Practice: Just as with any new skill, you must practice to build confidence over and over for it to become something you can do with ease. Try to find assignments you can take that will get you in front of more people and augment your experience. If someone you respect asks you to do an assignment or join a committee, say “yes” to it. Tell people what you want to work on next. Practice saying things before you ever need to—or feel ready to—say them in front of others. Put yourself forward for consideration whether it is a board appointment or your next job or to receive an award. Yet, don’t expect to be confident in the beginning. Remember that all skills build in small cascades. You are deepening your abilities with your practice. Others will see your growing confidence too.
Preparation: Preparation is essential to having confidence in yourself, especially when you are dealing with power players. Don’t wing it when you have a big meeting. Take the time to thoughtfully prepare well ahead of time. That will let you practice and adjust. When you do that, you will know your material cold and be able to respond effectively to questions and challenges.
Take calculated risks and do things you don’t expect will give you a big win. Just keep trying as each attempt is building your skill and preparing you for the next opportunity. Leverage everything you have in your arsenal to build your confidence and give you a boost to try something bold.
Presentation: To ever be noticed, you need to step out in front and allow people to see you. You need to identify, enhance and believe in your own leadership abilities. If you don’t, why should anyone else? Don’t assume that people will recognize and reward your talents.
Your posture and facial expressions play an important role in becoming more confident. You need to look, act and speak with confidence and clarity. People who project confident body language are listened to more carefully.
Your confidence will fluctuate. Sometimes you will feel like you can conquer anything and other times you will feel like you should have just stayed in bed. When this happens, there is something going on deep within you. That is the time to step back and reflect, to reach out to confide in a trusted confidant, or just allow yourself to embrace the stillness of a momentary plateau.