This is a guest contribution from Atiq Rehman
“Lacking confidence means you have no faith and no faith equals failure. I’ve no time for that.” Mama Zara
Confidence is infectious, we all know that and have felt it at times.
Freelancers need to keep up their confidence levels and keep going despite the inevitable knock backs that they will receive.
While some people are naturally more confident that others the good news is that confidence is something that you develop. You are not born with a set level of confidence. Even if you find confidence a struggle there’s nothing stopping you from developing yours.
Have just published a guide to confidence and assertiveness I wanted to share three quick tips to ensure that you always approach client meetings in your most confident state.
Tip 1: Posture Matters / Put Your Phone Away
Your body impacts your mind, just as your mind impacts your body.
Recent research has shown that by putting your body into confident positions (so called ‘power poses’) for just a few minutes you actually increase your testosterone levels, reduce your cortisol levels and as a consequence improve your confidence. Conversely putting your body into low power poses does the opposite and reduces your confidence.
Before a meeting avoid any low power positions. Make sure that you turn your phone off and don’t sit hunched over it looking at emails. That’s an incredibly low power position.
Stand up, stretch and take up some space. This will put you in best frame of mind possible for the upcoming meeting.
If standing is inappropriate then read a paper. Sitting with your arms outstretched is a power pose and you are taking up space and so will put your in the perfect frame of mind.
Tip 2: It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It
Over half of communication is non-verbal. Some researchers believe that as much as 90% of communication is non-verbal.
Of course what you say matters, but more important is how you say it. So be careful with your body language and also your voice.
Confident people move and speak relatively slowly. They don’t feel pressured and rush things.
Try to remember to consciously slow down both your breathing and your speaking in a meeting. It will make you appear calm and confident.
Don’t worry in the moment you’re unlikely to actually slow down so much that people think you are moving or speaking slowly. You will probably slow down just enough that you will appear less nervous.
Tip 3: Remember Your Victories
Waiting for a meeting to start can be the most destructive time for your confidence. Sitting anxiously waiting before a pitch or meeting your mind can play all sorts of unhelpful tricks.
Don’t allow your mind to do this to you. This is when you need to occupy your mind with memories from the past of times when you succeeded.
Your mind can only focus on one thing at a time and so this serves two purposes. It stops your mind from focusing on negative anxious thoughts and also ensures that it is focused on positive confident memories from the past. Recalling these memories will put you in a positive confident state.