I have a power point slide in many of my keynote presentations that states Confidence = Competence. When this slide appears, it’s always an “ah-hah” moment for many people in the audience. Isn’t it true though? When you present yourself with confidence, people assume you are competent.

Think about your own purchasing decisions. Would you be willing to purchase a product or service from someone who lacks confidence; who stumbles through their sales presentation and seems unprepared and anxious? You would no doubt hesitate unless you felt sorry for them. (Not a good reason to buy, by the way.) You hesitate in this case because you believe that when a person lacks confidence in their presentation, they may lack competence. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to understand this when selling your own products and services.

Now, I’m not saying it’s necessarily true. It’s just our perception. But the perception is important because that is what people base their decisions on.

Maybe you’re not an entrepreneur, but a woman with ambition to get ahead in her organization. You are talented and gifted and produce great results, but when it comes to presenting those results, speaking up in meetings, you fumble and stammer. Do you come across as a potential leader? Probably not!

I’m not a proponent of faking confidence. I’ve read some articles that say “fake it until you make it.” I’m against this tactic because authenticity is so important in our presentation. It is, in fact, this connection with our authentic selves and the value that we offer that is the foundation of the confidence we need in order to present ourselves as competent. This authenticity inspires trust and it’s vital for our success in business.

I do a lot of speaking now about the topic of understanding your value because I believe until we understand and connect with our unique gifts and value proposition, we will continue to lack the confidence to present ourselves as competent.

Do you understand your unique value or the value that your products and services offer?

Starting January 10th, I am be offering a four week group coaching program that will take you on a journey of self-discovery to understand your value and better position yourself to grow your business or advance your career. This four week program will be done via phone and participants will receive four hours of coaching, valuable worksheets and exercises as well as feedback from a group of like-minded professionals. Each participant will also receive mp3 recordings of every class.

Check out my website, for more information! And be one of 10 lucky women to take this journey. The group will be limited to 10 so please register now.

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  • I disagree. As you mentioned, there are plenty in the “fake it till you make it” camp. There are also some unassuming and very honest folks who because of their great knowledge and competence realize fully how much more there is to master, and honestly communicate the unknowns in situations. However, the real risk in equating confidence with competence lies in making ourselves vulnerable to the sociopathic.

    A full 10% of our population is sociopathic, i.e. unable to empathize or see other’s perspective. Unfortunately, given their gamesmanship approach and lack of conscience, they are much more highly represented in our leadership positions. They are able to ooze confidence, but as evidenced by recent scandals, that is no indication of competence or ethics. See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/07/one-per-cent-wealth-destroyers

    Rather than trusting these paternal projecting confidence man & women, we need to become more discerning of authenticity, of ethics and of talent.

    • Karen, presenting yourself with confidence doesn’t mean you can’t acknowledge that you don’t know everything. When you understand your value, you come from a position of strength and authenticity. It doesn’t mean being phony and claiming to know everything. It means understanding your strengths and what you have to offer. The gamesmanship you are speaking about lacks that authenticity and ethics. In her new book, Take the Lead, author Betsy Meyers says, “Leadership is a function first and foremost o self-knowledge and honest self-reflection”.