Your level of self-confidence not only shapes how people regard you, but it also affects how you feel about yourself. Portraying self-confidence is important in interviews, business meetings, and everyday encounters with others. Implementing some of these strategies to portray self-confidence can actually increase your confidence and have a positive impact on how others perceive you.
1. Own Your Body
Your body language tells people much more about you than the words coming out of your mouth. Own your body and the space around it. Stand or sit tall, with a straight back and feet planted on the floor. Good posture tells people you are excited, interested and you want to be there. You will exude confidence. Practice this during the day, whether you’re sitting at your desk or walking around the grocery store. If you catch yourself slouching or making yourself small, correct your posture and before you know it your posture will improve and you will feel more confident.
2. Make Eye Contact
Imagine two people interview for a job. The interviewer can tell that the first candidate is nervous. He looks down when he speaks and looks around when he’s thinking about what to say. He rarely looks at the interviewer and when he does, he doesn’t make eye contact. The next candidate acts very differently. She looks at the interviewer when either person is talking and she makes a point of making eye contact with the person. The interviewer can tell that she’s listening and engaged. If she does look away while thinking, she looks back at the interviewer as she answers and is sure to make eye contact. Which candidate do you think the interviewer perceived as more confident, interested and capable?
3. Be Heard
Your tone conveys your mood and ultimately your level of confidence. Next time you’re on the phone with someone, notice how you can understand their mood from just hearing their voice. You should speak clearly and concisely. If you’re not sure what to say, take a moment to think and then speak with assurance. When you’re talking, avoid question inflections for statements. It makes people sound unsure of what they’re talking about and it can be perceived as indifference or a lack of assertion. Also try to use people’s names when you’re talking to them, especially when it’s one-on-one like a job interview or meeting someone for the first time (this will also help you remember their name). This method makes your statements more personal, consequently making the listener notice that you’re paying attention and automatically pulls them into what you are saying.
4. Dress For Success
Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. This doesn’t just go for interviews or your current job, it applies to anything. You will feel better and slightly more confident if you think you’re dressed well. It’s been proven that students perform better on tests if they are dressed nicer. The same goes for social settings, you will feel better and that will translate to how to hold yourself and talk to others.
5. Work On Your Handshake
In some settings, part of your first impression is your handshake. Even if you’re not interviewing for a job, you should have a good handshake. You never know who you might meet. A strong (but not too strong) handshake tells the person you’re confident and expresses your interest. Try out your handshake on a few friends and see what they think.
6. Find Your Power Pose
Power posing is a self-improvement technique in which people stand in a position they believe exemplifies power. This can be the superman pose with your chest out and your hands at your waist. Or it can be standing tall with your arms flexed or bent with your fists in the air. Whatever pose you believe exudes power is the power pose you should practice. Stand in front of a mirror in your pose for two minutes. Amy Cuddy made power posing famous in her 2012 Ted Talk:
Though the studies are controversial, many have shown that this “postural feedback effect” can change people’s hormone levels and cause them to feel more powerful.
Learn about the science behind power poses and other body-mind effects to become your best self and garner confidence in Amy Cuddy’s book, Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges.
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