I used to be a worrier.

Not quite at the Master's level, but certainly qualified for Advanced Degree status.

If there was an important event in the near future, I would begin worrying about my ability to succeed from the moment it was written on the calendar.

Within days I would be obsessed with worry:

  • will I embarrass myself by telling a joke wrong?
  • will I offend someone by not hearing what they said?
  • will I forget my lines and skip important details?
  • what if I'm late?
  • what if I mess up?

And then the event would happen.  I would be so nervous and anxious about it that many times I would be sick in the bathroom.

And pretty much everything I worried about would happen.

Because I spent the time worrying instead of preparing.

Until a friend pointed out that my lack of confidence was causing my anxiety.

And that I could gain confidence by directing the energy put into worrying toward preparing for an event.

And that's when I began to learn how to prepare.

Preparation Builds Confidence

Preparation includes practice. Yes, your piano teacher was right: practice does make perfect.

On my calendar, today, are two events where I am billed as an expert speaker. I know the subjects well, but honestly, if I don't practice and review I will be a hot mess a week or so before each event. I will dive back into the worry and obsession of messing up.

So, I prepare by practicing.

CrashCourse

One event is about three weeks away. I am presenting a workshop to a group of professionals. It's a workshop I've been giving since 2009 and I know it well. But that doesn't mean I don't prepare.

  • I've reviewed the material
  • I made a few changes to keep it current
  • I've read it out loud
  • I've walked through it in my office as if I were presenting to the audience
  • I have a date with a friend to walk through it at their office a week before the event

My anxiety about the event has been reduced to a miniscule amount. My insecurity is gone because I know the material. Just before I go on stage I will follow my routine of prayer, deep breathing and visualization of success.

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The second event is about six weeks away. It's a big event with other speakers and presenters, an all day affair for business owners. Just yesterday I was told the topic I am to present. It's time to get to work creating the presentation then practicing.

  • I will do a bit of research, including a coffee interview.
  • I will zero in on the One Thing the audience should learn.
  • I will write about the One Thing, as much as I know about it from experience and from research.
  • I will condense the One Thing into a story that will illustrate it for the audience.
  • I will create a final presentation that brings in the One Thing as a story, an outline for action and what the audience can expect in terms of results.

Another way I prepare myself is through continuous training. An example of that is below – the Top Producer Formula. It's a series of video and audio that helps to set my mind to be the best I can be. It doesn't have a thing to do with “how to give a great presentation”, but what I learn and hear is how to be the best I can be … at anything I do.

A bit of nervousness is normal for me now. It's manageable.

Now it doesn't matter if I'm attending a face-to-face networking event, a gala dinner, speaking at a national conference, or training a group of professionals – as long as I prepare myself I have won half the battle.

What about you?

Have you conquered the worry?

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0 thoughts on “Preparation Builds Confidence

  1. So true, Charlene! Being prepared definitely helps with confidence! It starts all the way back when we’re in school and we have a big test coming up. We feel a LOT more confident walking in when we’ve prepared in advance. And that’s so true for many things later in life, especially business! Thanks for this reminder! Great stuff!

    1. Thanks Steve! I appreciate you commenting and agree that it all began with school and that big test. If we can remember that the more prepared we were the better we did on the test … we can be confident that we will do well on the next event/issue/project.

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