I’m the last person to say that I am projecting confidence 100% of the time. I don’t think that’s the case at all. But there are several things I’ve learned in recent years that have changed everything for me.
You know that old saying, “Fake it ’til you make it,” has never been more meaningful than dealing with confidence issues. Confidence is an essential personality trait you can develop to better deal with life’s transitions – both personal and professional – and take risks to ensure your continued success.
Projecting Confidence – Even If You Don’t Feel It
Here are some ways of projecting confidence, even if you don’t feel it, include:
• Be optimistic –
Do you see the glass as half-empty or half-full? If you see the glass as half-empty, you’re likely not an optimist and could experience feelings of low self-worth and doubts. On the other hand, seeing the glass as half-full places you in the “optimist” category and shows that you look for opportunity rather than failure.
Never let anything hold you back when you think of
“It’s too difficult.”
“It’s the popular thing to do.”
You might as well aim high You’ve got nothing to lose. So put in the work and stay focused. All you need is on big win anyway. Remember, when you aim low, the outcome is always inferior.
• Don’t take yourself too seriously –
People freak out when they encounter a problem. “This is awful!” Unfortunately, every time you experience stress over a problem, you’re sabotaging your life.
When you loosen up and project confidence, you’re more relaxed in demeanor, and most people find that refreshing. Most of us have to deal with stress and intense situations every day, so to be around someone who can relax is an absolute pleasure.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” ~ Albert Einstein
• Pay attention to others –
Various studies stress the importance of listening as a communication skill. A typical study points out that many of us spend 70 to 80 percent of our waking hours in some form of communication. Of that time, we spend about 9 percent writing, 16 percent reading, 30 percent speaking, and 45 percent listening. Unfortunately, studies also confirm that most of us are poor and inefficient listeners.
One of the reasons we fail to listen to people is because we fail to listen to ourselves. We’re so busy and so distracted that it’s easy to get lost inside our heads and constantly move on to the next thought, the next task, and the next person.
But mindfulness can help you achieve a place where you can learn how to listen. When you fail to listen to other people, part of the problem can be because you have something you need or want to say to the other person.
Making eye contact and listening intently to those you’re engaged with is a must when attempting to project confidence. If you constantly look around the room or up at the ceiling when conversing, you seem less trustworthy and less like someone who is projecting confidence.
• Projecting Confidence: Dress the part –
Whatever you want to succeed in life requires a particular look. Want to rise to a CEO level in your company? Stop dressing in jeans and t-shirts. Instead, show others – with your looks – that you’re ready to step into the position, even if you’re much lower on the ladder.
“From a business point of view, your style is extremely important,” said Orlaith Blaney, chief executive of McCannBlue, international advertising and digital agency in Dublin. “It’s about creating trust. We’re asking our potential clients for huge sums of money to do advertising campaigns for them. If you look bad, it can be associated with not being able to look after their business. I think it’s underestimated how important first impressions are.”
There’s no need for expensive clothes or fancy brands. Looks and appearance aren’t everything, but self-expression through fashion will certainly add some fun and sparkle to your life.
• Watch your language –
Language is powerful, and awareness around and the choice of language can and does enormously impact your communication. Our words are powerful co-creators of your reality. The words we use in our thoughts and speaking to others pave the way for our life experiences.
When speaking, speak clearly, and watch your language to ensure you’re not using buzz words or contradictory language or interject phrases such as “you know…” That’s referred to as “conversational clutter” and should be avoided at all costs.
Relate the facts. Good communicators address both the “what” and the “how” aspects of the message.
Replace ego with empathy and not pride and arrogance. Empathetic communicators display a level of authenticity and transparency. Understanding this communication principle is what helps turn anger into respect and doubt into trust.
Speak and listen. Simply broadcasting your message will not have the same result as engaging in meaningful conversation.
“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world” ~Ludwig Wittgenstein
• Accepting and giving compliments –
Why does accepting a compliment feel awkward? Why does it cause you to stumble over your words, downplay, or reject them? The problem may be that we are taught to be humble, not cocky or arrogant from childhood.
Accept compliments about your accomplishments gracefully and give compliments to others when warranted. Accepting compliments show that you realize the value in what you’ve done, and giving compliments show that you consider yourself a good judge of character.
A compliment is, after all, a kind of gift, and turning down a gift insults the person giving it, suggesting that you don’t value them as highly as they respect you.
• Projecting confidence with your body language –
Want to know how to appear more confident? It’s all in your posture. Keep your legs aligned with your shoulders and your feet approximately four to six inches apart to stand confidently. Distribute your weight equally on both legs, keep you shoulders back and turn your body towards others.
Even when you are in a virtual meeting, it’s easy to feel overly relaxed when communicating virtually, but remember: people can still see you! Maintain a strong, confident posture throughout any virtual meeting or presentation. Slouching will make you appear sloppy and unprofessional.
When you’re able to maintain eye contact, you’re communicating to others that you’re honest, approachable and confident. ~ Vivian Giang
Even when you don’t feel it, it shows that you’re ready to meet challenges head-on when you are projecting confidence. Sometimes, you may think you don’t yet have the knowledge or skills it takes to perform at the top of the game, but you can project determination and enthusiasm to meet the challenge.
I am Shirley Noah, an internationally known stress expert and author of Say No To Stress: A Practical Approach to Stress Management. I would love to connect further with you to help you improve your health and well-being. If you are interested in learning more about a stress and anxiety management, please take a look at my popular 8 days, FREE E-course, How to “Let Go” of Your Worries.