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12 Unexpected Ways To Boost Self-Confidence You Should Try

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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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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