Have you been dreading going back to live in-person events and feeling that you are not confident?
We were in isolation for such a long time, and now that things are going back to normal - or we’re going into a NEW normal, in-person events are also going back.
You might be in one of these two places: either not feeling confident to go back to attending in-person events or you were never confident going to in-person events. (Maybe the same thing happens to you when you’re online and attending virtual events.)
Let me share with you three different techniques that I use when I need to feel confident at events when I’m not already feeling it:
Technique #1: Stand Tall
This may seem simple, and you may think you know this one. But how many times at an event, do you have…
Now, these are all things NOT to do because they're giving that unconscious command to others that you're protecting yourself, you're vulnerable, or you're timid.
You may be feeling that way. That's totally fine! But you want to be able to appear confident because I'm guessing these in-person events that you're going to are for networking, to collaborate or connect, or it's just your group of friends that you're around.
So how do you do it? Well, you throw your back straight. You put your shoulders up and roll them back. That's going to put you in a great posture. If you're super tall, that's fine that you're tall. Wear high shoes if you want. You need to own your height if you're tall. If you're not tall, this can help you to stand more confidently.
Your height doesn't make you confident. It's more about how you hold yourself. When you have your hands at your side, rather than your back, you're also showing a more confident, powerful pose, but still approachable when your body is opened up.
Special Trick 1: When you are feeling a little bit like you're slipping back into your old way of feeling more timid, jump into the bathroom to reset. I recently went to a coaching community event. I wasn’t feeling so confident before going into the event because I didn't know anybody. But I stood up straight, shoulders up, rolled them back and told myself, “I'm going to walk in there like I own the place”.
Later on, I was feeling a little bit awkward and I felt hesitant walking up to people in conversations. So I jumped into the bathroom, I kind of gave myself a moment. Then before I stepped out again, I reset my posture again. At any point, you can reset your posture when you stand up, when you move to a new group of people and even in the same moment and situation.
Special Trick 2: Do not stand behind a chair when you’re introducing yourself. A lot of people do this, they go right behind the chair and hold the chair as they speak. If anything, just push your chair back and then take up space or step further away from your chair so that everyone can see you. Ideally in a space so people don't have their backs to you.
Taking up space shows confidence. Standing tall shows confidence. Putting your hands at your side shows confidence. All of these things are your physical appearance in how you're holding yourself.
Technique #2: Think about how you can show up in your best self by having your outfit put together.
Whatever that means to you, but the way I see it is:
These can be seen as basic ideas, but are you actually putting intentional thought into your outfit? Is there a way you can take it one step further by putting on some matching accessories?
Special Trick: Wear a bright color or a bold pattern jacket. If you're not a color person, then wear a bold pattern or print. You can wear a black and white polka dot dress. What this does is helps you stand out from everyone else. (That is if you want to stand out.)
It also makes you memorable because they'll be like, “Oh, that's the person in the polka dot dress or in the yellow jacket.” It's something that people can open up with. When I went to that coaching event, I wore a bright yellow jacket. It forced me to step into my confidence. AND so many times people said, “I love your bright yellow jacket” or “The yellow looks really good on you.” I do the same with pink and blue and bold patterns.
It's that opening line for people to say, “I love the color.” Then we start talking. Or they came up to me and said, “I've been noticing your nice bright jacket.” Since you seem like you're someone who stands out and doesn't blend in, they are drawn to come and talk to you because you exude confidence by just being able to wear that bold pattern, bold print or that bright color.
That's exactly what happened when I was at that event. Sooooo many people came to talk to me because of my jacket, it gave them an opening line. I knew because they told me, “Wow, you're jacket is so dynamic” or “You're so bright and friendly like the yellow of your jacket.” It was funny how there was such a play on what I was wearing.
The key thing is, you don't want to just be your outfit. You don't want to have your outfit get more attention than you and what you're saying. Your words matter more. Who you are matters more. But if it's a way of opening things up and having you be confident, isn’t that a good thing?
Technique #3: Choosing positive or upbeat topics to talk about.
At the same event I failed miserably on this one. I totally dropped the ball. The reason being, I hit so much traffic on the way over to the event and it stressed me out. The event was actually on a boat, so I was worried I was going to miss them sailing off. I then couldn't find the parking lot they suggested because the parking lot changed names. I then had to download the parking app on my phone as I was running to the boat. It was raining. Oh my goodness, so many things!
Plus I was nervous. I hadn't been to this type of event before. Or at least in many years. I didn't know anyone. So when I showed up, one of the first things I said to the people at the reception desk was, “I couldn't figure out parking. I'm trying to figure out this app.” Blah blah blah!
Then when I started chatting with someone I knew and a new connection, the first things out of my mouth were complaints about the traffic, the rain and all the things that happened.
Now, what does that say about me? It's setting me up for failure in the very beginning of the conversation:
This is not how I want to start a conversation. I failed in that regard. I'd planned on leaving so much earlier so that I could show up in a positive calm way.
What I should have done right before arriving is given myself a head check and helped myself calm down and get over the frustration I was feeling. People often remember the first and last thing you shared, so your first words are important.
Special Trick: Know what you're going to say by preparing in advance. Here are some things that you can say.
1. You know that they're going to ask you, “What do you do?” Even if you're at a social event, people ask you that. Know how you're going to answer and have a prepared answer. Think about that as you're driving or going to the event every single time because you have a different audience, different people, or different intentions at that time.
2. You can think about achievements you’ve recently had. Things like:
When people ask you, “How are you doing?” “What's going on with you?” or “What's new?” You can say, “I'm great. I actually was just chatting with someone about this really great opportunity.” This way you can plant seeds into the conversation for things that you're working on and passionate about - rather than complaining about traffic, the rain or missing an opportunity by just saying, “I’m good.”
3. You can also think about a good book that you're reading, or if you're not reading a book currently, open up a book and read a couple of pages, so that you can say, “I've just started reading XYZ book.”
4. Another option is to go online and watch a very interesting TEDTalk or podcast. Not just YouTube, Facebook video, or a cat video, but pick something that is in alignment with your interests or something you want to talk about. Then you can share some of the tidbits that the speaker talked about in order to engage the other person in conversation.
5. Another opportunity is to share a favorite quote. Now that might be a little bit more awkward. But when you're talking about something and say, “Oh, that reminds me of one my favorite quotes, which is Jim Rohn’s quote, “You're the sum of the five people you spend the most time with”.
I like to throw these different quotes out with different meanings from different authors or experts in order to connect with what people are saying, and to give them a nugget of information.
Which technique are you going to use? Hopefully, all three.
Are you going to…
If you do any of them, let me know by leaving a comment. I’d love to hear which one you’ve done or will do and if you got good results. If you have other ideas, share them as well.
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