A Certain Level of … Confidence

I think there’s a certain level of confidence that can only be achieved by being as prepared as possible. Chris Voss, author of Never Split the Difference, says:

“In times of crisis, we don’t rise to the occasion … we fall to our highest level of preparation.”

That’s quite profound (and quote-worthy). Think about how when we’re put on the spot about anything, we get nervous; we can’t help it. When you’re put on the spot, even with something that you’re a subject matter expert on, but find yourself struggling to come up with the right words for the moment? You SOUND like you’re struggling to come up with the words, and this UNDERMINES your credibility.

Nervousness in your voice registers subconsciously in the Dog part of the person that you’re communicating with’s brain and it sets off alarms, like:

This person is nervous … therefore something must be wrong …”

I think that a key to success when it comes to effectively communicating about anything is to reduce as many variables as possible (like the pegs on the Plinko board). Think about the confidence, and fearlessness, that comes across when you don’t have to think about what you’re going to say next, especially when you’re calling out to a potential client for the first time.

If they answer and you’re not prepared to speak? You stumble through your intro, trying to come up with something intelligent to say, and it undermines your efforts from that point forward because you allowed that :30 second bomb to detonate. Jordan Belfort takes it a step further and says that you have FOUR SECONDS to come across as these three crucial things:

  • You’re SHARP
  • and an EXPERT

FOUR SECONDS!” he says. “That’s it! If you don’t come across as these three things in the first four seconds? You’re done!”

I know that “four seconds” can seem a bit extreme, but seriously: what’s the alternative? Let’s say you DON’T come across as those three things in the first four seconds. What happens? You set off alarms, the other person instinctively labels you as a novice, and the bomb blows up and causes the other person to not really listen or take you seriously from that point forward (the bomb is probably a bit more extreme than Jordan’s :04 Seconds, but that’s okay).


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Published by Thomas Hurley

I am a father, husband, drummer, boater, marketer, communicator, animal-lover.

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