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Confidence - Find your comfort cushion

Confidence can be described as one's belief in one's ability to succeed. How confident are you? Do you go out there feeling you can conquer the world at any given moment or are you much more likely to feel a little unsure and holding back?

In another lifetime I worked at the BBC. It was a great place to work and was at the latter end of the ’90s into the naughties when there was still quite a carefree attitude to budget spending. As a result, the BBC was pretty hot for training. They were an Investors in People award holder so the calibre of training was second to none.

I was lucky enough to go on quite a few training courses while there. My most memorable (for the right reasons) was one with a trained RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts) actor.

I attended with several of my colleagues and it was a hoot to spend a day out of the office.

However all these years later, I still remember the fundamentals of that workshop over all others and I’d like to share them with you today.

The training was primarily regarding presenting, so was to arm us with hints and tips to prepare ourselves to present as well as the actual art of presenting. But it was also about confidence. Having the confidence to go into a meeting or group presentation believing in what we were discussing. And it’s these preparation techniques I still use today.

In any sales conversation, it is important to prepare ahead of the meeting but also, just as you are going into the meeting have a think about a number of things.

What brought you here today? It wasn’t just because you called and got a meeting in. What happened before that? Way before that…

This is where my ‘comfort cushion’ comes into its own. First devised in the aforementioned RADA workshop. What, do I hear you ask, is a comfort cushion?

Well, the actor guy bestowed upon us the great wisdom that every prior experience we’ve ever had has brought us right to this very moment. Simple eh?!

So in the situation that may have us doubting ourselves, imagine a virtual CV standing behind us, propping us up and driving us forward. Every previous ‘job’ or work experience will have had positive effects on us. Even experiences that were ‘wrong’ will have taught us something that drove us on.

So as soon as you feel a tingling of nerves, of the ‘I’m not good enough’ voice whispering in your ear, just take a moment and ‘lean back’ onto that virtual CV, that virtual ‘comfort cushion’ and relax.

Relax in the knowledge that you have something to give to this meeting or presentation, that you possess some value for your audience.