Appear More Confident…Even if You’re Not
A meeting with a potential customer—or employer. A presentation to that hospital maintenance manager. These situations can make even the toughest painter weak in the knees, and in every case it’s because they lack confidence. Exuding confidence can make you more approachable, likeable, authoritative, and viewed as a leader. But no one can be confident all the time. So for those tough times when you need to come across as confident, but don’t feel it, just follow these five tips.
1. Dress the part. The ideal outfit will accomplish two key objectives: it will make you feel confident, while demonstrating your professionalism. The trick is to understand your audience (the group you are meeting with), and the setting (the place and occasion). Painters whites are great in most cases, but you might want something more formal if you’re bidding on a multi-million dollar job with a multi-million dollar firm.
2. Stand straight. Proper posture will make you look poised and give the impression of authority. When seated, be relaxed and comfortable, but don’t slouch. If you’re seated at a table, leaning in with your arms resting on the top will make you appear interested. Leaning back will make you appear approachable and relaxed.
3. Stay cool. Meetings can sometimes get heated, with emotions taking over. Confident people acknowledge the situation, but will not allow their emotions to get the best of them. Stay calm and objective, and never get personal. If things get out of hand, find a good reason to take a break and think of a solution to the problem.
4. Balance listening and speaking. Confident people maintain eye contact when listening and speaking, but not to the point where things get creepy. When listening, give verbal and visual cues that you understand what is being said, such as nodding your head, smiling, or saying “I understand.” When speaking, look directly at the person you are addressing. If speaking to a group, try to make brief, random eye contact with each person. Not being able to look at those you are speaking to gives the impression of being insincere and dishonest.
5. Accept your greatness. Confidence comes from not seeing yourself as being better than others, but being equal. And while a group of potential customers or even a single picky homeowner can seem intimidating, remember that they experience the same challenges as you. They also get nervous, experience stress, have a fear of failure, and want to be liked. In many cases, their aggression or arrogance are not signs of confidence, but an over compensation for fear. If you can be the one to demonstrate that everyone is welcome, all ideas are valued, and no one will be judged, then you will emerge as the natural leader—and confident contractor—you were meant to be.
Marc Gordon is a recognized marketing expert, speaker and strategist. His articles appear in over 200 publications worldwide. Visit marcgordon.ca or his online show at marctv.net for more business tips.