No matter what you’re up to in life, no one wants to feel like they don’t have things together. At work you want to come across as a professional with plenty of experience…even if you can’t get that printer to work. Within your family you want outsiders to see you as the head of the household…even though deep down inside, you still consider yourself a kid. And that hobby you picked up a couple years ago? You want to be the best at it…even though you can only commit an hour or two here and there.
Adults juggle many responsibilities. It’s impossible to know what we’re doing 100% of the time. So let’s all let out a collective sigh now that we’ve got that weird and impossible burden off the table. And instead, let’s talk about the ol’ adage — FAKE IT ‘TIL YOU MAKE IT. How do we create the careful balance between having our shit together and not caring when we don’t? I believe that looking like you know what’s up (aka fakin’ it til you make it) can go a long way. Let’s break down how to achieve this —
Sounding like you know what you’re talking about when you, well, don’t, isn’t always easy. But if there’s one thing over a decade of competitive speech & debate taught me, it’s how to string together some bullshit. Here are my top tips:
1) Charisma is key. A charming personality with a positive attitude can create a sense of know-how pretty quick. Be nice to those around you, crack a joke or two, and remain confident.
2) Remove verbal filler. Work towards flowing sentences without the ugh’s and um’s. This will take practice, sure. But what are you doing on your commute that’s more important? Instead of screaming obscenities at fellow drivers, choose a topic and start talking (out loud) to yourself.
3) The wonder of word economy. Ever notice how the people who babble the most sound like they know the least? Adding a bunch of filler when you’re fakin’ it ain’t gonna fool no one. Stick to what you do know (or believably “know”) and skip the rest.
Here’s the thing, if you don’t know how your presentation skills impact leadership success, then it’s time to brush up on your public speaking.
When you think of “PUBLIC SPEAKING” you might imagine standing at a podium addressing a crowd. Which might not be your reality in the slightest. In fact, you might break out in a cold sweat just thinking about it. But the same tips & tricks used by the top speakers in the world can benefit you in a simple day-to-day conversation.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the importance of active listening in this point. React to other speakers, nod where you’re supposed to, and let other people dominate a topic if you’re not sure about it. Active listening ensures others will still remember you as part of the conversation even if you didn’t have much to say.
Looking Like You Know
In competitive speech & debate we absolutely faked it ’til we made it in the looks department. Heck, I was wearing business suits before I fully understood ANY business concepts. Why? Because a blazer can give you confidence…and when you’re a 15 year old braceface standing in front of a room full of strangers you need all the confidence you can get!
If you look like you have confidence, even when you’re churning up inside, people start to look at you with a lot more respect. So how do we fake this confidence?
1) Hold your head high and draw your shoulders back. Take strong steps so it looks like you’re walking with purpose and pride.
2) Control your face. Your facial expressions are something you might need to work on. A lot of the time we aren’t aware of what our faces are up to when in conversation, as reactions are involuntary. So when you’ve got a few spare minutes, practice reactions to possible scenarios in the mirror. If you’ve got an important client you’re meeting tomorrow, it’s time to make sure your face is friendly, with plenty of eye contact.
3) How the outfit makes you feel. When dressing for confidence, consider how the outfit makes you feel instead of how it looks. Does it make you feel like the best version of yourself? Will it help you create the person you’re trying to be? I don’t think clothes have to be expensive or even necessarily “stylish” to accomplish this.
Acting like you know what you’re doing is a blip on your journey because, before you know it…you’ll know what you’re doing. The “fake it” only exists to proceed the “make it,” right?
So project confidence, with your posture on point and a smile on your face, and you’re halfway to becoming the person you’ll be in the end anyways. You got this!
Do you have any fun FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT stories? How did you act, sound, or look like you knew what you were doing? What happened in the end??? SHARE BELOW!