Meeting with investors, merchandisers, life-long mentors, big-time collaborators, or a potential new client with gobs of money to spend—at some point or another, entrepreneurs will be forced to push their comfort zones and rise to the occasion of a very important meeting.
As anyone who’s ever faced down a very important meeting can attest, it’s all too easy for nerves to replace resolve and timidity to replace confidence as the big day draws closer—no matter how self-assured you may be in everyday life.
Here’s the antidote to all this anxiety: When you’re barreling toward an exceptional meeting, it’s time to break out some exceptional tactics for staying cool under pressure. Not sure where to start? Give any or all of these unusual—yet effective—confidence boosting strategies a try.
1. Update your Facebook profile.
A Cornell University study found that making a few tweaks and additions to your social media profiles can provide a confidence boost. Just be sure not to get bogged down in reading your timeline; we all know that comparing ourselves to others can have the opposite effect.
2. Pat yourself on the back.
What is one of the best ways to gear yourself up for future success? Reflect on your accomplishments from the past. Set a timer for five or 10 minutes, pull out a sheet of paper (or your phone’s notes app), and jot down some of your proudest achievements to date. Writing this list—and reviewing it again right before the big meeting—can offer a surge of confidence in your ability to accomplish impressive things moving forward.
3. Grab a ‘good luck’ charm.
Some psychological research suggests that designating a good luck charm—and bringing it with you to high-stakes events—can legitimately improve performance. So dust off that rabbit’s foot (or pull on your lucky pair of underwear) and trust that it’s got your back.
4. Smell good.
Research has found that women who wear perfume and men who wear cologne experience increased self-confidence as a result of knowing they smell good. This confidence boost is so powerful that other people notice (even if they’re not within smelling distance).
5. Strike a (power) pose.
In her 2012 TEDGlobal talk, social psychologist Amy Cuddy generated a ton of interest in the power of body language—specifically, power posing. It may feel weird, but there’s value in striking a few poses in your office (or the bathroom, in a pinch) before walking into a big meeting. Lifting your chest, holding your head up high, propping your hands on your hips, and generally positioning your body to look and feel bigger are bodily manifestations of power. These poses trigger the release of testosterone and suppress stress hormones, leading to surge of confidence.
6. Consider nootropics.
More and more entrepreneurs are turning to so-called “smart drugs”—a.k.a nootropics—for a confidence boost in the form of improved mental clarity, enhanced focus, reduced anxiety, and increased creativity. These enhancements can come from something as simple as your morning latte (caffeine is a much-beloved nootropic) to sophisticated nootropics stacks—i.e. combinations of brain-boosting supplements. Your best bet is to experiment with different nootropics prior to the big meeting so that you know which will offer you the boost you need.
7. Work out.
It doesn’t matter how long you work out or the type of activity you practice—the simple act of exercising can immediately lead to an increase in confidence. If you’re pressed for time, do a few jumping jacks or pushups in your office. (Just be sure to keep the deodorant handy—see point #4.) Or, if you’re up for it, head to the gym a few hours before a big meeting—the physical and mental boost you’ll feel post-exercise can last for up to 12 hours. Leading a healthy lifestyle is doable, even with a crazy schedule.
Write these strategies down and keep them handy—that way, whenever you need a jolt of confidence before a very important meeting, you need look no further than this list.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Kenny Kline is the owner of JAKK Solutions, a NYC-based SEO company. He is a digital marketing expert, MBA, and serial entrepreneurial. When not in front of his computer, he can be found beekeeping, knitting, and being as Brooklyn as humanly possible. Connect with @thisbekenny on Twitter.
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