Another Zoom meeting at work and the nerves and adrenaline are kicking in, maybe you’ve got external clients and the anticipation starts to creep in. Maybe it is an interview that you’ve really wanted for ages!

Someone might call you out. Someone might think you just don’t know your shit. Right?

Do other people’s visible confidence make you feel a little intimidated? Are your thoughts the thing that hold you back more than anything else?

Like so many professionals – possibly more than you realize— it’s not particularly comfortable. Situational factors can play a part too. Some colleagues may dominate the conversation, making it difficult to get a word in edgeways.

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to talk up without worrying what people might think or have to say without thinking nobody needs to hear my opinion, I’m sure someone else will say it if it’s really important?

Well here are some well researched methods to implement to enhance your self-belief and help you step into your stretch zone. These steps can be implemented so you can see the tangible differences you can make.

Oh and a quick disclaimer: Confidence takes hard work and awareness…

  1. Stop assuming everyone else knows their shit – Firstly, they probably don’t. Focus on what you want to say and what you’re doing.  

  2. Speak with confidence – whether you feel it or not, act as if you are. This will help you believe in your own question or comment.

  3. Identify occasions You feel comfortable speaking – We often find we are more confident in certain situations. Leverage this. See what you’re doing differently in those situations. Think about how you can apply some of the things happening in that situation to others.

  4. Prepare & practice what you want to say – even write it down and have it stuck on your computer screens. This is perfect for the world of Zoom we are all in. Have some bullet points you want to cover and stick them up. This will also help you be clear and concise in what you’re saying.

  5. Remember why you are important – you’re in the meeting for a reason, you have a voice. An important voice. Your story and experience is unique to you. The person next to you doesn’t have the same knowledge. Just because something is obvious to you, don’t assume it is for everyone else.    

  6. Let go of the outcome – focus only on the sharing. Speak up and express and don’t focus on the response from others.

  7. Do it early – the longer you wait, the longer you have time to talk yourself out of it. Then the doubts can creep in. Also, how great will you feel when you’ve said it.

  8. Push yourself out of your comfort zone – I challenge you to set yourself a goal. Write this down and stick it somewhere you can see it on your laptop screen. This could be – ‘2 questions in x meeting’.  

  9. Body Language – sit up straight, a quick exercise to try now: Sit up, pull your shoulders back, elevate your chest slightly, smile, take 3 deep breaths… Now see the difference in how you feel. To see more on the impact on shifting our body language watch Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on body language. If it is a physical meeting, research has shown that hands on the table make you look more trustworthy.

  10. Reframe your nerves – Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal suggests reframing your physiological stress response to a sign that you’re excited and ready for action prepared to bring your best to the table.

Be sure to record your goals to measure your progress! Note down if you’ve put yourself into your stretch zone by talking twice in the first week. Then in week 2, when you’re doing it four times you can see the difference. In a few months, you won’t even class it as the stretch zone as it will be totally within your comfort zone.