3 Tips to Appear Confident, Even When You’re Intimidated

  • Copy by: Kat Boogaard

A huge presentation to a room filled with impressive and accomplished professionals; a big meeting with your boss; a pitch to get funding for your new business; a networking event filled with people you’ve been dying to meet. What do these situations all have in common?

Well, they’re all instances when you want to be your most confident. But, there’s only one problem: You’re shaky-kneed, sweaty-palmed, and ridiculously intimidated. You’re wondering how you’ll ever hold your own when the room seems so incredibly daunting.

Of course, you want to present yourself as cool, calm, and collected. But maintaining your poise and confidence isn’t necessarily easy when your mouth is dry and your heart is beating out of your chest.

First things first, take a deep breath. You can definitely appear self-assured, even when you feel completely intimidated. How? Use these three quick tips, and no one will ever know about your jitters.

1. Give yourself a pep talk.

We all know it’s far too easy to get in your head when you’re obsessing over a nerve-wracking situation. Instead of pumping yourself up, you end up nitpicking all of the (unlikely) things that could possibly go wrong.

No matter how intimidating these people may seem—everybody is human.

This is when it’s time to take a step back and give yourself a pep talk. Remind yourself that—no matter how intimidating people may seem—everybody is human. They still aren’t flawless, and it doesn’t matter how many impressive things they’ve accomplished. So, don’t put pressure on yourself to be flawless either. It’s simply unnecessary.

Giving yourself a quick confidence boost is another great idea before entering a daunting situation. Whether you want to read through a few of your LinkedIn recommendations or call a friend or your mom, doing something that kicks your courage up a few notches will allow you to feel that much more self-assured.

2. Ask questions.

While this tip won’t work as well for all intimidating situations, it can be a definite lifesaver in scenarios that are more conversation based.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be tough to carry your side of a thoughtful conversation—simply because thoughts are swirling and your stomach is flipping over and over. So, asking questions of your conversational partner is a great way to show that you’re interested and engaged without having to craft your own eloquent prose.

Again, it’s not as applicable in situations like job interviews or presentations. But, when it comes to meetings and networking events, it’s an effective method to establish rapport and ease your nerves!

3. Remember your body language.

You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: Your nonverbal cues can often say more than the words coming out of your mouth. You can have the most polished and well-rehearsed spiel, but if you say it all while biting your lip, rocking back and forth on your heels, and staring at the ground your body will convey otherwise. It won’t send a confident message.

So, regardless of how nervous you’re feeling, do your best to maintain eye contact, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and make hand gestures away from your body—rather than small movements toward yourself. And, if the situation warrants it, remember to smile! It not only serves to make you look more self-assured, but also more approachable.

Smile! It not only serves to make you look more self-assured, but also more approachable.

We all have to deal with situations when we feel incredibly intimidated. However, even if your nerves are frazzled, it doesn’t mean you want everybody to know. In fact, you’d much rather tuck those feelings aside and present yourself as poised and confident.

While it might seem impossible, it’s definitely doable. Use these three tips and you’re well on your way!

How do you hold your own when you’re feeling intimidated?

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