How to Appear Confident (even when you’re not)
Do you sometimes feel nervous and not confident?
Does a lack of confidence affect your life and career?
Often negative feedback or personal experiences contribute to the lack of confidence feelings.
Over the coming few months Speaking Made Easy is going to provide you with some ways to build your confidence.
First, learn how to appear more confident and actually feel confident.
Looking more confident will assist you to get a better job, maintain healthy relationships and deeper connections with people. Empowering yourself will directly help you reach your goals.
Being prepared and appearing confident will have a positive impact on the people you are meeting and any audience you may be facing. It will also improve your self-confidence.
Take care of your personal appearance as this influences the way you carry yourself and interact with other people. Be well groomed, dress appropriately for the occasion, and feel good and comfortable in your attire.
Practise good posture. Stand tall with your head held high (chin up) and shoulders relaxed and back.
When speaking, have your body directly facing the other person or your audience.
People with confidence walk relaxed and quickly – put pep in your step. Walk like a winner.
Physical fitness will energise you and influence your self-confidence.
Sometimes when your nerves kick in, distracting habits can also kick in.
Be aware if you fidget when speaking or place your weight on one leg then the other repeatedly. Do you wave your hands around excessively or fiddle with your hair or jewellery? Do you tap a pencil against a table? If you have a distracting habit, practise to eliminate it.
What are your hands doing?
Hands in your pockets, folding your arms, wringing your hands, or rubbing your fingers together illustrate nervousness and send uncomfortable energy to others.
Practise welcoming people with open arms and hands. Practise keeping your hands visible to your audience of one or two people, or a larger number.
Prepare to speak up
Think about what you can talk about:
FORM – Family, Occupation, Recreation, Mutual interest.
Mutual interest refers to common topics at the time of conversing such as the venue, the occasion or the people attending. Ask questions on these topics.
Consider other topics to talk about such as current affairs, recent films and events. The choice is yours.
Practise your conversation skills at home, at work, when shopping, within the community – at every opportunity
Maintain eye contact
Practise making, and maintaining, eye contact whenever you are speaking and when the other person is speaking
Actively listen to others by maintaining eye contact. Don’t look at the ceiling or the scenery when speaking or listening to others.
Practise speaking slowly and clearly so people can absorb what you are saying.
What other people are seeing
Non-verbal communication makes up a minimum of 60% of our communication ability. Have your facial expressions and gestures enhance what you are saying.
Practise this using a mirror if needing assistance to develop this skill.
Focus on contribution
Have a positive ‘can do’ attitude. ‘I can contribute to conversations, discussions, meetings and give speeches’.
Focus on your contribution to others and don’t focus on yourself.
Take time each day to mentally list what you have to be grateful for and recall your speaking successes. This assists development of happiness and personal confidence.
Say your name confidently
Smile when you say your name.
Speak loudly, however not too loudly, so people have your attention and are likely to remember your name.
Speak clearly, particularly if it is a name that is difficult to pronounce. If you are asked to repeat it, then this is a reasonable request, so repeat your name, perhaps slowly.
Offer you hand
When introducing yourself, offer to shake hands. To do this, lead with your foot and extend your arm on the same side of your body at the same time. If wearing a badge, also have this on the same side as your leading foot and hand as this allows the other person to easily read your name and other details on your badge. Shake hands firmly.
Sit in the front row
By sitting in the front row or near the front you will build self-confidence. It shows confidence to others and the speakers at the front of the room.
If you currently are a ‘back of the room’ sitter, then move forward a row or two each time you are at an event. This will take you towards the front seating as you gain confidence.
Make an effort to speak up at least once in discussions and at every other opportunity. You will become a better public speaker, more confident in your own thoughts, and be recognised as a contributor and perhaps a leader by your peers.
Maintain eye contact whenever you are speaking and when the other person is speaking.
Let your facial expressions and gestures enhance what you are saying.
Compliment other people
Get into the habit of complimenting others. Positive actions will project a positive feeling for you and the person you are complimenting.
Project yourself as a calm, self-assured person, even if you are not feeling one hundred percent confident and / or not feeling comfortable with the situation.
You can learn and practise all these skills at Speaking Made Easy meetings in a friendly supportive environment. By participation you will become articulate and confident. Come along and see what you can learn.