Confidence is crucial to your success in all aspects of life, though in entrepreneurship it may be one of the most important tools to have in your success toolbox.
If you are an entrepreneur who lacks confidence, there is an high chance you might not far with your business. You have a great idea, a great product or you have knowledge to share with your investors, but if you do not possess confidence, your value is almost sure to go unseen and your potential unmet.
Investors are important to your business and having confidence in yourself and in your business is very important as well. This is an undisputed fact. But sometimes actually holding this confidence is easier said than done. So how can you project confidence, even when you’re not feeling particularly self-assured?
Dress well. People who dress well tend to be perceived as more competent and more confident by investors. It’s a sign that you take pride in your appearance and can signal authority. Understand the dress code for each situation you may encounter and try not to overdress. Also make sure your clothes fit well; it will make you feel more confident in addition to looking confident.
Stand tall. Posture and body language play a major role in your apparent confidence. Try to stand tall with your shoulders back and your hands at your sides, or maintain an erect, steady posture while sitting. Studies show that proper posture can also affect your internal dialogue, helping you feel better about yourself.
Remain calm. Nothing screams insecurity more than someone nervously fidgeting or panicking in the heat of the moment. Even if you’re not feeling particularly calm, you have to work to appear as calm as possible. Keep your hands steady or hide them from view if they’re shaking. Keep your voice slow, controlled and deliberate. Avoid gestures of nervousness or excitement like wiping the sweat from your forehead.
Watch your body language. Pay attention to your body language. Even small tweaks can significantly change how the investor will perceive your confidence level. For example, if you nervously tap your foot or jiggle your leg, it can make you seem anxious and unsure of yourself (even if you aren’t). If you consistently face your listeners and make eye contact, you’ll seem more self-assured.
Believe what you’re saying. It’s much easier to seem confident if you genuinely believe what you’re saying. Do your research before any talk or meeting and come prepared with a handful of facts in which you have total confidence. If you don’t know the answer to something, just admit that you don’t know instead of making something up on the fly.
Adopt a resolute tone. Your tone of voice can have a powerful impact on how your words are perceived. Whether fair or not, if your tone changes frequently, or if you practice certain habits like “uptalk,” it could make you seem less sure of yourself. Speak slowly, in an expressive yet sincere tone and try to be as assertive as possible without sounding arrogant.
Practice and polish what you can. The more you rehearse, the more naturally confident you’ll be in your own abilities. Just don’t practice so much that you sound robotic or insincere.
Surround yourself with others. Social proof can play into your perceived confidence as well. Depending on the situation, you may want to arrive with a team of people who are ready to support you and back your statements.
Get feedback. Finally, make sure you get feedback. Give pitches and speeches to people you love and trust and see if they perceive you as confident. If they don’t, ask them what could be different. You may find that a certain habit is compromising your perceived confidence.