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Don't Be Afraid

Are you a big scaredy-cat? Here's how to turn terror into super-confidence.
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This story appears in the June 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
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If all the world's a stage, what should you do to combat the business equivalent of stage fright? "Business is one series of important 'presentations' after another," says Dianna Booher, CEO of Booher Consultants in Colleyville, Texas, and author of Communicate with Confidence (McGraw-Hill). "Whether it's a formal speech or a conversation with a potential client, these are all ways we put ourselves and our ideas on display. And if we're not 'on,' we're off-and often out."

Your fears may or may not be rational, but in either case, Booher says, you can use them to build confidence and generate the adrenaline that pushes you to peak performance. She points out that fear is a learned response, and if it can be learned, it can be unlearned-or at least harnessed. In attempting to control your fear and its companion, nervousness, remind yourself to never give in. "Refuse to take that first step toward letting yourself fall apart," says Booher. "Instead of thinking about how you might embarrass yourself, concentrate on your subject."

Let your fears of start-up drive you to a higher level of preparedness. "Make your fear work for you," Booher advises. "Instead of pretending you have none, acknowledge that you have some. Tell yourself that's good, not bad. That fear stops you from winging it and helps you to be your best." By letting your fears work for you, says Booher, you can convey even greater confidence in your idea and your business.


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Edition: May 2017

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