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How to Walk in Any Room with Confidence

How to Walk in Any Room with Confidence

Fake it ’til you make it. We often hear this advice, but how true is it really? According to social psychologist Amy Cuddy, very. “Your body language shapes who you are,” she said. In a recent TED talk, she showed the world how our posture affects testosterone and cortisol levels in our brains, which plays a part in determining how we feel about ourselves.

Standing tall, even when you don’t feel confident, projects confidence. Those who project confidence often receive more praise, promotions and other positive reactions than those who look meek or low.

1. Know your audience.

When dressing for the day, understand who you will be speaking to and create daily dressing ritual that includes the question: “Who am I speaking with today?” Headed to a board meeting? Dress conservatively, wearing clean lines and traditional business attire. Taking the boss to lunch? A more business casual outfit might be appropriate. When in doubt, go with a classic look that can fit all sorts of situations.

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2. Strike a pose.

A power pose can help you gain confidence before you head into that meeting or lunch. Find a private place, stand tall and open your arms up and above your head in a “V” shape. According to Cuddy, this can make you feel and act powerful. Imagine the thrust up arms of victory many athletes use after winning or completing a race.

Alternatively, when you are standing at the coffee maker and your boss walks in, striking the “Wonder Woman” pose with your hands on your hips and your chest broad, can also exude confidence. This pose makes you look bigger and keeps you from looking meek.

3. Reset your emotions.

This can be harder to say than do, but when you’re very nervous, try to reset your emotions. Take a private moment to breathe deeply and perhaps concentrate on the points you need to make rather than the nervousness you feel. If you go through your points deliberately, you’ll be able to reduce your nervousness and start your presentation off confidently.

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4. Accept nervousness.

Nervousness is there for a reason. Accept it. Your body gets nervous to sharpen your wits and prepare you for the battle ahead. Now, you may not be a caveman heading off to battle a wooly mammoth—or a bear, but you are heading into your own personal battle. Embrace the feeling. Understand that it’s there to help you and let it give you confidence.

5. Visualize the outcome.

What do you want to happen at the end of this meeting? Picture it. Vividly. Take a little time beforehand and go through the presentation. Have you ever watched a skiing event on TV? At the top of the hill, have you seen the skiers close their eyes and move their bodies or heads? They are visualizing the ski run. They go through each twist and turn before it happens. Do this with your presentation. See what you need to do before you do it and it will likely be successful.

6. Enter with pride.

Walk into the room, whether it’s a meeting or a lunch, with a smile on your face and your arms open for greeting. Avoid placing your hands in your pockets, which indicates low self-confidence or across your chest, indicating protectiveness. Shake hands, if it’s appropriate, and keep your stance open while giving your presentation.

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7. Gesticulate and animate.

Be an animated presenter. Use your arms and hands to express yourself. Point to important elements of your presentation and interact with members of the team.

 

Being confident and showing confidence are often two different things. You don’t have to be confident to look it. Look confident long enough and eventually, your confidence will grow. Or as Bob Dylan said, “Act the way you’d like to be and you’ll soon be the way you act.”

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Featured photo credit: DC Comics via media.dcentertainment.com

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Michelle Kennedy Hogan

Michelle is an explorer, editor, author of 15 books, and mom of eight.

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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