Monday, June 27, 2011

Increasing Confidence for Your Next Presentation

Marketing gurus will tell you to analyze your toughest competitors in order to get ahead. Who is your toughest competitor? Could it be yourself when you doubt your ideas, refuse to get out of your comfort zone or back away from risks that could be rewarding? Could you be running around fixing everything but the central core of the problem? The biggest obstacle is usually ourselves.

Yesterday I went to a luncheon held by a local Irish group. We sang Happy Birthday to a spirited 90 year-old woman. Her poise and self-assurance was evident as she stood and asked to say a few words. Her voice was surprisingly strong and articulate and carried well to the over hundred attendees in the restaurant. “I got to this stage in life,” she began, “by following two truths my parents passed on to me. The first thing they told me was ‘Be loyal to the royal within you.’ We forget that all of us are very special. But that belief can carry you through many challenges.

The second rule was to ‘Subtract your wants from your needs.’ I was in the convent for 35 years but left because my two brothers came back from Viet Nam and needed to be taken care of. I’ve paid my way every step of my life because I know the difference between my wants and needs. I still do not need anyone to take care of me. You can also accomplish significant things if you follow my parent’s advice.”

Terrence Howard was studying chemical engineering at Pratt Institute when he was discovered on the street and began acting on television. Those roles led to film roles and he has become a well-respected actor by movie audiences and critics. Oprah interviewed him on her show after his Oscar nominated role in Crash. She asked him what made the difference in escalating his career. Howard replied, “I got out of my own way. This is my life,” he continued, “I’m going to pick up the crown and wear it.”

You can cultivate the same attitude. When you acknowledge your value, your voice and body language project that confidence. When you appreciate your experience and expertise, fears are minimized and you can make those risky but advantageous choices. Before your next interview or presentation, say to yourself, “I’m a King (or Queen) and I own this room!” Your presence is enough. Be loyal to the royal within you!