Sleight of hand is a set of techniques used by magicians to manipulate objects secretly. A magician’s most important tools are confidence and sleight of hand. With these two things, they can fool us even while we know we’re being fooled.
Confidence and sleight of hand is where the magic lies.
Highly accomplished performers, CEOs, public speakers, and even magicians experience shyness, insecurity and terror just like the rest of us. We don’t notice their jitters because they’re good at “acting-as-if” they’re calm and in control.
Acting-as-if is sleight of hand for everyday use.
- Act as if your anxiety is an asset. Severe anxiety is debilitating but low-level stress can boost a performance. Athletes, musicians, actors, public speakers rely on their talent for the game but just as important is their ability to function at a high level under pressure.
- Act as if you’re going to ace it. Anticipation is often worse than the actual experience. Every time a negative thought creeps in turn it around and imagine success.
- Act as if you know what you’re talking about. If you don’t know you shouldn’t be talking anyway. Most people are their own toughest critics. Cut yourself some slack. The odds are that you look better and sound better than you imagine.