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12 Unexpected Ways To Boost Self-Confidence You Should Try

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12 Unexpected Ways To Boost Self-Confidence You Should Try

In order to boost self-confidence, you need to own your self-confidence. Do you depend too much on others’ opinions of you? Are you crushed by an inconsiderate statement from a co-worker? Scrap that way of thinking and know everything is on you. Only YOU have the power to be confident, and to help your confidence grow. Once you own it, try out these simple, unexpected ways you can boost your self-confidence even higher.

1. Look good.

You know how uncomfortable you feel when you wear dress shoes that are too stiff to move your toes, or a high-necked shirt, or anything else that doesn’t make you feel like your true self? It’s hard to be confident when you’re uncomfortable! Now imagine how comfortable you feel in your worn-in jeans and favorite t-shirt. Totally different, right? You feel sure of yourself because you feel like yourself. Looking good isn’t just about looking polished and put together – looking good is about feeling good! Make sure you’re wearing clothes that fit you well and look nice on you. Style your hair in a flattering way, brush your teeth until they shine, pluck and groom and do whatever you need to look good, and you’ll feel confident!

2. Smile in the mirror.

It sounds silly, but it helps! Instead of brushing your teeth and then frowning at your reflection, smile! Even if you don’t like what you see, a smile will help turn your attitude around. Even if you start with a fake smile, the action itself will affect you, and before you know it that smile will reach your eyes and turn genuine. Also know smiles make people look more attractive, so this goes hand in hand with looking good! Smiles make you more appealing to others, so if you smile as you walk the halls at work or check out at the grocery store, you’re more likely to feel confident because other people will smile back at you.

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3. Change your body language.

Everyone criticizes tall people who fold themselves into parenthesis, and it’s true – posture and body language say a lot about your confidence level! If you’re tall, stand proud! If you’re short, own every inch! Own your body and stand and walk proudly in it. Also, don’t act meek – not only will others think you’re timid, you’ll start to feel that way yourself! If you shoot your hand up to talk in a meeting, or go out of your way to get attention to speak to someone, you’ll come across as confident, and start to feel that way yourself – even if you’re just acting!

4. Think positive.

How you think influences so much about yourself, your day, your attitude, and your confidence. If you always expect the worst, then you’re more than likely always hunched over with a sad look on your face, defeated before you even begin. If you worry all the time, your fingernails might be bitten to the quick and your lip chewed until it bleeds. Thinking positive means you have faith in yourself, which will not only affect your body language, but changes your brain around. Instead of worrying about a work presentation, you might even be excited for it because you know it’s time for you to show off all you can do!

5. Kill negative thoughts.

This sounds like another way to word “think positive,” but it’s different! Killing negative thoughts means you don’t allow negative thoughts to take over your mind. Sometimes thinking positively seems too hard because you’re already down in the dumps and it seems impossible to climb out. Instead of getting to that point, be proactive and kill negative thoughts as they occur. When you find yourself thinking “This is too hard. I can’t do it. I’m going to go play a game instead,” squash these thoughts as if it were a bug! Replace it with a positive spin like, “This is so hard, but I’m going to do it to prove I can.” Instead of feeling like you have to pull yourself out of the dumps, you’ll feel like you’re conquering negativity and giving yourself an extra push ahead.

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6. Learn to accept failure.

If you got passed over for a promotion at work, don’t get depressed about it. Accept it as a failure and move on. The quicker you can accept and move past failure, the quicker you will be able to improve yourself and reach for bigger and better goals next time. Letting failure cripple you will make you insecure overall, and make it harder for you to boost your confidence later.

7. Improve your emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence (also called “EQ”) is the ability to evaluate and control your emotions, and better understand others’ emotions. Some people think EQ is just as important as IQ, because it’s so important for social interactions and relating to other people. If you can better understand and control your emotions, you’ll feel more confident in daily life because you won’t worry about breaking down when the going gets tough, or flying off the handle if your boss yells at you. It also helps because you’ll feel stronger and you will more easily relate to those around you, which will make you feel confident because people will come to you for advice and a listening ear.

8. Practice proficiency.

The better you are at what you do, the more confident you’ll feel about it. Think of how satisfied you feel when you go to work, do your best, and go home knowing you’ve made a difference that day. You can do this in every aspect of your daily life by practicing what you do, studying, and trying to find new ways to make things easier to do while producing better results.

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9. Avoid perfectionism.

No one is perfect, so don’t pressure yourself to do everything right. This goes along with accepting failure, because you need to know you don’t have to be perfect. It’s ok to send out an email with a typo in it – don’t beat yourself up! Correct yourself, or make sure to double-check next time. If you don’t expect yourself to be perfect all of the time, you’ll feel less pressure, so you’ll be more comfortable in your skin – and more confident in your abilities!

10. Celebrate your achievements.

Don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back when you meet a goal! Even if it’s the easiest item on your to-do list, recognize you have accomplished it and get pleasure from that. Sometimes you might be the only one who acknowledges any success. Don’t depend on praise from your boss, or even family members. If you congratulate yourself for your achievements, then you’ll be giving yourself a confidence boost that will push you to accomplish even more in the future.

11. Do a good deed.

What makes you feel better than doing something nice for someone else? You can volunteer, give your change to a homeless person on the street, pay for the order of the person behind you, or even give an honest compliment. Making someone else feel good is going to make you feel good in return. Once you start doing good deeds, you’ll find they come easily, and improving others’ days so often will definitely make you feel more confident!

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12. Seek your passion.

How happy do you feel when you’re doing what you love? Are you passionate about art, or writing, or interior design? Or even your job? Find what you love to do, and make as much time to do it as you possibly can. Doing something you love and are good at will make you feel confident because you feel proud of yourself and productive with what you’ve done. This will help boost your confidence so you’ll excel in other areas of your life, also!

Featured photo credit: NomadicLass via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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