One business meeting can change the course of your career. That’s the reality. And Whether it’s your first job interview or a road you’ve been down before, the stress of it can either cripple you or excite you, setting you up for future success.
Most are hoping for the latter – excitement about a new opportunity. Every time you talk to someone on a professional level – whether you’re applying for a job, presenting an idea, closing a deal, or selling a product – you are managing an opportunity. Sure, it can be stressful. At the same time, it’s an opportunity for growth, expansion, and branching out. The best thing you can do is seize each of these opportunities responsibly – and with confidence.
Remember that your self-confidence, bearing and self-esteem can directly affect the outcome of your business meetings. Here are five simple ways to boost your confidence ahead of your next big meeting.
Come prepared. Mind your business well. When you know the crucial details of your concept or product, that’s half the battle. Focus on the big picture first, and then go to the important details next. Get the facts right. Make sure your statistics are meaningful and relevant. Know the main points of your game, so you can remind yourself, repeatedly if you must, that you got this.
Know your audience. Understand the connection between your idea and your listener. Find the best element that will make your pitch irresistible. Do your homework to truly engage your client or prospective buyer. Minimize surprises in the meeting. Knowledge is power only when you know things that matter. Feel this power in your mind. And let it drown your anxieties.
Wear your classics. Go with wardrobe staples that make you feel positive and confident – doing so will give you one less thing to think about! For women, stick to professional outfits that make you feel good. If you accessorize, do so sparingly with classics like pearl earrings, simple gold or silver bracelets or subtle diamonds. The point is, be careful not to overdo it. You’re looking for elegant and professional; stay away from jewelry that’s too flashy or distracting.
For men, a well-polished pair of shoes and a classic wrist watch go a long way. Remember, your choices in clothing and accessories could say a lot about your attention to details. Look sharp; show your best self.
Let your body breathe. An important meeting can be nerve-racking, but you must look and feel put-together. Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist at Harvard Business School, advises confidence seekers to strike a strong pose two minutes before going into an important meeting. Go for a stance that takes up a broad space. The idea is to go for a pose that makes you feel strong.
Smile. Be your own cheerleader. Acknowledge that you have done everything possible to prepare for this meeting. Be your own best friend. Talk your fears away. A smile on your face before the meeting signals that you are 100 percent ready.
Even if going to business meetings is part of your everyday schedule, remember these simple tips to keep you ready for the big opportunities. Make sure you are not taking anything for granted. Most important, believe in yourself.