In college I studied public relations, business marketing and sport management. So needless to say I've had a significant amount of experience giving presentations and sales pitches. The most important lesson that I learned after going through many trials and errors was that if you don't believe in what your pitching, selling or presenting 100% then there is no way that your audience will either. It's no different from being on an athletic team where your coach seems a little iffy about the play they call during the final seconds of a game. Or being on the front line of a battle and having your commanding officer say "I think we should do this." I can even use the example of approaching a man or women that you would like to ask out for a date. The point is when you're going into something you have to have your mind set on the objective and there needs to be as little doubt as possible. I say this because when the situation gets tough, and trust me it will, all of those doubts will come back to fight you.
Now the big question is how to you gain your confidence? Well for me, I believe that confidence comes from something I call R.P.P. which stands for Repeated, Perfected, Preparation. The trick I used for gaining confidence while giving speech after speech to different publics was knowing the material and my goals so well that I felt that whoever that didn't buy into what I was saying must be an idiot. Now I'm not trying to say that everybody that didn't donate or sign up was stupid, but that's how confident I was. I figured that all of these people gathered here to listen to me talk, therefore I was the one in the position of power. I was the one providing them with information on a subject which they knew little of. So in order for me to be successful I had to carry myself accordingly. I used the same technique during sports my entire life. I would practice to the point where I felt that I worked harder than anybody else on the field or track so that had to mean that there was no way I could beat. Obviously, I was defeated plenty of times, but that confidence that I instilled in myself allowed me maximize my abilities every time I stepped on the field. Just as with the presentation example, I truly believed that I deserved to be in the position that I was in. The reason coach has me on the court at the end of the game is because he knows I can get it done. The reason I made it to finals in this race isn't because I just got lucky, it's because I worked hard and earned my spot and went in with the mindset that i was going to perform well.
I had the idea for the 3 Keys To Success a few nights so it was really interesting when everything I looked at or read started to relate to the work I was about to create. Yesterday I read an interesting post on the internet by a good friend of mine that practices photography as a hobby. He mentioned that when he first got his new camera he drove around the city taking hundreds of pictures only to get home and dislike what he took. He could have easily given up and said to himself maybe this just isn't for me. Maybe I wasn't blessed with the skill to do this. But instead of letting a small step backwards taint his confidence he went right back out and started shooting again. I can't speak for him but it seemed that when he went out again (after making some technical adjustments to his instrument) he found a spot and new exactly what he wanted to get out of each shot. You'll have to read his entire post to get the full scheme of things ( http://jpics.blog.com/ ) but he attacked his goals with a confident approach and it paid off.
This was a case where having confidence in your ability paid off. It also presents a great example of tomorrows key. But you'll have to check in and read about it.