From Lacking Confidence in Her Leadership Presence to Channeling Calm Confidence in Off-The-Cuff Meetings


Imagine that you’re suddenly in a meeting you had no time to prepare for. 

Do you feel an underlying “uh-oh” at the thought of having to formulate your thoughts and communicate your message clearly on the fly?

You’re not alone! Hannah, Employment Counsel at a tech company (and one of our amazing Presence Under Pressure grads!) admits that she struggled with the pressure to think on her feet.

Despite feeling confident showing up in meetings she could prepare for, Hannah felt self-conscious about how she projected herself in impromptu situations.

“I have meetings pop up on my calendar with no information about what the topic is going to be, so I come in blind and have questions thrown at me. I wasn’t always feeling confident about how I was projecting myself, my presence and my answers in that context.” 

We sat down to talk about how her PUP experience helped her learn to navigate these types of situations with more calm and confidence.

We talked about how she was initially skeptical about whether Presence Under Pressure would be beneficial for her…

“The small group experience was new to me. I haven’t really experienced anything like this before. I wasn’t sure if I was in the right position for it; if what I was looking for was a good match for what other people were looking for and what the program was about.”

After her 15-minute interview with me (required to join PUP), she admitted that she was “sold!

“[On that quick call], we honed in on a situation where I needed to push back on someone and disagree while thinking at the same time—which is a challenging thing to do. The questions you asked me took me from here to there in such an amazing way. I walked out of the call feeling so empowered with that kind of circumstance. I felt like I knew how to handle that situation going forward.”

She also felt more excited about starting the PUP program, once she learned that:

  • The other women were in similar places – not only in their career, but with their challenges.
  • They were already developed, advanced communicators like herself, who wanted to dial up their skills. 

On PUP calls, she felt safe in an “incredible, supportive environment.” She mentioned that the “really honest feedback about things we couldn’t see in ourselves, was delivered so gently. There was never any shaming.” 

“It’s not always easy to receive feedback. In some circumstances, you may have to brace yourself and say “thank you for the learning opportunity.” I never felt any of that in this program.”

“I felt that all of the feedback was delivered with such care and such genuine interest in moving forward together that I never had to steel myself or buck myself up afterwards. I felt like all of the feedback made me feel better about myself rather than worse.”

Within PUP, not only was Hannah receiving feedback in a supportive environment, but she was an active participant in giving feedback to her fellow cohort members. 

“As I was watching someone else get coached, I was getting coached at the same time.” 

Hannah shared that the biggest gift she gained from the program was…

Confidence in off-the-cuff situations.

“I don’t get nervous necessarily before a presentation. I’ve done enough public speaking that I feel confident… But now in a situation where I don’t know what the topic of the meeting is, I have at the ready certain phrases and certain tools for how to either buy myself a little bit of time to think OR confidently say to people: ‘That’s a really interesting question and I will follow up with you about that.’ I’m not worrying so much about what people think about me when I deliver that message.”

Hannah appreciated that…

“… the majority of people in this program are already advanced communicators… in pretty advanced stages of their careers. I felt like I was among friends in a cohort of people who were all working on the same things, which really made the difference.” 

Looking back on her time in PUP, Hannah sees the return on investment in a number of ways:

  • “The confidence it has given me is priceless.” 
  • “I feel that I can go into a situation with a stronger sense of self.”
  • The realization that instead of viewing effective communication as a skill you have or don’t, it’s a skill that has to be continuously honed.

Hannah’s always been an effective public speaker, but it’s amazing to see how her new skills have allowed her to feel more confident and emboldened when navigating off-the-cuff meetings! 

If you’re ready to sharpen your communication skills and show up to any meeting or high-stakes interaction with more authentic confidence like Hannah, join the Presence Under Pressure waitlist today!

Our signature 8-week group coaching program will open up for enrollment again soon, and if you’re interested in joining an intimate cohort of 4 other badass women—who not only want to learn how to communicate more clearly and confidently under pressure, but also want to support you in stepping into your *next level*—get yourself on the waitlist! I can’t wait to send you all the deets.

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