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11 Easy Ways To Boost Your Confidence

11 Easy Ways To Boost Your Confidence

When I was a manager, I was never very good at speaking at meetings. In fact, I hated them! Now, thinking back to that period in my life, I think it was mainly a lack of confidence in my skills and abilities.

If I had to do it all over again, this is what I would concentrate on. If you can resonate with all this, here are 11 ways you can boost your confidence.

1. Your lack of confidence is not so obvious.

You probably think that everyone in the room is looking at how you behave, speak and move. The truth is that people are all too often, absorbed in their own thoughts.

They are thinking about their next move, future plans and what they are going to have for dinner! Keeping this in mind helps you to become less intimidated by the people around you.

2. Be your hero for a day.

Who is your hero? You can bet your bottom dollar that they are full of self assurance and confidence. It probably oozes out of every pore in the way they dress, speak and walk! The secret is to pretend to be your hero and ask yourself how she or he would deal with this awful problem which is nagging you.

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Stepping outside that vicious circle where you and the ‘problem’ spin around out of control is really helpful. You can imagine a different, happier ending when you pretend to be your hero.

3. Take a philosophical approach.

The break up was unpleasant and has left you feeling un-confident. Take a philosophical approach where you think this has been a useful experience. You learned that this person was not for you, you will recognize the warning signs the next time and the right person is waiting in the wings.

It just takes time but why beat yourself up for something which was not entirely your fault? You cannot win every game in the championship. Just think that you are still on a winning streak because you have a lot going for you.

4. Build your support team.

“I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.” – The Beatles

Choosing supportive friends will be essential to help you boost your confidence. These are the precious friends and family members who are always there to tell you that you can do it when faced with a problem, challenge or minor disaster.

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Avoid toxic friends who are likely to point out the buts and ifs, rather than tell you to go for it. The classic one is where they say that there will be stiff competition for that dream job. Your support team will be rooting for you and egging you on. That makes all the difference.

5. Take a humorous approach.

“Laugh, and the whole world laughs with you.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Most speakers tell a joke or maybe laugh a little at themselves. Why do they do this? Laughter produces those endorphins which makes everybody in the audience feel better and it also relaxes them. A lot of the tension goes.

The audience warms to the speaker and are generally much less critical. If you want to feel more confident, just watch one of the funny videos here. You will immediately feel better. I love the one with Mayson Zayid whose talk is entitled ‘I got 99 problems … palsy is just one.’

6. Watch your body language.

Do you walk or slouch? Is your handshake firm? Making eye contact is vital when you are networking or speaking at a meeting. There is no doubt that body language sends a powerful message. Why not take advantage of it and convince others and, more importantly yourself, that you are confident and you can meet all the challenges with ease?

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Watch Amy Cuddy on how important body language is when we want to feel confident.

7. Build a Pinterest board.

What does your future look like and how do you want your life to be? One of the best ways is to build a vision board. You can have a notice board in your kitchen with favorite quotes and pictures that inspire you. This is difficult to organize and you may not have the space you need.

Why not build a Pinterest board? Repin the images and the quotes that build your confidence and also that fit in with your goals. You get a vision of your future and this will help to build your confidence. Taking a few minutes a day to do this is much more fruitful than trying to keep up with all your Facebook ‘friends’.

8. Self-confidence is about you.

 “Self-confidence is the experience of being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and being worthy of happiness.”- Nathaniel Branden

Think of it like this. Your confidence is like the motor that drives you. If that is defective in some way, then you will never even get into top gear. You are held back because of the fear of failing. But if you have a superb engine, then you are going to race ahead and achieve success. That is real confidence.

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Watch out for the triggers that can affect your confidence level. You may be late for work and rushed into a meeting, in which your performance is dismal. Plan ahead so that these triggers do not get a chance to catch up on you.

9. Cut down on the negativity.

Everybody gets overwhelmed at times by the negative self-talk that we inflict on ourselves. There are about 80,000 thoughts that flash through the brain every day. Let us think of some practical examples. We may be assaulted by worries, doubts and problems. They crowd in on us.

But a good tactic is always to ask yourself if it is really true. Very often, the answer is that is based on a negative scenario which is like a contagious disease, infecting every train of thought. The secret is to cultivate a state of mindfulness and choose to take another road at the negative intersection. This is a great chance to build new, positive beliefs and stories about ourselves. “I have achieved so much,” needs to be your mantra.

10. Give yourself a daily mini confidence boost.

Listen to your favorite music or wear those clothes that make you look and feel really great. Read some inspiring poem or quote. Write it on a post it and place it on your computer at work. These little boosts of confidence can set the tone for a much more positive day.Try them out.

11. Teach others and benefit yourself.

When you set the example for your loved ones and colleagues by teaching them to be more confident, you will be surprised at your own results. Yes, teaching it by complimenting and encouraging people around you will pay you handsome dividends. Walk the talk and you find that your own confidence levels will soar as a result.

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Featured photo credit: Mona Lisa Eyes/Emilio Labrador via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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