If there is one event that is sure to strike fear in every fibre of your being, it is having to deliver a best man speech. It’s a mixture of honour that you have been asked, but also dread that you have to not only talk in front of hundreds of people, but are expected to be at least a little bit funny!
About a year ago, I had to be that guy when I was asked to be best man and deliver a speech. On the day, the moment crept closer and closer with each hour that passed. Feeling nervous, I needed to utilise every confidence trick I had in order to not appear like a mumbling wreck.
What is confidence?
When asked what prevents aspiring actors and directors from fulfilling their ambition, the famed director Francis Ford Coppola simply replied, “self-confidence”. When people think of confidence, it is seen as an elusive trait that others have but they don’t. They tell themselves that lack of confidence is why they don’t have the job they want, the partner they want, or the skills they need.
The truth is confidence is what appears after you go for what you want; it is the result of stepping into the unknown in spite of feeling nervous or fearful. This can take time, however, and in the meantime there are certain tricks you can implement that temporarily make you feel confident while you work on confidence being a default habitual state.
Below are 5 patterns my clients and I have used in order to feel confident quickly. Have a play and notice how much more confident you feel afterwards.
1. Tall posture
Walk around any city and as you people-watch, pick out the ones who lack confidence. 9 times out of 10 the people you choose will be looking down at the ground, shoulders hunched forward, taking up as little space as possible. How you hold yourself physically plays a big part in how your hold yourself mentally, so in order to begin to feel confident, you should hold your body in a way that communicates confidence. This means standing tall, shoulders & head back, being aware of what is around you, and keeping hand motioning to an absolute minimum. After ensuring you adopt this posture, don’t be surprised when people start to see you as a confident individual.
2. Change your environment
Recent research aimed at those who spent their whole day in offices found that spending just two minutes walking in areas with a lot of greenery can have a positive effect on one’s mood. The reason this worked was because when you change your environment you change the stimuli that is going into your brain—this affects your moment-by-moment perception of the world.
An example of this would be writers who feel their most creative in bustling coffee shops. In order to make full use of this pattern, think of places you frequent where you feel your most creative, happiest, relaxed. Aim to go to these places when you feel low in confidence.
3. Do something you are good at
Whenever you are doing something new, like speaking in public or learning a new skill, you are putting yourself in a position where you might fail. Web humans like to protect our egos, so we tend to feel bad when we fail and ultimately wonder if we should quit, but any skill that’s worthwhile will always be preceded by failure as you go through the process of learning.
By combining this process with doing something you are good at, you won’t find yourself in the depths of despair 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When you do something you are good at, you feel good and your confidence is high. Be aware of your strengths and do them daily.
Low confidence is always solidified with negative thoughts, and your thoughts will influence your behaviour and decision. A reframe can change the direction of your thoughts. The easiest way to reframe your thoughts are via questions: When you ask a question, your brain hunts for an answer, so you can take advantage of this by asking questions that can allow you to feel more confident. To give you a framework to make this work for you here are 3 starter questions;
1. How can I make this work in my favour?
2. What is the benefit that has come from this?
3. What is a more useful way of looking at this?
Over the next week, when you catch yourself having negative thoughts, ask these 3 questions and notice how a change in your thinking has you feeling more confident.
5. Breath and future thought
Feelings that bring about low confidence like fear & anxiety can result in 2 effects; shallow breathing and thoughts of a disastrous future (seeing everyone laughing and throwing things at you as you speak, for example). You can counteract this by having periods of intentionally breathing deeply and visualising a future where you are handling situations in a controlled and confident manner. By doing this, you will begin to feel more confident in the present moment as a result. To get good at this so you can perform it in an instant, dedicate 5 minutes a day in a calm environment so you can rely on it when you need it most.
To conclude, we all have times when we need a confident boost. By regularly practicing these 5 patterns you will find yourself able to cope with those low moments much more efficiently and promptly.