It’s a short list of skills that separate great performers from average performers. Confidence, also called presence, is one of those critical skills. Those who have it (or fake it well) usually succeed. Clients expect you to have it. After all, they hired you, the expert, to guide them through their toughest challenges. Judges won’t listen to you without it. Justice Scalia’s recent public razing of a lawyer who read his notes during oral arguments is a perfect example.
Presence, as it’s called in social science, is not about being aggressive, opinionated or extraverted. Even introverts — which most lawyers are — can exude confidence. And, quite frankly, they have to do so to survive in a world of energetic extroverts. For many years, I worked with a brilliant BigLaw managing partner who often spoke less than everyone else in the room. But when he spoke, everyone listened. Why? He had presence. Confidence. He was an invisible giant.
Try These Presence-Building Tactics
No matter your personality type, you can use these five helpful tactics to build your confidence and presence.