How to show confidence
No one feels confident 100% of the time. People have bad days or face obstacles they weren’t expecting and it can knock them off-kilter. Others think they can’t be confident because they have prior failures or have made mistakes. You don’t have to be confident all the time, but you can learn how to exude confidence when you need to.
Confidence is not just something you have – it’s something you create. It’s a sense of certainty. It’s the feeling that you can accomplish anything that comes your way. It’s a state of mind that you can harness to help you get the results you want. If you’re not feeling confident, you don’t always have to put yourself through a pep talk to get psyched up. Instead, learn how to show confidence by using your body to your advantage.
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The importance of looking and feeling confident
Learning how to exude confidence – and actually feeling that confidence inside – are crucial to achieving your goals. Without confidence, you will lose the edge in negotiations, develop unproductive habits and struggle with building and maintaining healthy relationships. If you are not confident in yourself, you will not be able to create empowering beliefs about your potential and your future. Confidence leads to improvements across all areas of life – better job opportunities and promotions as well as stronger parenting skills and deeper connections with others. If you find yourself feeling uncertain or anxious in a new situation, learning how to appear more confident can ease some of your fears and help you handle the situation with grace.
How to exude confidence
Many people believe they must feel confident before they can exude confidence. The opposite can actually be true. Learning how to show confidence while you work on actually becoming more confident is a winning strategy that will help you achieve your goals more quickly.
1. Shift your focus
As Tony says, “Where focus goes, energy flows.” If you focus all your energy on how nervous you feel, skills you don’t have or the last time you failed, you’ll only amplify those feelings. To exude confidence, shift your focus to the positive. Recognize and stop limiting beliefs about your perceived weaknesses and replace them with empowering beliefs about your strengths and accomplishments. Allow yourself to feel anxious, then force yourself to push beyond your comfort zone. Use visualization to picture an upcoming challenge in your mind and imagine yourself crushing it. See yourself giving a flawless presentation, asking for a raise or conquering your fears. The more you visualize, the more real your future accomplishments become.
2. Practice priming
Priming happens every day. Whether you know it or not, your thoughts and emotions are constantly primed by outside factors. Tony’s routine allows you to harness that element of your psychology and use its power positively. Tony practices priming as part of his daily morning ritual and finds it helps him exude confidence throughout the day. Priming incorporates elements of meditation, visualization and even incantations to create a powerful vision for your day – and when you connect with your vision, you’ll naturally discover how to appear more confident.
3. Discover the power of body language
Your body language is the very first thing someone notices about you. If you have terrible posture and have your head hanging down, people are not going to think you’re a confident person. No one looks at someone with their arms crossed over their chest and their gaze directed at the ground and thinks, “That person looks confident and knows what they are doing.” Fortunately, you can learn how to exude confidence through body language. We’ve all heard the cliché phrase “fake it ‘til you make it”– but in this case, it’s true. Fake confidence by taking a power stance, putting a relaxed expression on your face and holding your head high. You will not only look more confident, but feel more confident by positioning your body this way.
4. Use mirroring
Mirroring taps into the power of mirror neurons – groups of cells in our brain that are activated when we perform an action, but also when we see someone else take the same action. These neurons are essential to human connection and even work through images on screen, such as social media. You can use this principle to help you improve your communication skills and unlock how to show confidence. When you’re interacting with someone, “mirror” them: match their body language with your own, adjust the tone of your voice to be closer to theirs and even choose words that are similar to their vocabulary. It requires skill and subtlety, but when done correctly, will help you build rapport and influence others.
5. Adjust your posture
The number one thing that makes you appear less confident? Poor posture. Standing slumped over or with your shoulders caved in is no way to exude confidence. Instead of allowing your body to hunch over, stand up straight, hold your head up high and push your shoulders back. Additionally, when you’re speaking with someone, it helps to have your body directly facing theirs. When you’re discovering how to appear more confident, always remember to start with adjusting your posture and everything else will fall into place.
6. Stop fidgeting
Practicing how to show confidence when your nerves kick in can seem like a daunting task. Nervous energy often leads to fidgeting to relieve discomfort or anxiety. Fidgeting includes wringing your hands, bouncing your foot or tapping your fingers or a pencil against a table. While this may help eliminate some nerves, it also makes you look unprofessional and uncomfortable. If you find yourself fidgeting during a new encounter or while giving a presentation, take a moment to regroup. Take a deep breath to help yourself exude confidence and stay in the present moment. If your hands are fidgeting, place them on your lap or fold them together so they’re no longer a distraction. After repeating this several times when the urge to fidget arises, you’ll be able to resist fidgeting altogether.
7. Check your hands
The way you hold your hands is a big part of how to show confidence. Wringing your hands, folding your arms or sticking your hands in your pockets give off nervous or uncomfortable energy to everyone around you. If you’re unsure of what to do with your hands when you’re talking or listening, use a gesture that exudes power and certainty in what you’re saying: the hand steeple. Make a steeple shape with your hands by placing the tips of your fingers together so they form a point. This is an excellent gesture that can be used to exude confidence in many situations, whether you’re giving a presentation or deeply listening to someone else.
8. Work on eye contact
Direct eye contact lets people know you’re focusing your attention on them and is a technique with high returns when working on how to show confidence. However, making too much intense eye contact can be off-putting, so aim for a happy medium. A good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule. Meet your partner’s eyes 80% of the time you’re speaking and allow your eyes to wander or focus on something else the other 20%. Making eye contact at important moments in the conversation with the person you’re speaking to not only makes you exude confidence, but shows friendliness and empathy as well.
9. Improve your handshake
Meeting someone new can often generate anxiety, but you’ll exude confidence and distract yourself from any nerves if you’re able to work on how to appear confident instead. When meeting someone – especially in a professional setting – your first contact is often the handshake. A quality handshake can set the entire tone of your interaction. You want to grasp their hand firmly, but not too tightly. Some professionals recommend “anchoring” the handshake, or using your other hand to softly touch the person’s outstretched arm between their wrist and elbow. This displays authenticity and caring and can be a great way to form an instant connection.
10. Be mindful of your facial expressions and voice
Body language speaks volumes in your quest for how to appear more confident, but keep in mind your voice and expression also play a major role. Happy people are perceived as more confident and relaxed, so putting a smile on your face is a quick and easy fix when finding ways for how to seem confident. The tone and inflection of your voice is also important. When you smile, your voice will naturally sound pleasant and more confident. Make a point not to raise your pitch at the end of sentences, as this can make it seem like you’re asking a question or looking for approval for what you’ve just said.
In terms of content, the words you use make a big difference in whether you exude confidence. Stammering, using hesitant words like “maybe” and describing stressful or worried feelings can hurt you if you’re working on how to seem confident in your verbal interactions. Speak positively and with conviction to show others you are comfortable and confident in your environment.
The physicality of confidence
Think of how people like newscasters or politicians move through the world; they need to know how to show confidence every single day so they appear knowledgeable and trustworthy. Do they wake up every day feeling completely amazing? Chances are, they have their off days. The key to confidence is making yourself look confident. Even if you don’t feel your best, using the above techniques will help you to project a calm, self-assured image.
You can exude confidence even if you’re feeling anything but comfortable in the situation. Watch your body language, speak with conviction and put a smile on your face and you’ll show others you’re someone to be reckoned with.
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