I’ve been working with a lot of people that are in the process of switching jobs or trying to switch jobs whether that be internally or externally, and therefore going through the interview process. While going through the interview process, I hear a lot of “I’m not confident enough,” or “when I didn’t get the job, the feedback was that I wasn’t confident enough in my communication.” The good news here is that confidence can be built, and people are not born with confidence. That fact in itself is pretty surprising to people and once we start to believe that, we can get on the road to improving our confidence. Given how often I’ve been hearing the statement, “I want to improve my confidence,” I figured I’d share six things you can do to improve your confidence.
- Prepare for the event
Perhaps the most important thing you can do before an important conversation whether that be an interview, client meeting, or meeting with your boss is make sure you are prepared. Have you thought about the potential questions they could ask, have you done enough research on the position, do you know your client’s priorities based on what you can find online? These are all important question to make sure you know so you are prepared. If you have done your preparation, there’s no reason you shouldn’t feel ready for the big meeting.
2. Practice like the performance
A lot of the times, we aren’t used to having “important” conversations and when we finally get into that situation, we freeze or talk too fast. It’s important in your preparation to re-create what the meeting or interview will be like. Try getting time with a friend, colleague, or family member to put yourself in a situation where you can go through what this interview or meeting will look like. Get feedback from that person after the mock meeting and treat it exactly like you would the actual meeting. If you already go through this type of pressure via a mock interview or mock meeting, by the time you have the actual meeting, it will be way less intimidating.
3. Notice your self-talk
What we tell ourselves is so incredibly important and taking control of our self-talk is an underutilized skill. We have the ability to control what we tell ourselves and stopping those negative thoughts is crucial. It’s the norm to have one bad meeting/interview and therefore think that all the others will be just like that. However, we can change those thoughts and it starts by just recognizing what those thoughts are and being with them. Understanding that one bad meeting/interview doesn’t make all of them bad, and that the next one can be your best. Think of a mantra or saying that you can say to yourself before the meeting/interview that can help your self-talk.
4. Embrace or push away the pressure
Understand if you are a person that thrives on pressure or chooses not to think about pressure. For the select people that thrive on pressure situations, think of ways that you can make this situation big and important. For the majority of us that work better when we don’t hype situations up in our mind, find ways to mitigate the importance of the meeting. If it’s an important meeting with someone very high up in the organization, tell yourself things like “they put their pant leg on one leg at a time,” “this is just another meeting, there will be plenty more,” and “they’re just another person,” as opposed to our typical thought of “Oh my God, this person is so important I need to make sure I’m elevating my voice.”
5. Explore where your confidence comes from
Start to do some exploring whether that be with yourself or with another colleague/friend/coach as to where your confidence comes from. Is there something holding you back that you think was a huge deal, but really once you talk it out, you understand it’s not that a big deal and happens to everyone? It can be so rewarding and relieving to understand that everyone goes through events where they “fail,” and it’s human to have bad meetings/interviews. It’s worth it to talk it out and figure out where your lack of confidence is coming from and having that conversation can help relieve your stress from a specific event.
6. Focus on your body language
Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of Silent Messages, conducted several studies on nonverbal communication and found that 55% of any message is conveyed through nonverbal elements. It’s very common that our words are expressing confidence in a certain situation, but our body language is exuding no confidence. Make sure you are sitting up tall, projecting your voice, making solid eye contact, and doing your best to mirror the body language of the other person. It’s your job to connect with the other person and bringing strong body language can help with your confidence. It’s very often not what we say but how we say it that people will comprehend from us.