- Sebastiaan ter Burg/Flickr
- Confidence isn’t something you are necessarily born with – but you can learn it.
- There are a few confidence hacks you can use to impress a colleague, boss, vendor, date or date, and help them perceive you in a more positive way.
- Confident people don’t contract their bodies – boost your body language by making simple adjustments, like standing up straight or crossing your arm over the chair next to you.
- Affirmative language like “I can,” or “I will,” is much better than saying “I’ll try,” or “I think.” Additionally, nix any negativity – optimism is a sign of leadership.
- You should also ask for what you want. Asking is assertive, and asserting yourself shows confidence.
The most successful people aren’t necessarily born the most beautiful, talented, or into the most educated families – but they have mastered the art of believing in themselves.
As a coach and author who has helped others increase their self-confidence at work, I can tell you: Confidence can be learned. And it’s not all about ‘faking it till you make it.’ It’s about harnessing some valuable habits that, over time, actually transform not just how you feel about yourself, but also how others perceive you.
So if you want to impress as a colleague, a boss, a vendor, a date, an interviewee, these helpful confidence hacks will get you further, faster.
1. Puff it up
Confident people don’t contract their bodies. Often, when we’re feeling unsure of ourselves, it’s subconsciously reflected in our posture. We slump our shoulders, cross our legs, and take up as little space as possible.
Taking up more physical space is commanding. You can boost your body language by just standing or sitting up straight, crossing your arm over an empty chair next to you, or even by adding a simple shoulders-back, chin up and smile. These adjustments go a long way in projecting poise. Allow yourself to be visible!
2. Use words wisely
Just like our physical stance matters, so does what comes out of our mouths.
Consider the difference between two people discussing a new work project.
One might beam, “Yes, I’m managing project X! I’m excited for the new challenge and am enjoying recruiting the most skilled team members. We’ve got a great foundation in place.”
Another might say: “Right now project X is mine. The whole thing’s new and a bit daunting. I hope I can find the right people because it’s bare bones right now (nervous laugh).”
Who do you think will launch the most successful project? Who’ll attract the best talent? Whose team would you want to be on?
Affirmative language can go a long way. Use “I can,” “I will,” “I’m going to,” instead of “I’ll try,” “I think,” and “I don’t know.” Even if you feel uncertain, you can still use certainty in language.
Another tip: Speak slowly. Scared people often rush to get their words out. Force yourself if you have to, and don’t be afraid to take pauses – it works!
3. Be front and fast
Have you ever noticed, in any meeting or event of a decent size, that the back seats fill up first? Be a front seater.
Also notice how some people plod around, looking aimless? Walk 25% faster. This makes you appear engaged, influential, and busy
4. Nix the negativity
When I was at an airport recently and a flight delay was announced, one man lost his mind. He interrogated a crew member and huffed and puffed his way around the gate. I was surprised, because he was a sharply dressed, professional-looking man and his lack of composure was a bit over the top.
Negativity repels people, even when it’s not directed at us (no one wanted this dude sitting next to them on the plane). It also shows a lack of self control.
When you cruise the positive path, other people will often rise to meet you there. They’ll want to be more like you.
Optimism isn’t naïve, it’s a sign of leadership.
Asking for what you want is terribly underrated. It’s a shame how many opportunities we let slip by simply because we don’t ask for stuff. Whether you’re asking for a window table at a restaurant, for the salary you’re worth, or for a coworker to lower the volume on their headphones – asking is assertive. People respect askers. So dial it up where it feels fair, and when you win, don’t feel guilty for a second.
We’re more in control of our projection of confidence than we might think. And when we consciously create how we’re seen, we can forge the future that we hope for.
Susie Moore is a high performance coach and author based in New York City who’s been featured on the Today show, Forbes and Oprah.com. Sign up for herfree weekly confidenceinjection here.