If you ask the average audience member what the difference was between a good speaker and a great speaker, they'll give you a variety of answers. The great speaker had more energy, seemed buoyant, was funnier, more engaging.

Essentially, all these answers originate with self-assurance. The difference between "good" and "great" is slight and it always boils down to unshakeable, ironclad confidence.

If you're looking for awesome results, then you must start every speaking engagement, presentation, pitch, job interview, fundraising opportunity, etc. emotionally full and lit up with inner-certainty/sureness/faith in yourself.

Confidence is like putting gasoline in your car. You need it if you're trying to get somewhere.

Fueling the Fire

In private coaching, I help my executive clients find the "hook" of their presentation, start of their job interview, pitch meeting, etc. A hook is a deeply emotional attitude/opinion you adopt and cultivate within your body and then own verbally, propelling you to the successful completion of whatever you're about to do.

The hook is designed to spark a rocket blast of confidence within seconds. There is never a one-size-fits-all approach to finding it--it's born out of your singular passion and raw emotion for the task at hand and your desire for maximum impact on your audience.

The magic of the hook lies in the fact that your words shape your reality, seeping into your belief system so you can't help but embody and own what you say.

The best hooks are under five words, and will feel like you've started a small fire when you say them out loud. This way, when you're in that interview office, pitch meeting, conference room, or auditorium stage, you feel like there's a tiny inferno snapping and popping behind each word.

A hook helps to launch your own sense of organic confidence. Rather than cultivating a forced energy, a forced look-at-me, a forced sense of please-find-me-interesting, a hook lights the flames of internal power, in a way that is fun for you.

Zero Effort Confidence

Once the pilot light of self-assurance has been lit, it tends to stay on by itself without any effort or energy on your part. The reason for this is that confidence, like other powerful emotional attitudes, is self-sustaining--much like once you start the car, you don't need to do more than keep your foot on the gas to keep it moving forward.

If you find yourself in the waiting room of a job interview or driving to a pitch meeting, or in the wings backstage, expecting to make your presentation, invoke your hook and empower the flames of inner-certainty to start flickering.

If any negative or anxious thoughts attempt to creep in, simply ignore them and let your hook burn through the fog of those nerves.

It's crucial to begin emotionally lit with confidence, as how you start something is usually a good indicator as to how it will end.

Sure, you'll hear people say, I started kinda nervous but then I felt better as I kept going. Those are the types of people who are content with mediocre results.

For people who demand excellence and who know that success often follows successful results, priming the pump with your hook and starting with unwavering confidence is the only way.