It is a good time for businesses in the U.S., with 49.9 percent of the population already fully vaccinated as of August 6. Among businesses that closed since March 2020, almost 258,200 have already reopened, while 516,754 new businesses were established.
After dealing with customers online for a large part of the pandemic, reopening businesses must now face customers in real life again. New businesses must learn how to do this for the first time.
Confidence in Facing Customers
Nothing beats a sincere smile in welcoming clients. Everyone responds to a smile, immediately breaking down some barriers, such as hesitance on the client’s part. It makes a person look friendly, approachable, and ready to help. Immediately follow the smile with a respectful greeting and an invitation for the client to express what they need. Say these with utmost confidence.
Many things can affect a person’s confidence in facing clients, though. Some are related to looks, and these can be addressed to advance a career. For instance, some people feel inhibited to give a full smile because of teeth problems, and in some cases, these can also affect speech. An orthodontist can help with such problems. Skin issues can also affect confidence, and these can be treated by a dermatologist.
Some people are not style-savvy and may sport unflattering hairstyles, glasses, and clothing. Knowing this can strip them of confidence. These are even easier to fix, though. Visit a professional hairstylist, and be sure to indicate your line of work so that your hairstyle will be appropriate.
For instance, a person working in advertising can sport a more daring hairstyle to project creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. In contrast, someone working in the finance sector must have a stylish but traditional hairstyle to project stability and reliability.
Consult a stylist for advice on glasses and clothing. Glasses must flatter a person’s face shape and must also be industry-appropriate, like hairstyles. For clothing, make sure to know your company’s dress code, if any, and bring this to the stylist.
Again, the type of clothes and even shoes will have to match the industry. You must determine if your industry tends to be on the conservative side or the cutting-edge side. The company dress code, or lack of it, will indicate if you can dress casually, wear business-casual, or be in business attire.
Public Speaking Confidence
Some jobs require you to speak in front of a group of people. This may be in front of an informal group of customers or to make formal presentations to business clients. If you do not have the confidence to do so, you can take classes in public speaking.
Preparation is important to build confidence. Whatever it is that you have to talk about, study it thoroughly so that you can answer questions. Know the subject matter by heart but do not just memorize it. If you only memorize something, you can easily get lost if interrupted or get a mental block. On the other hand, if you master the topic, you can explain it from any angle.
If it is possible, get yourself familiarized with the venue you will be speaking in. If you have not been there before, come early. Ask about the setup, such as whether you will be at a podium or not. Know what microphone you will be using – whether it will be handheld or attached to your body – and how far it will allow you to walk around the stage should you wish to. If you are talking informally to a group of customers, find out if you will be vying for their attention amid other distractions in the area.
It is normal to feel nervous before such a presentation. Instead of trying to suppress the feeling, think of it as excitement. Shifting to a positive mindset and giving yourself a pep talk will help. Repeatedly remind yourself that you know what you will be discussing. Tell yourself repeatedly that you are prepared, you are confident, you are engaging, and you will win over the audience.
A few minutes before the presentation, reduce your tension through light physical activity. Walk around, rotate your head in both directions, do shoulder rolls in both directions, do knee bends, and shake off the anxiety from your hands and fingers. Stand with your feet apart and your arms straight out at the sides for a moment.
By taking up as much space as you can in this pose, you tell your brain that you are powerful and confident. As you go to your speaking position, take deep and even breaths from the belly. This relaxes you and your tightened muscles. Even stage performers do these preparations.
Whether you are behind a podium or standing freely, stand with confidence. Smile and infect your audience with anticipation about what you are about to tell them.