Ask any businessman or woman and they will tell you the same thing – confidence is a vital ingredient in the recipe for success. In other words, if you want to be really good at anything - no matter what walk of life you are involved in - you need to have belief in yourself and your abilities.
Not all of us are blessed with self-confidence. When I was starting out in business it was something that I personally had to work on to improve. I can still remember turning up for important meetings and interviews feeling incredibly nervous before walking into the room.
Of course, confidence improves with success and experience but there are various steps and measures you can take to make sure you are not put at a disadvantage by a lack of self-belief.
Preparation is everything. If you go into a meeting or interview not fully prepared then you are going to be on the back foot from the very outset. There is nothing worse than getting off to a bad start in an important meeting by not knowing that simple yet vital little detail.
To be honest, in these days of the internet and instant access to information there really is no excuse for being unprepared. It can make all the difference between a successful meeting and something which is a waste of time and effort. But more importantly, you will go into the meeting knowing that you personally have left no stone unturned. This is an excellent way of removing self-doubt.
Another good method is to think about positive outcomes you have achieved in the past. You may want to look back at case studies of clients you have worked with successfully, or sales that you have managed to close in the past. It does not even have to be business related – maybe you once gave a great speech in front of hundreds of people at a wedding! What you are doing is visualising past successes and this will put you in the right frame of mind for what is about to come.
Also, make sure you are resilient to criticism you get along the way. Rather than taking it as a negative, use it as a springboard for improvement. I have always said that it is the mistakes I've made which have given me the biggest lessons.
All of this has to come with a word of warning, because there can be a very thin line between confidence and arrogance. That is a characteristic that can very quickly get in the way of doing business.
It is a fact of life that we all prefer to work and deal with people we like and get on with. Just as importantly though, we also want to work with people that have total belief in what they are doing.