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There’s only three days to go until Start Up Weekend begins and we’re sure that you’re all making the most of these last few days by making you’re completely prepared and getting excited for the big event. However, as the 27th March comes closer and closer the thought of having to come up with and present a completely new and innovative idea may seem more scary and daunting than fun.

Well I’m here to tell you that it’s okay! It’s perfectly normal to feel worried about whether your idea is good enough or standing in front of your competitors and judges to present your ideas. This is not something you do every day and so the new experience will cause your palms to sweat and your knees to buckle with all the overthinking and nervousness. But that’s what it is- an experience. One of the greatest things you will learn during Start Up Weekend is the ability to feel confident about yourself and all that you can offer. Here are some tips on how to feel more confident during the event;

  1. Think Positively.

If you’re constantly stuck in the rut of thinking that you won’t win or how your idea isn’t good enough, you’ll end up not being as confident as you could be if you’re more optimistic instead. It will also definitely show when you’re up on stage sharing your ideas with everyone else. To truly believe that you have what it takes you need to start the habit of seeing everything you do in a more positive light. This will increase your self-esteem and will have an effect on your confidence as a result.

2. Be Organized

Although you have time before the event to think and plan and prepare for the idea you want to pitch during Start Up, you will only have 54 hours to really get in the nitty gritty details of what you want to bring as an individual or team and finalize your idea for the event. For this, it is very important to know what work needs to be done when, what you will need to achieve the goals you have set yourself and so forth, and so to be organized is very important. The more organized you are, the more confident you will be about getting your work done on time and performing well during Start Up.

3. Practice

The scariest thing about Start Up for most is having to pitch your/your team’s idea to the rest of the audience and judges at the end of the event. Yes it will be terrifying for many, but it’s not as bad as it may initially seem. One thing to boost your confidence, which many underestimate, is practice. Write a speech and practice it in front of your friends or team, speak in front of the mirror, picture yourself on stage in your mind; continue to practice how you will be pitching your idea in whatever way you find fit. As ridiculous as you may feel at the time, it will greatly benefit you in the end.

4. Smile!

Regardless of how scared, shy or anxious you may feel, don’t forget to smile. Smiling and laughing releases endorphins called serotonin in your body, causing you to feel happier. Not only will this make you feel more relaxed and at ease, but you’ll stand out among the crowd because you’ll look more confident on the outside as well as inside. After all, Start Up Weekend is an event to enjoy, so have fun!

Usman Rauf