The expression “fake it ‘til you make it” is often used to talk about confidence. The idea is that by imitating confidence, you will eventually begin to feel it for real. This strategy can yield some great results, but where do you start? Follow these top seven tips, and you’ll be looking and feeling more confident in no time.
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1. Embrace Power Dressing
When you think of the term “power dressing,” you probably visualize women in the 1980s wearing tailored jackets with exaggerated shoulder pads. While that is where the term originates, you don’t have to look like Melanie Griffith in Working Girl to embrace the sentiment. Power dressing is about establishing your authority while trying to make your way in your industry.
Whether it’s a designer suit that fits you just right, a beautiful gold chain for men that holds a special significance, or a designer suit in the perfect cut, power dressing can make you feel ready to take on the world. Having a strong silhouette sends a signal of power and confidence to those around you and makes you feel more self-assured. Just like the pioneering women of the 80s, you can use fashion to help you exude confidence, even when you don’t feel it on the inside. Find the outfit or individual pieces that make you feel great about yourself and wear them on those days you need an extra boost.
2. Cut Out the Qualifiers
When speaking or writing an email, the vocabulary you use affects how you are seen by your colleagues and other people you interact with. While you may think you are being polite, using words and phrases such as “just,” “I hope that’s okay,” “Does that make sense?,” “Would it be possible?,” and even “sorry” can give the impression that you are unsure of yourself.
Before you send an email, text, or instant message, make sure you proofread it, not just for spelling and grammar mistakes but also for this kind of submissive language. There are even computer programs and apps that can check your work for you and help you write more assertively. Changing the way you speak can be more challenging, but start by keeping a tally of the number of times you say “sorry” or “just” in a day: once you’ve noticed the problem, you will be more able to fix it.
3. Make a Confidence-Enhancing Playlist
If you’ve ever found yourself unable to stop yourself dancing to a song at a party or shedding a cathartic tear while listening to a heartfelt ballad, you’ll know that music can make us feel all kinds of emotions. So why not use the power of music and create a confidence-boosting playlist?
Listening to the right song before you head into a work meeting or on the way to a first date can fill you with self-belief and positivity and can put a little swagger in your walk. If you’re unsure where to start, search confidence-building playlists online, and you’ll find lots of inspiration.
4. Accept Compliments Graciously
Accepting compliments can be extremely challenging for some people. When a friend tells them they look nice, they might respond with sarcasm, or if a colleague compliments their performance in a meeting, they will point out the things that went wrong or they weren’t happy with. Usually, this instinct to deflect compliments comes from personal insecurities or not wanting to appear conceited. Saying “thank you” feels like you agree with the praise and therefore are an arrogant person. However, by putting yourself down or not accepting a compliment, you appear unconfident and possibly make the other person feel uncomfortable, especially as giving a compliment can also be nerve-wracking! Replying to a compliment with a sincere thank you lets others know you have a healthy self-esteem, and it can help build your self-confidence.
5. Work on Your Voice
Certain vocal features, such as speaking quickly, using lots of filler words, and lacking projection, indicate to those around you that you are an unconfident person. These also are things that become exaggerated when you feel nervous. Luckily, there are things you can do to improve the way you speak.
One of the main tricks to appearing more self-assured when you talk, especially when giving a speech or presentation, is learning breathing techniques, which can be learned and practiced until they become second nature. If this is something you struggle with, why not consider having a few sessions with a vocal coach? They can give you tips about how to speak more clearly and confidently.
Confidence is about being approachable and comfortable in your skin, and a warm, friendly smile makes you look upbeat, open, and self-assured. Smiling isn’t just about how other people perceive you; it can make you a happier person. Smiling releases neuropeptides that fight stress and dopamine and serotonin, which are mood-boosters and pain relievers. There is evidence that suggests that even a fake smile can improve your mood.
7. Do Things You’re Good At
Pushing yourself to try new things is an integral part of self-growth, and there’s a particular pleasure in overcoming something you didn’t think you could do. However, if you find yourself frequently in situations that make you feel nervous in either your professional or personal life, try to find some time to dedicate to things you already do well.
Are you a dab hand at grilling? Can you do the New York Times Sunday Crossword in pen? Perhaps you’re a great swimmer. Whatever it is, carve out some time every week to do something you’re good at. This will remind you that you’re capable and accomplished, and you can take that sense of achievement into other areas of your life.
Faking confidence isn’t just about giving other people the impression that you’re a self-assured person; it’s about gradually improving your self-esteem and positivity. The better you feel about yourself and the more capable you believe you are, the more other people will perceive you as a confident person.