To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Confidence, Compassion, Professionalism: Present Yourself Powerfully,” by Cherie Sohnen-Moe, in the May 2011 issue. Article summary: Everything you do and say contributes to your overall image. Presenting yourself powerfully means exuding an image of confidence, compassion and professionalism.

by Cherie Sohnen-Moe

Self-confidence is a belief in one’s powers or abilities. Self-confident people project an air of competency. They are positive, balanced and immerse themselves in living their lives. Self-confidence comes from your feelings about yourself, feedback from others and your achievements.

•You demonstrate your self-confidence in your practice by greeting people with a handshake, smiling, maintaining good eye contact, enunciating properly, introducing yourself in a clear and engaging manner and dressing appropriately. Do keep in mind different cultures have varying norms of what is considered polite behavior.

•A tip for increasing self-confidence when talking with clients and potential clients is to write scripts on topics that cause you discomfort, and rehearse responding to those topics. Start by creating a list of questions people ask you about your work, policies (e.g., rates, missed appointments) and procedures, such as scheduling. Write what you want to say and practice saying it until the words easily roll off your tongue.

• You boost your confidence by being prepared. In your hands-on work with clients, this means being punctual, setting up the room before a client arrives—unless you do on-site massage—and reviewing the client’s chart in advance. If you are working with a client who has a health condition you don’t know much about or your work isn’t producing the desired results, research the condition and look for other massage protocols you can use.

• Preparation is critical when doing any type of public appearance. The steps are the same if you are giving a 20-minute talk for a local group or if you’re facilitating a two-day workshop: research your audience; determine the key points you want to make; outline your presentation; create audio-visuals; and practice, practice, practice.

• Sometimes the preparation is not so much about what you are going to do, as what you need to bring. For example, let’s say you are giving chair massage at a public event. You reduce your stress and increase your self-confidence if you set up your environment to support you and your clients. In addition to your chair, face covers, antiseptic solution, intake forms, sign-up sheet and pens, consider bringing water and snacks, a large umbrella, your promotional materials and a place to display your promotional and other written materials.

• Always keep business cards with you. You never know when you’ll meet a potential client—it could be when you are standing in line at the store or while attending a social event.

Cherie Sohnen-Moe ( is an author, business coach, international workshop leader and successful business owner since 1978. She has served as a faculty member at the Desert Institute of Healing Arts and the Arizona School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She is the author of Business Mastery and Present Yourself Powerfully, and co-author of The Ethics of Touch.