Kevin Anderson, the No. 8 seed, after beating Roger Federer, the No. 1 seed, in the 2018 quarterfinals at Wimbledon Tennis Championship, July 2018:
“I think the toughest thing players face when going out playing somebody like Roger in this setting is giving yourself a chance. I feel like the times that I’ve played him before, or other guys … with his ranking and history, I haven’t really allowed myself to play.”
Roger Federer after losing to Kevin Anderson:
“As the match went on, I couldn’t surprise him anymore. That’s a bad feeling to have.”
Kevin Anderson is a 30-something successful professional tennis player and even he gets intimidated by a tennis match – of which he has played thousands. Allowing yourself to be the best you can be in any situation is a life-long challenge. Whether playing tennis, giving a presentation, or leading a client meeting – having the skills to succeed is one thing, but having the confidence to excel gets us to the next level. Two pro tips to build confidence:
Focus on your audience.
You might be nervous in a pressure situation, but think about your audience. It’s not all about you and your performance. Your audience’s critical takeaway is how your viewpoint impacted them, and whether they got what they needed. Shift your content to what the audience values, and your nerves will die down.
Don’t think so much.
Practice, prepare, and polish your presentation so that when you are in the act, you are not thinking, you are communicating. This doesn’t mean memorizing. This means knowing what the key points are and adding value to your slides by giving specific examples. Keep it simple – the audience will only remember about a quarter of what you say anyway!