Confidence can be a tricky thing to master. Some people feel innately sure of themselves, while others want to vomit at the thought of self-promotion.
Despite your natural sense of confidence or lack thereof, however, the quality remains a key one in many aspects of life. In your professional life, romantic life and relationship with yourself even, self-assuredness plays a pretty major role.
According to this piece from Forbes, self-esteem has just as much an impact on your salary as your cognitive ability does. If that doesn’t make you sit up and pay attention, I’m not sure what will.
And as Inc recently reported, research suggests that confidence and success are pretty obviously connected. Self-esteem makes people seem more attractive; it drives them to take more risks and it makes them generally more likely to perform well under pressure.
That all being said, there isn’t exactly a confidence switch people can turn on to help them activate a new, more self-assured version of themselves. So, here are some tips on appearing more confident – even in cases where you may not feel it.
Pay attention to your posture:
According to Inc, poor posture is one of the biggest giveaways when it comes to confidence levels. Practice sitting and standing up tall. Pop those shoulders back! You’re confident and in control, no slouching, please.
Confident people don’t constantly self-criticise:
Look out for nasty thoughts that you may be uttering to yourself day-to-day. In a recent article on Oprah.com, Stacey Tantleff-Dunn, PhD, associate professor of psychology at the University of Central Florida and director of the Laboratory for the Study of Eating, Appearance & Health suggested that you reframe how you look at your “flaws”.
“If you have a scar, you can decide to see it as a flaw or simply as a memory of an injury,” she said.
This is obviously not a habit that people will pick up on physically, but negative self-talk does shoot down your self-esteem which is always visible to onlookers.
Slow your breathing:
If you’re out of breath, constantly fidgeting and talking at a million miles per hour, chances are people will think you’re nervous. Take your time, and actively slow down your breath, Oprah.com suggested. It will help you appear in control, and it will feel calming for you.
Hold eye contact:
You’ve probably heard this one but that’s because it works… Eye contact is said to be one of the clearest indications of confidence there are.
Strike a healthy balance with this, however. You don’t want to be staring into someone’s eyes for an age without blinking; you just want to appear confident enough to hold eye contact for a little while.
Other popular tips include strong handshakes (though, in Covid-times are we doing that?); cutting words like “maybe” “just” and “sorry” from your sentences where they’re not absolutely necessary, and always making sure you’re prepared – especially in particularly stressful circumstances.
In the end, remember that learning is a part of being human and you can’t be expected to nail it 100 per cent of the time. But if you apply these tricks the next time you’re feeling nervous, you’re almost certain to appear cool and composed – even if you’re quietly sweating bullets.