I recently had the wonderful opportunity to speak at TEDxEmory. The overall theme was What Makes Your Heart Beat? My topic was Owning Your Confidence: How to Overcome Nervousness and Exude Confidence in High-Stakes Situations. I discussed several practical techniques to help you excel in even the most stressful of situations. They are practices I’ve developed over many years of being on television and speaking professionally.
The first technique is learning to build a Positive Emotional Memory Database ™ and the second is the significance of mastering your listening skills and how doing so relates to building confidence. Technique #3 in how to Own your Confidence is the ability to come across as relaxed and self-assured rather than desperate and needy.
It’s the difference between “I appreciate your time and have something to offer you” and “I desperately need this opportunity and I need you to help me.”
This sense of desperation undermines our goal which is to communicate our competence in a calm, relaxed manner.
Alvin Toffler said it best. “The less you need something the more power you have”
The lesson here is, even if you want something desperately, you have to remind yourself that not getting it does not define you. You have to remind yourself that your entire life does not hinge on this one moment. While it may feel like it is the very end of your life if you are rejected, the truth is it never is.
It is this mindset that is critical to adopt before high stakes situations. The sense that it would be great if I got this opportunity is perfectly fine. However, the sense that my life will be ruined if I don’t is counterproductive.
So next time you are going for an important job interview, giving a presentation or simply having a conversation with someone you perceive to have more power than you, remind yourself that all of life does not hinge on this one moment.