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9 Easy Ways To Boost Your Confidence

9 Easy Ways To Boost Your Confidence

Finding that extra dose of confidence in times of personal uncertainty is a tricky thing to master. And even when you’re able to find it, it can be even more difficult to maintain. Confidence is, however, one of the strongest personal traits we can posses. It has the remarkable power to help you maintain positivity and happiness in your life at a consistent rate.

Building confidence is a never-ending uphill battle, and cultivating it is a gradual process. But here are 9 easy ways to boost your confidence and help you feel like the worthy person you already are:

1. Don’t obsess over others

I used to believe that happiness and confidence was only for the famous or well-liked, but that’s not the case. Comparing your life to others is dangerous because it normally leaves you feeling worthless in some aspect. They have something you lack or they’re leading a life that you think you want. Keep in mind that everyone is human, and part of being human is dealing with things that aren’t always pleasant. Even LeBron James and Jennifer Lawrence have personal issues that challenge their confidence daily. Instead of focusing on what you lack, focus on your goals, talents, and the things you enjoy doing most. Cultivate your passions instead of trying to change them.

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2. It’s okay to work in silence

For whatever reason, our culture is led to believe that the loud-mouth, showoff, pompous people are the most confident of the bunch. We believe worth goes unnoticed if you’re not socially recognized for something. This, too, is not the case. It’s often the ones with the most humility, who prefer work out of the public limelight, who are the most confident. Someone who shows a true display of strength, depth, and pure self confidence is the one who can continue pursuing a dream without a constant stream of public appraisal.

3. Everyone isn’t out to get you

I promise, it’s not just you who thinks you’re a walking target. You’re not the only one worrying about how others think about or perceive you. We all do it. Sadly, and thankfully in this case, we’re all pretty self-absorbed. Our internal dialogue, when we’re not petrified that others are judging us, usually defaults to the bills we have to pay, the chores we wished our roommate did, or the spaghetti we’re eating for the fifth time this week (…and it’s only Wednesday). Everyone else is fixated on something personal that’s looming, not the haircut you think looks bad or the small stain on your pants.

4. It’s okay to laugh it off

Everyone messes up from time to time. It’s pretty unavoidable unless you annex yourself somewhere deep underground or far into the woods, which would be a fairly anti-social existence. An easy way to boost self confidence is to accept your flaws, foibles, and failings in stride, with the understanding that mistakes build character. Every rejection or face plant is an opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed on the next try. Even if you can’t muster a chuckle when you fall, try at least smiling.

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5. Let go of what you can’t control

Everyone wants to be in charge of their own life. The things that happen, the people they meet, the way things play out, anything and everything in respect to our life we want to control. Sadly, this just isn’t possible. In an effort to avoid a theological debate, no one can control everything that happens to them. What you can always control, no matter what happens externally, is your attitude and reaction. To echo the previous point, take negative happenings and occurrences in stride with the hope of growth and thankfulness for the learning opportunity.

6. Compliment others

Being internally negative often results in outward negative habits like gossip, insults, and passive aggression. An effective way to help change your negative internal dialogue is to consciously change your habits of praising others. Take a stand against focusing on irritating things other people do and look for the best in them instead. Also, honesty and sincerity go a long way with compliments. People can tell when it’s forced or fabricated. If you try to actively bring out the best in others, you will in turn be well very well-liked.

7. Collaborate with others

We’re all consistently too hard on ourselves. When we initially take on a project, or try to do something, we feel alone and solely responsible for the outcome. This, in turn, causes us to focus on the parts of the project we’re deficient in, lowering self confidence further. So, what if you were to gather like-minded people who share specialized skill sets to make something really great? This will allow and encourage you to focus on something you’re really good at. You’ll not only contribute to something you believe in, but your talents will also be recognized and praised by others.

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8. Take yourself out on a date

We’re existing in the most interconnected period in the history of mankind. With the advent of social media networks, it feels like we’re always having six conversations at one time. Even though a slew of likes, comments, and post shares can elevate your self esteem, it can also leave us feeling worthless in times when we’re not getting any social media engagement. Sadly, lots of people, especially millennials, are letting their happiness run parallel with the amount of likes their latest Instagram post received. This is far from healthy. Try taking a step back, leaving your phone in a safe place, and spending some time alone doing one of your favorite activities.

9. Be kind

A simple idea that’s often the hardest to practice. One of the easiest ways to elevate your self worth is to do worthy things for others and yourself. Going the extra mile to help a friend in a pinch or staying an extra hour to bail out a coworker on a huge report will instantly make you feel confident. And, much like the sixth point above, kindness and “good vibes” always seem to find their way back to you. Simply put, if you act in accordance with the Golden Rule, you’ll start to think more highly of yourself.

Confidence is evasive, but you can find it. Utilizing the tips and steps listed above is a great place to start. Confidence isn’t built when the answers are known, but instead when you’re ready to face the questions.

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Featured photo credit: Smiling Girl Wallpaper via wallpaperseries.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!

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Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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