If you’re a young professional, the workplace can seem huge and intimidating if you have to go in for an interview or give a big presentation. No matter how much you practice or prepare, it’s always a little scary to get up in front of people to talk with confidence about either yourself or your presentation. If you need to get your confidence up for a big moment, here’s some ideas.
Practice in front of the Mirror: One of the main reasons people get nervous is because they’re not confident about exactly how they’ll look or sound once the presentation actually starts. Will you stutter? Will you suddenly forget everything in the middle of the presentation? What happens if someone coughs in the middle and throws off your rhythm? Nothing helps defeat confidence quite like over preparation. Stand in front of the mirror and run through the most important lines of the presentation or interview right beforehand, or record your voice into your phone like you’re having a conversation. If you know exactly how you’ll look and feel when you’re speaking, you’ll realize there’s nothing to worry about at all.
Walk the walk: Believe it or not, you can trick your brain into confidence by how you stand, walk, and sit. Culturally, we’re programmed to equate space and pace with power — that is, if you make your body small, you’ll feel more timid, but if you make your body bigger and and more regal, you’ll have better command of the space and attention around you. If you need a fast-acting confidence boost, practice walking and standing like a queen. Hold your head high, put your shoulders back, and walk at a slower and more thoughtful pace than you usually would. You’ll feel both calm in mere minutes.
Keep a Rainy Day Folder: This will take a little forethought, but it could pay off tremendously. On your phone or desktop computer, keep a folder filled with things that make you feel good about yourself. This could include images of puppies, quotes about believing in yourself, nice emails from happy clients, commendations from your boss, or past work you’re especially proud of. Whenever you need a quick pick-me-up before a big presentation or interview, scroll through these things to lift your mood and remind yourself that you can do whatever you put your mind to.
Make a Playlist: If a power playlist can work for the Georgia Bulldogs, it can work for you! During your commute and the lead up to the interview or presentation, relax and destress by playing music that gets you excited and puts you in a confident mindset.
Drink Water: Coffee often makes you even more jittery and anxious than you probably already are, so skip the caffeine if you’re trying to calm your nerves. Instead, drink cool water to bring your heart rate down and force you to focus on something that isn’t your presentation if only for a few minutes. A cool drink will also keep your mouth from getting parched as you speak.