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If you saw me on stage several years ago, you would see big confident smiles. Words that showed off my expertise. The body language of champions.
But inside, I would always be doubting myself.
What I’d learned through decades of presenting was how to project the “perfect” confident image of myself. But what I really, honestly thought of my own self, my own expertise and my own opinions almost didn’t matter.
Of course, this is a chicken-and-egg problem. What comes first – actually feeling confident or projecting confidence?
This is where the “fake it till you make it” philosophy comes in.
But does it work?
Yes and no.
I’m a huge fan of starting where you are- of not waiting till you’re “ready”. So start speaking in public, “faking” confidence if you need to.
But there’s a missing link in there.
Once you start “faking” confidence without believing in it, it can backfire. You might start believing that you always need to put on a “show”, that your “real” self isn’t really worth presenting on stage.
So here’s the actionable tip for this week:
Use every public speaking opportunity to systematically grow your confidence
Each time you step up on that stage, you’re conquering your fears.
What you may not be doing is creating a system to capture and address your fears and grow your confidence.
This is how you can do that:
🔥 Stop thinking of your public speaking or presentation opportunities as one-off. Create conscious links between them.
🔥 Start with analyzing the last time you spoke or presented on any stage. Write down: 3 things you felt, 1 thing you want to stop doing, 1 thing you want to continue doing and 1 thing you want to start doing or improve on.
🔥 Seek out opportunities. Make speaking or presenting a part of your monthly goals. Speaking 1-2 times a month is a great start to build momentum.
🔥 Document your thought process and mental state before and after each presentation. This way, you’ll start seeing patterns and gain a deeper understanding of what exactly gets you nervous, concerned or terrified.
🔥 Debrief after each speaking or presenting opportunity with yourself (or your coach 😁). Track your progress based on the goals you set for yourself in step 2. Be intentional about using every success to show yourself how far you’ve come.
You don’t need to fake it till you make it.
You just need to grow your confidence and your self-worth with every single public speaking opportunity.
Speaking of confidence, I talk to Dr Alessandra Wall, PhD, about how female leaders can speak more effectively and with more confidence in this week’s Speak as a Leader podcast. (We also talk about some insane things she’s heard as a female leadership coach).
Till we meet again, speak fearlessly!