There are already too many things in life that can knock your confidence, have you doubting your ability or make you feel insecure. And the last place you want those kinds of feelings to strike is in a work setting. It’s your career at the end of the day, the thing you slave away at day in, day out, and losing your focus is not an option.

But what if it’s taken out of your control? For example, having a hearing impairment can put you at a disadvantage – whether sitting back and listening, prepared to answer questions, or standing and presenting to a large group of people. Feeling vulnerable in such a scenario is something to be avoided; if you have concerns over your hearing, consult professionals such as Hidden Hearing for more information.

This is by no means the only situation in which you might need some assistance. You might suffer with nerves, be unprepared, be intimidated. Forbes have covered the issue of confidence, giving top tips on how to overcome confidence barriers. Here are some pointers to overcoming any issues and being at your best in the boardroom environment:

1. Dress well
If you look good, you feel good, and that couldn’t be more fitting than in business. The last thing you need is to be worrying about bulging bits or ankle-swingers. So get yourself sorted beforehand and walk in there with some confidence.

2. Practise makes perfect
Whether you’re presenting or partaking in a team meeting, knowing your stuff is a big deal. Believe me, it’s painfully obvious when someone hasn’t done their homework. More to the point, you’ll be able to contribute with worthy comments, suggestions and hopefully come away feeling really uplifted by the whole experience.

3. Smile
One thing to remember, is no matter how nervous you might be feeling, there’s almost guaranteed to be someone else feeling just as much out of their comfort zone as you are. They may well come across ‘together’ and focused, but you’d be surprised how many people have to work to cover up their insecurities. This is where a smile can change the whole atmosphere of a meeting. Putting people at ease will in turn make you feel at ease, which will help get the best out of people.

4. Speak slowly
Take your time and concentrate on what you’re saying and why. You have just as many interesting and important things to say as anyone else, so make sure they get chance to hear them. Rushing your sentences will not only send your head into meltdown, but will highlight your nerves and make other people focus on how fast you’re speaking rather than all the wonderful things you’re saying! The UCSF Medical Centre provides tips on how people should communicate with those who are hard of hearing, but perhaps you could switch these round and use them to help other people follow your speech too? Take a paced approach, breathe and leave little gaps between points. And yes, you might feel like you’re speaking slower than an automated answer-machine, but it will honestly become more natural with time. Good luck!