I was shy as hell as a teenager. So why I was up on stage in front of hundreds of screaming (half drunk) adolescents?
I was attempting the oldest confidence hack in the book – Fake it until you make it.
I was a lanky, spotty 16 year old, being blinded by the stage lights that were beaming down in front of me.
I was grateful that they were so bright because they blocked the view of everyone stood cheering.
I was sat at the back of the stage, behind a drum kit I’d never played before about to start the first song my band had ever played live with a 2 bar drum fill.
That long day in school before the gig was spent sweating and avoiding anyone who might attending the show that evening. I didn’t want anyone to know that I didn’t feel ready, prepared or worthy of being on that stage.
These are the exact same feelings I had when I first started to run sales meetings. I’m not worthy of speaking with this CEO he’s a big shot. I’m no way near prepared enough to explain how I can add value to this ladies business.
I started the mini drum solo, it was out of time but it didn’t matter as the band jumped in at the right moment.
We played terribly but the audience didn’t care. They loved it!
From that day onwards I allowed myself to be known as a confident guy because I realised the hardest part about becoming more confident is gaining that initial momentum.
Once you’re up on the stage, rocking and rolling it’s easy to look at all the positives things that are happening and just go with the flow.
I did the same when I first got started in sales. I jumped straight in knowing that getting started is the most difficult bit and confidence comes naturally with momentum.
Here are 4 other hacks I’ve used to appear more confident whilst my real levels of confidence built up –
A) Don’t slouch
Being tall and slim (lanky) I slouched for years. Not even my Mums nagging to “put your shoulders back” helped.
This all changed when I watched a video of a sales presentation I gave to a bunch of C-Suit hot shots from the NHS.
I was slouching badly. It made me look disinterested. I didn’t look like I was confident in what I was saying.
I looked like I’d just rolled off my sofa after a morning of drinking Cola, eating Doritos and whooping ass on Street Fighter.
I looked positively lazy.
I hacked this near instantly by forcing myself to stand up straight every time I walk thought a door frame.
I realise this sounds stupid but it works.
If we ever hang out in person you’ll see me take a breath and push my shoulders back every time I walk though one – I now do it automatically without thinking.
Pulling your chin up works well here too.
Confident men don’t walk around staring at the floor.
I recorded another presentation a few weeks later and the difference was remarkable. My internal confidence levels hadn’t changed but everyone’s perceptions of me had.
Another powerful way to increase your perceived confidence is to…
B) Walk Slower
If God walked into a room (if he existed) do you think he would be squirming, beard waving all over the place, taking shallow, short, fast footsteps to scurry himself into position?
No, he’d walk with purpose, with all the time in the world. He did create it after all.
By slowing down, taking a deep breath and walking with ease as you enter a room you can create a genuine aura of confidence.
Important people don’t need to rush to places (but they’re always on time) as they’re in control.
Slowing down gives you an air of confidence in an instant.
C) Smile More
When I’m with my family I smile all the time. They’re not judging me. They love me.
My confidence when I’m around them is sky high because I know I can be myself as they’re not judging me.
This state is how you should appear at least on the outside when you are spending time with potential customers.
A big and constant smile goes a long way towards this.
D) Stand Still
Nervous people shift their weight around, pace up and down and are constantly crossing then uncrossing their feet.
Either that or they’re desperate for a wee.
Simply plant your feet shoulder width apart and resist the urge to shuffle when you’re speaking to people.
This will instantly remove any hint that you have a few nerves.
E) Stare at People
Salesmen who lack confidence struggle to hold eye contact. Men who suck at pulling women in bars also suffer from this affliction.
When was the last time that you stared someone in the eye and kept staring until THEY looked away? (NOTE: Not recommended to do this to other guys in bars in the UK unless you want them to hook up with you or kick your head in)
But breaking open a big smile about ½ second into the stare helps ease the situation, encourages the other person to smile back and look away.
Do this a few times though and you’ll quickly realise that 99% of people instantly look away. Most people are not naturally confident and the ones that appear to be are just faking it until they make it just like you.
Everyone is in their own heads most of the time.
I used to worry about what other people were thinking about me until I realised that either –
- Most people don’t care about you. They were never thinking about you. They probably don’t even know your name.
- Most people are too busy worrying about what you think of them to have enough time to have any real thoughts about you.
I found this to be super empowering.
By hacking your body language to look confident on the outside, understanding that no one even cares anyway and faking it until your confidence levels naturally pick up any salesman can appear more confident in an instant.