Advertising
Advertising

9 Keys To Confidence

9 Keys To Confidence

You see THEM all around you:

Walking confidently into a bar and asking someone for their number.

Expressing their views in a company town hall meeting.

Asking the dreaded question to their boss. All these folks are reeking of confidence!! Do you wish you had the confidence that they possess, to do the things they do and say the perfect things they say?

When you hear the word ‘successful’ who comes to your mind first? Someone on TV or real life who seems to feel no fear and says the perfect thing and does things confidently, right? Yes, Confidence is tied to success, and vice versa.

There are several assumptions we make about these confident people.
Firstly, we assume confident people are born that way and possess a natural ability to do or say things that you cannot do or say. They can walk into a bar and talk to someone, because it is an innate ability that they possess. Because of their ‘inborn gift’, they can go anywhere, say anything and do anything.

Advertising

Fortunately, that is not true! Confidence is a learnable skill. No one was born feeling confident or not confident. We were all born as clean slates. The years of social conditioning and all the other factors make us adopt certain mindsets. Would you be surprised if I told you that you can feel confident this very moment? Yes, you can tell yourself that you need to feel confident right now and you can probably turn it on like a switch. The only difference is that the switch does not stay on forever and will probably flick down in a minute after you adopt that attitude and mindset. The later part of this article will address how to adopt and sustain the confidence mindset.

Another assumption about confidence is that confident people are never scared. Again, this is untrue. Confident people can be scared like the rest of us; they have the same set of limiting thoughts and fears that make them feel not confident at times. What sets them apart is their ability to rise above these fears and forge ahead despite them.

The third assumption is that confident people are confident in all areas of their lives. This isn’t necessarily true. Someone who is confident to ask their boss for a raise may not necessarily feel confident to ask someone out on a date, or vice versa.

Confidence is not necessarily about knowing all the answers; it’s about being able to move forward knowing that you will figure it out. It is knowing that you can handle whatever comes at you.

Here are some strategies and tips for upping your confidence level to make it ever-lasting. Like with all mind-related work, these tools and strategies will produce results only if they are ingrained in the DNA of your being. That begins with consciously practicing them until living in this way becomes a truly ingrained habit.

1. Awareness of your strengths

Not many of us have consciously taken time to understand our own strengths. Being aware of one’s own strengths is an important tool in boosting confidence. There are many online resources and books to help you find your own strengths. StrengthFinder 2.0 is a great book and also provides an online assessment to identify your top strengths. You will be surprised at how spot on it is. The key for success with this strategy is to identify your strengths and constantly remind yourself of them. Make a a list of these strengths and keep it in a handy spot like your wallet, your work desk, or your mirror. That way you can constantly remind yourself of your strengths and play to them. Playing to your strengths will help in making you feel confident about your abilities and provide a constant boost.

Advertising

2. Confidence-competence loop

The more you do something, the better you become. When you first started riding a bike, you faltered and fell a few times. But you kept at it. The more you tried it, the better you got. And one day, you were able to ride successfully without falling, to the point that you now thoroughly enjoy riding the bike. This is the same competence-confidence loop that you can employ in other areas of your life.

Try it during situations that make you feel uncomfortable and not confident. If you hate eating alone at a restaurant, do it every day for the next 2 or 3 weeks. It’s going to feel weird and uncomfortable at first. The first few times you are not going to feel confident and the hour could feel long. But by the end of the third week, i guarantee you will feel more confident. If you fear public speaking, do it enough and you will see that fear disappear. Very soon, you will be delivering presentations with confidence and ease. This is also tied to the next tip.

3. What’s the worst that can happen?

Often times, that little voice in our heads stops us from doing something and asks questions like:

“Am I sure? Does this make sense for me? Am I capable of this? Do I know all I need to know to do a good job? What if I don’t succeed? What if people laugh at me?” and so on.

That’s when asking a simple question like “What’s the worst that can happen?” may offer a different perspective and a potential way to turn that voice off. What’s the worst that can happen when you try to ask someone out on a date? They could say no. Is that the end of the world? Filter your thoughts through the lens of abundance. Try the ‘whats the worst that can happen?’ tactic the next time that little voice in your head starts asking questions.

4. Past successes

“The more you acknowledge your past successes, the more confident you become in taking on and successfully accomplishing new ones” – Jack Canfield.

Jack captures the essence of this strategy perfectly with this above quote. Even small successes are successes to be noted and celebrated. Every small step that is accomplished towards a major goal is still a step to be celebrated. Sometimes we are so lost in reaching the end goal, we forget to acknowledge the little steps that we take and the little achievements we reach on our path to the goal. Each of these successes from your past should be resurrected in your memory often, serving as a reminder about your abilities and again injecting you with a confidence boost.

5. Preparation

For certain tasks, just preparing well ahead of time soothes that negative voice in the head and prevents it from popping up again. Preparing for a speech that you do not feel confident delivering, or a meeting with your boss, or anything that can be prepared for, is definitely a surefire tactic for increasing confidence.

6. Say thank you for compliments

When someone compliments you for anything – for your work, the way you did something, the way you said something or simply for the way you look, how do you react? Do you shrug it off and say ‘it was nothing’, ‘I am not sure why I was given this award’, I don’t deserve it’, ‘I just got lucky this time around’… all these are indicators of weakened confidence.

You do not believe enough in yourself to accept compliments.

Switch out that thinking and start accepting compliments graciously. When given a compliment learn to say thank you comfortably, thanking the person for recognizing your efforts and offering support. It is a display of belief in yourself which repeated consciously over a period of time begins to deeply seat itself in your mind- leading to stronger levels of confidence.

7. Fake it ’til you make it

There are 2 opposing views on this strategy. Some advocates strongly believe that ‘faking it ’til you succeed’ can increase your confidence and thereby increase your competence. The opposing view believes that it is not ethically right to fake it in the first place. I suggest an in-between approach.

Advertising

You’ve heard of dressing for success. It is a form of faking it ’til you make it. You dress ‘up’ to get the job you want. That does not mean you are not competent or that you are faking it. It means that you want the job and believe you can perform well in that role, and you are displaying that attitude in your external appearances as it relates to the job. You can’t fake being a professional singer if all you do is sing in the shower. But if you are a great singer with true capabilities and experience, looking for better singing opportunities, using a little ’embellishment’ is not wrong. In fact, you are not even faking it at that point.

8. The power of affirmations

Affirmations are simple, positive, and specific statements written in the present tense with the sole purpose of changing one’s thoughts. These sentences help in strengthening and reinforcing beliefs you need to achieve success. Affirmations practiced faithfully rewire the brain and help us break negative thought patterns. The best thing about affirmations is that there is no limit to the number of affirmations you can create and say- and each affirmation can be unique for you and for the thought pattern you are trying to break.

The key to finding success with affirmations is through repeating the affirmations on a consistent basis, preferably multiple times- and saying them with conviction. Give this a power boost by standing in front of the mirror and saying these affirmations as you look at yourself. Some examples of affirmations for boosting self-confidence are:

  • I have confidence in my ability to do whatever I set my mind to;
  • I am discovering more wonderful things about myself with each passing day;
  • I truly like myself and this helps others to accept me for who I am;
  • I believe in myself completely;
  • I believe that I can achieve anything I want;
  • My ability to conquer my challenges is limitless;
  • My potential to succeed is infinite;
  • I acknowledge my own self-worth; 
  • My confidence is soaring.

9. Gratitude

In today’s fast paced society, we are generally lost in the daily grind of life and the tendency is to focus on the negative and the bad things that make life a challenge at times. We forget to think about and appreciate the positive. Appreciating each and every small blessing in our lives becomes a task taken for granted and we even forget that those little blessings are in fact blessings that make our life beautiful in some way.

Another great habit to form is the habit of making time to be grateful. Start a gratitude journal and spend 2-3 minutes every night expressing 3-5 things in your life that you are thankful for. Write them down. The power of the written word has been constantly proven to be stronger than the spoken. What you are grateful for every night need not be something profound. Small things like the smell of freshly baked cookies, hugs from your kids, to big things like a promotion at work, or an hour of uninterrupted reading could be things to be thankful for. Some days, I am just thankful to be alive- healthy and kicking. There is no limit to the number of things you can be grateful for. Make this a daily habit and see a tremendous change in your attitude to people and life. You’ll also see your confidence surging ahead when you realize what a great life you have.

As mentioned earlier, all these strategies and tools involve conscious effort and repetition until they become ingrained into your life. But the effort is well worth it when you see a constant upsurge in your confidence levels.

Advertising

What other strategies do you use to up-level your confidence?

Featured photo credit: http://www.imcreator.com/free/business/suit-and-tie-2 via imcreator.com

More by this author

Career Strategies I Wish I Knew Earlier In My 20s 8 Ways To Think Different And Develop Your Own Opinion 7 Things You Should Stop Saying To Millennials Why Grateful People Live Longer And Lead A Happier Life youtube This Is How Successful YouTubers Run Their Channels

Trending in Communication

1 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy 2 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 3 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake 4 7 Science-Backed Books About Spirituality That Will Change Your Life 5 20 Things Life Is Too Short to Worry About

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

Advertising

1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

Advertising

3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

Advertising

It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

Advertising

Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next