You can have all of the accomplishments, accolades, and wealth in the world but still not feel the confidence that these things afford. It’s especially challenging when you’re rising up, trying hard to make a name for yourself, grow as an expert and successful professional, but you feel, at times, ill-equipped in the field that you’re in.
These moments of self-doubt are tough enough to wrestle with on a personal level, but they’re more difficult to combat when surrounded by peers.
When you are lacking confidence, it’s crucial that you know how to project it. There is value in being upfront and honest with your struggles, absolutely, but as a professional looking to rise to the top, nothing is more beneficial than the ability to broadcast confidence—be it in yourself and your own ability, in your company, or in the product that you are selling.
So how do you ooze confidence when you feel lacking? As someone who has, over his career, experienced all of the ups and downs, I can offer some insight into portraying an air of confidence even on your off days.
7 Ways to Show Confidence Even When Your Don’t Feel It
1) Be still.
Fidgeting shows a lack of confidence. While some of us are plagued with nervous energy, you must overcome the compulsion to fiddle with pens, your hands, tap your foot, or perform all manner of physical distractions when you want to appear confident. Even gestures, like fixing your hair, crossing one’s arms excessively, or doing any repeated motions, can portray nervousness or anxiety.
Instead, focus on being still and relaxed. This portrays poise and intention rather than a lack of focus.
2) Speak slowly and clearly.
Enunciating your words says a lot about confidence. It might not seem like much, but if you’ve ever spoken to someone who has trouble with mumbling, you know how profoundly unconfident it seems. Speak intentionally. Pick a slow-to-medium pace, as speaking too quickly risks stumbling over your works. Speak a bit louder than you might normally and take the time to really articulate rather than slur. Keep the energy going throughout the full word or sentence and you’ll find yourself struggling less with problems of verbal clarity.
3) Walk tall.
Posture is important not only when considering your back health but in projecting confidence. Shoulders back and back straight are incredibly valuable when considering how you walk and move. This height when sitting or standing makes you look at the ready, centered, and prepared, rathered than messy, sleepy, or depressed. It makes you appear alert and tall.
As a confident person, you almost want to demand more space in a room—particularly height.
4) Watch your inflection.
Inflection at the end of your sentence can convey confidence—or not. When you lack confidence, you will (often unconsciously) end sentences with an upward lilt, in a question. This can come off as though you are questioning yourself or asking others for permission to speak. Be intentional, instead, about forcing a confident, downward tone on your inflection, ending each sentence almost as one would a command.
5) Make eye contact.
People who lack confidence don’t make eye contact. So force yourself to make it. Maintaining eye contact draws people to you—it forces them to focus, rather than find another distraction. If you’re in a group, cycle your eye contact between members of the group, which will draw the whole in towards you and everything you’re saying and doing. Eye contact is subtle but powerful.
If you look away (and you must, as unbroken eye contact can become unsettling), keep your gaze level, rather than looking down. When we look down, it conveys antisocial tendencies, particularly when walking. While you may want this when you’re power-walking to make it to the office on time, you don’t want to duck your head down in the middle of a meet-and-greet.
6) Groom with care.
Personal grooming habits are more important than you might think. Not only do they project confidence, but they create it. There are a few essential elements to good grooming: clothes that fit well, hair well kept, and smelling clean and fresh. Cologne is acceptable if not overbearing—one or two sprays is plenty.
Good grooming demonstrates care and confidence in one’s self—one that you will feel and embody. People who feel good in their clothes feel good about themselves, and everyone can tell.
7) Use contact wisely.
The key word here is wisely. Not everyone will be comfortable with physical contact, so it’s important that you know how to read when it is and is not appropriate and with whom. The physical contact I’m talking about is in little things—a pat on the back or shoulder, or a firm handshake. Any contact should be brief and a sign of appreciation and respect.
Conveying your confidence in other people says to them that you feel confident in yourself. Remember: confidence is less about ego and more about self-assurance. There is a subtle but valuable difference between the two. One tries to prove what he has and is threatened by others, the other knows he has nothing to prove and is glad to see others succeed.
What subtle changes have you made to give you a boost of confidence? Share your tactics in the comments.