Is it okay to fake it til you make it?

Sent by Jonathan Stark on February 6th, 2019

It’s funny how sometimes a subject seems to crop up everywhere at once. Today, I had three different conversations that all centered on the importance of projecting confidence in a sales meeting. 

Projecting confidence is important. If you come across as needy or desperate early in a client relationship, you will, at best, lose your negotiating power, and at worst, drive the client away. 

But what if you’re not feeling confident? 

Well... some people will advise you to “fake it til you make it.” Heck, I’ve probably given this advice to folks who were feeling unsure of themselves. It’s not bad advice on the face of it, but I learned today that some people take it farther than I’m comfortable with, so I wanted to draw some boundary lines.

For example, I think it’s perfectly ethical to pretend you’re not nervous when you are actually are. If you want to do some power poses in the bathroom before a big meeting, I’m all for it. 

On the other hand, I think it’s unethical to project confidence by doing things like:

In my book, these are straight up lies. Trying to pass off lying under the banner of “fake it til you make it” is not cool with me.

Plus, it’s bad for business. An unethical person might be able to trick a few people in the short term, but it’s not a sustainable approach in a relationship business. This is a long game. The truth comes out eventually.

Or as Aristotle once said:

“The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.”

Yours,

—J