How to Project Confidence (Even If You Have to Fake It)

Ellen Lindner art

You are more likely to get the commission, sell the work, fill your classes, and have your proposal accepted if we believe in you.

And we are more likely to believe in you if you believe in yourself and your art.

Confidence is one of the most collector-attractive qualities an artist can possess.

And, yet, doubt and fear are endemic in artists’ lives.

To move beyond these demons, it might first be comforting to reread that last sentence. It’s endemic. You are not alone. Many, if not most, artists face both doubt and fear at points in their careers.

That’s right. I said points – more than one. They never really go away.

If you’re playing it safe by staying in your comfort zone, you’ll be immune to their visits. But when you stretch … when you try something new … when you grow … you can bet your last dollar that doubt and fear won’t be far behind.

You are bound to go through peaks and valleys as you’re experimenting with your art and business decisions. I realize it’s a big ask, but try to be comfortable with the discomfort when it comes.

Use these five tips to project confidence even when you’re questioning your talent and place in the world.

Load up on experience.

The best potion for exorcising fear and doubt is experience.

Experience builds confidence 99x faster than walking on hot coals or loading your Kindle with self-help books.

In particular, you’re looking for real-life experience rather than the online kind: person-to-person interaction, dialogue, and connection. Yes, I know this might be scary for some, but it’s absolutely necessary for building confidence.

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Beginning a Slide Presentation of Your Art

If you talk about your art to groups, I suggest adding a silent run-through of your images the next time you open a talk.

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Podcast: Pack your Presentation with Meaningful Content

Presentations should be packed with meaningful content for your audience. Start gathering ideas for your presentations from the moment you confirm a gallery talk, lecture, or slide show.

Listen to this week’s podcast for tips for compiling and refining presentation content.

Note: More details became available about the exhibit mentioned in the podcast after this was recorded. Click on STAGES below for an update.


Art Marketing Action newsletter (a written version of this podcast)

Part 1: Design your PowerPoint presentation

What?! No bullet points?!

I’d Rather Be in the Studio! (pages 53-67 of the 2008 edition)

Listen & Download

The last episode of the Art Marketing Action podcast was November 22, 2010. You can listen to or download any episode on iTunes.

Send to Kindle

Pack your presentation with meaningful content

If you think you don’t have much to say about your art, you’re not trying hard enough. Good content is everywhere, but it has to incubate. If you have a presentation coming up, start developing your content immediately. Give yourself time to play around with it, to make mistakes, and to tighten up your slides and words.

Find last week’s tips for designing your presentation PowerPoint or Keynote slides.


Lisa Kairos, Gear Nest. Acrylic and mixed media, 12 x 24 inches. ©The Artist

Here are some tips for unearthing and refining your presentation content.

THOSE ANNOYING QUESTIONS What questions are people asking you about your art? Every time someone asks you a new question, write it down–even if you don’t yet have the response to it. If they’re thinking it, someone else is

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Podcast: Design your PowerPoint presentation

There will come a time when you’re asked to talk about your art–with slides. The design of your digital presentation should put the focus on your art. Listen to tips for designing and perfecting your PowerPoint presentation.


Newsletter (a written version of this podcast)


I’d Rather Be in the Studio! (pages 53-67 of the 2008 edition)

Listen & Download

The last episode of the Art Marketing Action podcast was November 22, 2010. You can listen to or download any episode on iTunes.

Send to Kindle

Design your PowerPoint presentation

It’s great news that we no longer have to scramble at the last minute to have slides shot, developed, and masked. You can insert images into your digital presentations up until the moment you are introduced. It’s magic! It can also be tragic.

Leslie Sobel, Desert Passage. Satellite imaging, encaustic, and mixed media on canvas, 24 x 24 inches. ©The Artist

PowerPoint gone wrong is a hideous sight. Bad PowerPoint consists of incongruous colors, over-designed slides, too many slides, and, mostly, too much text. If there is too much text, you wonder what you paid for or why you’re there when the entire presentation is written out on the slides. You might as well have stayed home and received the slides as a PDF file in your inbox!

Here are some tips

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Presentation is everything

This post is in honor of what would have been my grandmother’s 100th birthday–today. There’s a good lesson in it for any marketer.

Imagine back to your childhood. You’re about four or five. Christmas morning has arrived and you can’t wait to unwrap your presents.

Did you ever break the ribbon, tear off the paper, open the lid, only to reveal . . . a fork???!

I can say with relative certainty that I was the only little girl on N.W. 69th Street in Oklahoma City that opened a sterling silver eating utensil each Christmas. Forks, spoons, knives. Reed & Barton. Pattern: Francis I.

Eventually, I started getting larger boxes. You know what was inside of them, don’t you? My china. Lenox. Pattern: Rutledge. It was selected for me at about the same time as my silver was because

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