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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 May 22, 2019

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

If you spend any time at all researching life hacks, you’ve probably heard of the famous Pomodoro Technique.

Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is one of the more popular time management life hacks used today. But this method isn’t for everyone, and for every person who is a passionate adherent of the system, there is another person who is critical of the results.

Is the Pomodoro Technique right for you? It’s a matter of personal preference. But if you are curious about the benefits of using the technique, this article will break down the basic information you will need to decide if this technique is worth trying out.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy that aims to provide the user with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing them to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue.

The process is simple:

For every project throughout the day, you budget your time into short increments and take breaks periodically.

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You work for 25 minutes, then take break for five minutes.

Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and thus the method’s name.

After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.

Every time you finish a pomodoro, you mark your progress with an “X”, and note the number of times you had the impulse to procrastinate or switch gears to work on another task for each 25-minute chunk of time.

How the Pomodoro Technique boosts your productivity

Frequent breaks keep your mind fresh and focused. According to the official Pomodoro website, the system is easy to use and you will see results very quickly:

“You will probably begin to notice a difference in your work or study process within a day or two. True mastery of the technique takes from seven to twenty days of constant use.”

If you have a large and varied to-do list, using the Pomodoro Technique can help you crank through projects faster by forcing you to adhere to strict timing.

Watching the timer wind down can spur you to wrap up your current task more quickly, and spreading a task over two or three pomodoros can keep you from getting frustrated.

The constant timing of your activities makes you more accountable for your tasks and minimizes the time you spend procrastinating.

You’ll grow to “respect the tomato”, and that can help you to better handle your workload.

Successful people who love it

Steven Sande of The Unofficial Apple Weblog is a fan of the system, and has compiled a great list of Apple-compatible Pomodoro tools.

Before he started using the technique, he said,

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“Sometimes I couldn’t figure out how to organize a single day in my calendar, simply because I would jump around to all sorts of projects and never get even one of them accomplished.”

Another proponent of the Pomodoro Technique is Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal. Shellenbarger tried out this system along with several other similar methods for time management, and said,

“It eased my anxiety over the passing of time and also made me more efficient; refreshed by breaks, for example, I halved the total time required to fact-check a column.”

Any cons for the Pomodoro Technique?

Despite the number of Pomodoro-heads out there, the system isn’t without its critics. Colin T. Miller, a Yahoo! employee and blogger, tried using the Pomodoro Technique and had some issues:[1]

“Pomodoros are an all or nothing affair. Either you work for 25 minutes straight to mark your X or you don’t complete a pomodoro. Since marking that X is the measurable sign of progress, you start to shy away from engaging in an activity if it won’t result in an X. For instance…meetings get in the way of pomodoros. Say I have a meeting set for 4:30pm. It is currently 4:10pm, meaning I only have 20 minutes between now and the meeting…In these instances I tend to not start a pomodoro because I won’t have enough time to complete it anyway.”

Another critic is Mario Fusco, who argues that the Pomodoro Technique is…well…sort of ridiculous:[2]

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“Aren’t we really able to keep ourselves concentrated without a timer ticketing on our desk?… Have you ever seen a civil engineer using a timer to keep his concentration while working on his projects?… I think that, like any other serious professional, I can stay concentrated on what I am doing for hours… Bring back your timer to your kitchen and start working in a more professional and effective way.”

Conclusion

One of the best things about the Pomodoro Technique is that it’s free. Yeah, you can fork over some bills to get a tomato-shaped timer if you want… or you can use any timer program on your computer or phone. So even if you try it and hate it, you haven’t lost any cash.

The process isn’t ideal for every person, or in any line of work. But if you need a systematic way to tackle your daily to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique may fit your needs.

If you want to learn more about the Pomodoro Technique, check out this article: How to Make the Pomodoro Technique More Productive

Reference

[1] Aspirations of a Software Developer: A Month of the Pomodoro Technique
[2] InfoQ: A Critique of the Pomodoro Technique

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