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Somewhere along our life journeys, we pick up the notion that projecting confidence is a necessity. Maybe not genuinely being confident, but at least giving off the appearance of confidence or, as the saying goes, “faking it until you make it.”

Sound familiar?

At some point, we’ve all desired confidence, even if only temporarily, and most of us think we have a good handle on what it means.

Take a moment now to consider your definition of confidence. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

[Cue the Jeopardy tune]

Did your definition align with a list of attributes commonly associated with confidence? Chances are, about 30-40 percent of you did.

Perhaps you went a step further, waxing almost poetic about the strengths and virtues that accompany confidence. If so, you’re in the 50 percent bracket.

And for those who found defining confidence a perplexing task, you’re not necessarily wrong.

Confidence comes in two forms: the confidence we attribute to others and the confidence we cultivate within ourselves. Both involve trust, whether in others or in ourselves. When it comes to personal confidence, it boils down to this:

Confidence is being certain about what is true at this moment.

To be confident, we must understand all the truths in the room right now.

  • We need to know our audience—who is listening and something about their reasons for being there.
  • Understanding the desired outcomes of this interaction is crucial. Since mind-reading is a bit beyond our capabilities, you cannot know what each person in your audience needs.
  • Acknowledge your physiological and mental state, and be aware of how prepared you are with your content, slides, and overall presentation.
  • Commit to being fully present in this moment, avoiding the trap of trying to decipher what people might be thinking about what you just said. It’s an impossible feat and certainly not conducive to your confidence.

This is just a snapshot of the principles that can help you be genuinely confident rather than merely performing or faking it. 

Even acknowledging a negative, such as admitting exhaustion, can contribute to your confidence, as no part of you should be hidden from yourself in the room. I mean every single thing that is true.

Why not try creating a physical list of truths before your next presentation or important discussion? I’m confident it will enhance both your presence and your confidence in the room.

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