Some of us are confident by nature, yet most of us experience some level of imposter syndrome when faced with a new opportunity or challenge. It’s normal to feel nervous or hesitant when embarking on a new task or one that’s a bit beyond our experience level. We all know that the magic happens beyond our comfort zone—so let’s talk about how to look more confident when stretching.
There’s a lot written these days about the strength that comes with being vulnerable. I agree that admitting your fears can forge stronger relationships with loved ones as well as people you work with closely. However, there are some work situations where you don’t want to let them see you sweat. You want to exude your highest level of confidence when interviewing for a job, presenting a business plan, negotiating a deal, asking for a promotion, etc.
In situations where poise and self-assurance are a must, here are three simple and practical tips that will make you feel and look more confident:
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Body language is everything. Nothing says confidence like standing tall in a positive natural stance when speaking and interacting with others. However, simple doesn’t mean easy. This can be incredibly challenging when your heart is racing and your hands are sweating.
One tip is to find perspective and remember that you are just a human talking to other humans. No big deal. It’s very likely that they also feel nervous. Remember they are there to hear what you have to say and that they want you to do well.
If you need bolder tactics, there is always the famous “picture them in their underwear” trick. I’ve tried it. It’s weird. What works better for me is to picture my audience as their 5-year-old selves: sweet, curious and open-minded.
Nothing causes excess nerves and underarm sweating as much as being underprepared.
Whatever the situation, be sure to over-prepare when embarking upon a significant opportunity. Research the topic thoroughly, uncover best practices and find potential connection points with the people involved. Write out a game plan and what you want to say. Rehearse it over and over. Practice in front of an audience. Think through all the details. Ask trusted colleagues for their advice and input. Anticipate what could go wrong and have backup plans.
When you’ve done your planning, you will be more confident and look more confident. Then you can step forward, stand tall, make eye contact and smile very naturally, knowing you are ready to wow.
It is possible to coach yourself as well as be your own enthusiastic cheerleader.
Consider this tip an important pre-game ritual and make it a new habit. Create a success mantra by reminding yourself of your top three strengths. Simply write or say out loud, “I am x, x, and x.” You can go further by reflecting on major successes you have enjoyed in the past.
After you repeat your mantra, to cement your confidence, try striking a powerful victory pose. Imagine a crowd cheering! It is likely best to do this in private. I swear it works. You will share this whacky tip with others after you enjoy its invigorating benefits.
None of us are self-assured all the time, yet you can create more confidence and look more confident with some preparation and the right mindset.
Remember your body language speaks volumes so focus on standing tall, making eye contact and smiling. Preparation fuels your confidence so don’t skip doing your homework. And create powerful success mantras and rituals that get you pumped up and prepped for even more success.
Life is an adventure, so consider tackling tough assignments just part of your journey. Know that you are not alone in your moments of doubt. Be confident in the knowledge that you will succeed because you are ready, willing and able to go for it despite your fears.
This article was written by an FGB contributor.
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