

1) Prepare. There is no better way to become confident than to know you’ve done your homework and you’re ready. Study your prospective customer or your seminar audience and work hard to understand their relevant needs. Prepare your presentation and practice explaining it effectively and with passion.

2) Know when you’ve prepared enough. On the other hand, there is no better way to become mentally and emotionally paralyzed than to believe you have to be perfect before you can move forward. Prepare, then put on that game face and go forward afraid. Your fear at this point is of the unknown rather than that freaked-out, uneasy feeling you get when you know you’re winging it.

3) Focus on your prospect or audience. Most fear is a result of focusing on ourselves. “What if I don’t get the agreement?” “What if they say no?” “What if I sound stupid?” “What if I blank out in the middle?” When you focus on your prospect or your audience and think about how you can help them, a large part of your fear will melt away.

4) Affirmations. Empty affirmations have little real value but affirmations anchored in reality are one of the most powerful confidence boosters in the world. Make a list of your skills, gifts and accomplishments and craft them into affirmations that will boost your confidence. “I’m an experienced, effective communicator who helps people.” Or “I’m a certified speaker, trainer and coach and I’m here to help people change their lives for the better.”

5) Ask questions. The more your prospective customers talk, the more you know and the better prepared you’ll be to show how your services will meet their needs. This works for a seminar audience too. A great way to break the ice as you’re beginning a talk is to ask a question about your topic and write their responses on a flip chart or white board. Now they own the answers too.

There is no question that confidence is a key to success. Practice using some of these ideas to make sure you have real confidence and you’ll find yourself making a bigger difference than you thought possible.

How are some of the ways you boost your confidence in the face of a new opportunity or audience?

About the Author

KJN-Vertical-OriginalRKarl J. Newman is a Featured writer for the John Maxwell Team Blog.

He is an executive leader and influential communicator who develops effective solutions to business and organizational challenges.

As President & CEO of several successful companies, he has real-world experience doing what he teaches.

Karl brings you far more than theory and concepts. He brings you customized real-world solutions you can turn into results – both in your own life and across your organization.

Contact Karl at