If you are not a naturally confident person or are just going through a patch of self-doubt and nerves then try some of these tips to look and feel confident. Even if they don't feel authentic, honestly try them - it is so well known that taking action is the first step to feeling confident. Some people call it 'fake it to make it' and once you have practiced taking action a few times, it becomes second nature.
Keep your body language and gestures smooth and expansive. Avoid quick, fidgety and jerky body movements which give the impression that you are nervous. If you have the space to do so, use your arms and hands to emphasise what you are saying and keep your posture open. Closed positions such as folded arms give the impression that you are either defensive or lacking confidence.
If you are making a presentation, public speaking or attending a meeting already underway, when you enter the room or walk to the front to speak, walk with purpose and look around the room before speaking. This gives you time to get yourself together and bring your heart rate down. The act of looking around and making eye contact with people puts you in control of the situation and the audience will perceive you to be confident. Try it next time and see what difference it makes.
The tone of your voice can make a difference to your confidence. If your voice raises up at the end of sentences, then you need to practice getting deeper when closing off and not higher. Listen to yourself a few times and question whether what you say sounds like a question more than a statement. If the way you speak sounds like you are constantly asking questions; people will start to think that you are not certain about your subject and need others to validate your knowledge.
Slow down when you speak. There are so many advantages practicing this one. I appreciate that this might not be easy, if you are nervous, but taking command of how you speak will make a difference to the impact you make. People might not listen to even listen to what you are saying but they will remember how you spoke. If your speech is like a machine gun then people will not listen for long and any message will not land.
Pay a lot of attention to people who you think are confident. Study how they act, speak, move etc and then model that behaviour.
The last tip is to rehearse, especially those conversations that matter. It goes without saying that if you are making a key note speech or making a presentation you plan ahead and rehearse what you are going to say. BUT the same approach can be applied to any conversation which may knock you off your confidence balance.
These 6 ideas are by no means the only ones I can share with you however, try some or all of these ideas out and reflect on how successful they have been.
Check back into this blog on a regular basis to see other tips and ideas to help you with confidence at work.