6 ways to exude 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 have limiting beliefs about confidence and 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 appear confident 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 appear more confident simply by using your body to your advantage.

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Learn how to appear more confident and actually feel more confident

Many people believe they must feel confident before they can work on how to show confidence. The opposite can actually be true. 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. If you find yourself feeling uncertain or anxious in a new situation, learning how to look more confident can ease some of your fears and help you handle the situation with grace. Learning how to seem confident while you work on actually becoming more confident is a winning strategy that will help you achieve your goals more quickly.

The importance of looking and feeling confident

Learning how to look more confident 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 and don’t have strategies for how to show confidence, you will not be able to create empowering beliefs about your potential and your future. Confidence leads to better job opportunities and promotions as well as stronger parenting skills and deeper connections with others. If you are not confident in yourself or don’t know how to appear confident, people in your life will not feel they can trust you or rely on what you tell them.

The power of body language

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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, how to appear more confident through body language is a skill that can be learned. Here are some tips on how to show confidence through body language.

Adjust your posture

The number one thing that makes you appear less confident? Poor posture. Standing slumped over or with your shoulders caved in can cause you to look unsure of yourself. 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.

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Stop fidgeting

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Practicing how to seem confident 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 breath to help yourself relax and try to 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.

Check your hands

The way you hold your hands is a big part of how to appear confident. 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, try a simple 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. When you’re wondering how to show confidence, this is an excellent gesture that can be used in many situations, whether you’re giving a presentation or deeply listening to someone else.

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Work on eye contact

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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 you should 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 seem more confident, but shows friendliness and empathy as well.

Improve your handshake

Meeting someone new can often generate anxiety, but you’ll project a better image 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.

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Be mindful of your facial expressions and voice

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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. You should also 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 how confident you appear to others. 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 seem confident 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, too. 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.

How to look more confident is not difficult – 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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