Projecting business confidence

We explore the ways in which projecting confidence can improve business and advise on how to appear more self-assured

Many – if not all – of us have struggled with appearing confident at some point in our lives. There are a myriad of factors which can affect one’s ability to come across as self-assured, but adding to that mix the capacity to seem confident in business is another animal altogether. If you’ve ever attended an industry event and suddenly felt unsure as to whether you belong there – a phenomenon commonly known as ‘imposter syndrome’ – you are most certainly not alone.

Whether we like it or not, nearly every element of our working lives requires some level of confidence; even just picking up the phone to speak to a stranger can spark anxiety or discomfort. But remember, confidence is not a feeling – it’s an appearance. You don’t have to feel the way you project yourself, but feeling does tend to follow.

Whether you’re starting from scratch with a ‘fake it till you make it’ mentality, or just want to feel inspired to come across in a more appealing light, we’ve outlined a few ways in which dealers, in particular, can seem more business-confident to customers, partners and peers alike.

Identify triggers and prepare to overcome them

What hinders your confidence? Is it lack of faith in yourself, or in your business? Is it simply being around lots of people, or fear of them misunderstanding you? The key thing to remember here is that confidence is not the same as self-esteem; you can pretend to be confident even if you don’t necessarily feel it. Walking into a triggering situation without the shield of confidence can easily lead to a cycle of negative thoughts in which you are absorbed by concern about whether the person or people you’re meeting or speaking to are thinking badly of you. Instead, think to yourself, ‘What is the best outcome of the situation I’m currently in?’ Then focus on that; this is one simple way to create an aura of confidence, whether you feel sure of yourself or not.

Accept mistakes, or you can’t move on from them, and don’t fear rejection

When concern about making mistakes is actively losing your company money, or at risk thereof, it’s definitely time to think hard about priorities. The important thing is not whether you make mistakes, but how you handle them if you do. Fear of rejection is something holding many of us back in various aspects of life but, in business, it can make or break a working relationship or an important deal. Ask yourself, ‘What’s the worst thing that can happen if I am rejected?’ Usually, it won’t be anything catastrophic and, having confronted and considered the worst, you’ll find that your fear of rejection is lessened.

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Educate yourself. What are the benefits for the customer – or your business – if you act more confident?

One way to, not only appear confident, but also feel self-assured is by educating yourself. Particularly when talking to a customer – and even more so, a potential customer – you want to be entirely sure that you fully understand their business as well as your own. Do as much research as you can and don’t be afraid to ask questions; the same goes for attending events. It goes without saying that any peer is far more likely to think highly of a person who can hold up their end of a conversation.

Ask for advice

It doesn’t matter what position you hold within a company – there’s no age limit or hierarchical cut-off point for asking questions. Bettering yourself is a lifelong challenge and we all absorb advice from those around us, often without realising it’s happened. Proactively improving your own knowledge and your ability to appear confident is a clear step towards achieving business confidence.

Be positive

It’s more easily said than done, of course, but even if you don’t feel positive it’s important to come across as such. This also trickles down through the network of staff; a positive leader is always more likely to inspire positivity in others.

Look the part

Aesthetic choices are unavoidably important, so clothing choices and posture – even when you are working without any kind of audience – puts one in the correct head space to conduct business with more energy and a stronger sense of the job role. This can also extend to the aesthetic of your surrounding area when working – for example your desk space – something which can have a surprising impact on emotional well-being.

Focus on the future

How can projecting better business confidence positively affect your business in the long-term? It’s unlikely that it will ever have a detrimental effect; in fact, it is almost guaranteed to inspire greater loyalty in staff and customers and help you to become a more inspirational and aspirational figure within the industry.