Speaking with Calm and Confidence

Oct 31, 2021

Many of my product management clients, as they level up into leadership positions, need to learn how to be able to speak with confidence.  Especially when it comes to presenting to the C-Suite.  

If you are like many product managers, who will ruminate and panic during executive presentations, take a look at a few quick tips to help you own your brilliance.

Deal with nervousness by shifting focus away from yourself. Often, our nerves get the best of us because we’re so focused on not screwing up. Focusing on your audience instead can take you out of that headspace. Think about what your audience needs and how you can be of value to them. 

Visualize your desired outcome to prime your mind for success. If you go in thinking about how things can go wrong, then you’re more likely to screw up. Instead, focus on how you want things to go. Think about the reaction you want your audience to have. That will help put into a more calm and confident state.

Stop aiming for perfection, and know when things are good enough. Aiming for perfection is a surefire way to stress yourself out. When you learn to let go of perfectionism, you have more room to be approachable and endearing.

Learn to listen to your inner coach. Contrary to popular belief, your inner critic isn’t some monster out to get you. Instead, it’s often some scared little voice trying to protect you—sometimes in the wrong ways. The good news is that you can learn to tune out your inner critic and listen to your inner coach instead. Remember a friend, mentor, or role model who’s helped you in the past. How did they talk to you? Similarly, how have you helped friends through their troubles? Accessing those words of advice can help your inner coach come to life.

Recognize that confidence comes from inside, not out. To help lay that groundwork, establish a confidence-boosting routine. It could be getting your physical appearance ready, so you don’t need to worry about that. Or meditating in the morning and reflecting on your why. Or even doing your homework, so you’re well-prepared. Find what works for you!

Internalize—not memorize—your content. Memorizing a script helps, but internalizing content makes you look more natural. Know your topic inside and out. When you know it like the back of your hand, you don’t need to worry about what comes next. And you don’t need to worry about questions catching you off guard.

Follow the rule of threes when preparing your content. First, identify your three main points. Then, under each of those three things, prepare three supporting points each for a total of nine. Following that structure should help you fill out your presentation.

Maintain eye contact for no more than five seconds and no less than two. Holding eye contact for more than five seconds can make things uncomfortable for your audience. But holding it for less than two seconds can make you seem scared and nervous. 

Don’t panic if your audience looks bored. When people have a straight or unpleasant expression, we tend to assume that they aren’t interested. But in truth, those are just assumptions we make. It could be that the person is in deep thought because of what you said!

The key to becoming an amazing product leader is handling these c-suite presentations with both confidence and calm.  

To accelerate your path to product leader, take a look at my free webinar at https://watch.lynnelevy.com/s/2mkBZv

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