Now that you have taken steps to build up your confidence, you are well on your way to achieving your desired goals and happiness. You will gradually feel that you are able to take on more challenges that lie ahead and positively influence those around you. The way you feel about yourself and the image you display gives people a sense of your level of confidence.
In most social situations, people are inclined towards communicating with those who exude a sense of confidence. It gives them the feeling of assurance, as what they say or present appears to be accurate and reliable. In other words, people would like to be around those who know what they want and trust what they themselves are saying. Conversely, one would feel really uneasy and uncertain about a person who is unsure about himself, causing him to question the truthfulness behind what he said. Furthermore, in the commercial context, one has to be able to project confidence to be able to sell a product or service successfully. Businessmen would not want to carry out transactions with people who are not certain about themselves, much less their product or service. In businesses big or small, exuding confidence give investors and business partners a sense of certainty, believing that there is potential in the relationship and that decisions made will be good for them.
As such, it is evident that it is important for you to be able to present an image of confidence in your everyday life, be it at work or in a relationship. This is especially so as most people are attracted towards people who have this quality. After taking steps to boost your confidence, polish up your skills by ensuring that you are able to successfully give an image of confidence in your everyday life. This chapter focuses on helping you speak and look confident.
Be wary that appearing too confident may seem arrogant to some. The way you handle it is tricky, so you need to make sure that you do not act overly presumptuous or “too smart for your own good”. In addition, feeling confident on the inside affects your level of confidence on the outside. So when you manage to succeed in using the techniques discussed above, the confidence built up inside will help generate a similar level of confidence shown on the outside.
There are some general guidelines you can follow to look confident:
1. Have a good posture. The first impression you give anyone would be based on the way you look. You can tell a person’s mental and physical health based on his posture: the way he stands, sits, walks and presents himself. As such, you need to ensure that you are exhibiting a posture that is worthy of respect and has poise. Do not slump or slouch as it hints to the observer that you are tired, unwell or uncomfortable with yourself. Walking and looking up high indicates that you are well and are confident with yourself. Always stand tall and erect as it give people the impression that you are at ease with yourself and also allows you to feel on top of things. Walk smoothly in a relaxed and steady fashion, keeping your toes pointed straight ahead. Sit with poise and present yourself well. A pleasant image projected by you to your peers would allow you and others around know that you feel good about yourself. This helps in building your inner and external levels of confidence.
2. Have a good smile. A pleasant smile can lift the spirits up in a room, making you and others around feel happy and enthusiastic about everything. It is an indication of your personal self esteem and an image of high self assurance. Since nothing more can brighten up a person’s day than a good smile, you should put in effort to get a good smile. Practice in front of a mirror each day to see how you want to present yourself to others. Stand there and look at what difference you can make when you have a good smile, and practice until you are comfortable and satisfied with yourself. Yet, if you are still uncertain about the way you look or the set of teeth you have, make an appointment with a dentist to see how this can be corrected.
Having invested time and money into getting a good smile, enables you to feel and look good. This then puts you in a positive mindset, allowing others to sense your confidence as well. As time passes, smiling should become part of a daily habit that enhances your self esteem each day. There is no better way to express joy and happiness to others about yourself than a precious smile!
3. Have good eye contacts. Maintaining a good eye contact is a crucial indication of a person’s level of confidence. Being able to fix your eyes onto another person’s and locking them in, shows that you are sure of yourself. It also indicates that you are keen to know the other person or are interested in what he has to say. If you manage to get good eye contact with him, it tells the person that you are a strong and assertive person. On the contrary, a person with shifty eyes signifies that he does not know what he wants or is hiding some truth and is afraid to look at the other straight in the eye. In other words, an image of self-doubt. This is why people who lie can be caught more easily as his eyes would give him away and others will also be able to understand a particular circumstance better based on a person’s eye contact.
As such, you need to use your eyes well to communicate your self- confidence as there are many implications to them. However, remember not to stare at a person in the eyes for extended periods as it may cause him or her to feel uncomfortable about him or herself. It would be considered as a form of non-verbal aggression that will cause the other party to fidget or look away instead. Bear in mind that you have to look away occasionally to prevent awkwardness between both parties. Thus, you need to know how to find a balance based on a given situation.
4. Have a firm handshake. When are introduced to a friend or business client for the first time, it is courtesy to exchange handshakes in most traditions. This is the only form of bodily contact that you will have with the person and is an important indication of how you feel about yourself. People will more likely remember the physical contact that they had with you than the smile you gave. So, you need to be able to show your personality well by giving a good handshake.
A weak grasp or touch indicates a person’s low self-esteem or unassertiveness. Sometimes, when one gives a weak handshake, it might also lead the other party to believe that he did not care enough about your relationship to put effort into it. Also, avoid giving wet handshakes. If you know that you have sweaty palms, give them a good wipe before making your introduction. You do not want to surprise your new friend with your perspiration! In addition, do not overdo the handshake, or in other words, squeeze them too hard. It would be really impolite to do so and the other party then needs to deal with the shocking pain. Use your own discretion to determine how hard you should squeeze your hands. For instance, you would usually need a harder handshake when with men, and a little less firm one with women and the elderly.
For both men and women, it is essential that you hold your hand out to shake the other party’s hand firmly. Spread your fingers wide open and maximize palm-to-palm contact and lock thumbs before giving a squeeze. A good grip shows your sincerity in forming the relationship and a high level of self-confidence and respect is implied.
The 4 mentioned ways above are general guidelines you must follow to be able to effectively look and present yourself in a confident way on a daily basis. In most cases, all of them have to be demonstrated at the same time. This means that when you meet a person, you need to be able to maintain a good posture, give a good smile, good eye contact and a firm handshake all at the same time. It shows respect for the relationship and your self-confidence. Do not look away or do anything excessive as it would not leave a good impression. Whether you have already met the person or are trying to get the attention of him from across the room, the ability to exhibit all of the qualities shows signs of good self-esteem and assertiveness.
Being able to use a strong and powerful voice is a sign of good confidence. The way a person speaks says a lot about him- whether he is shy and timid or certain and firm. To display a confident image of yourself, you will definitely want to speak smoothly and forcefully. If you are not able to do so, consider the following few steps to help better yourself:
1. Allow yourself to be nervous, it is only natural. Accept the fact that when we meet someone new or are put in an unfamiliar situation, we usually tend to be uncomfortable with ourselves simply because we prefer familiarity. Deal with your fears by recognizing them, face them with courage, be eager to eliminate and reduce them, and then find ways to deal with them. This is just the start of you becoming a confident speaker!
2. Prepare what you are going to say. For instance, if you are going to meet a business partner, plan and organize your information first. Be in control by being ready to present yourself or your product. If you are giving a presentation, get your materials in place and do not forget to prepare for some of the potential questions your audience may ask.
- Practice, practice, practice! This is a critical step that one must channel a lot of energy into. As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect”. Being anywhere near perfection is something that all of us want to achieve as a confident individual. Speaking practices can take place from your bathroom mirror, to your circle of friends and even to conversation groups or the Toastmasters Club. You can gradually take steps to develop your speaking ability and engage others to help you be their audience. Get up and meet people as you can never get too much practice in speaking. If you are about to give a presentation, go through the speech several times with a mirror to see if you are able to present what you want others to see, and also with some one else to see if your projected voice was clear and coherent. Having rehearsed well with people and a mirror prepares you when meeting new people as well.
- Find focus. Know the purpose of what you are going to say and
think through them before you do anything else. Concentrate on your delivery and remember the image that you want to project to your audience or peers. Smile and make a connection with the audience by giving them eye contact. Share with them how what you are going to say will benefit them and get their interests. Doing so will allow you to get the attention of your audience and those you want to communicate with. Thus, once the other party has his focus on you, they are giving you respect and trust. Doing so will enable you to speak more comfortably with ease as you do not have to worry about your audience getting distracted. On your side, remember to articulate your thoughts clearly in an engaging way. You would not want to meet someone who mumbles non-stop about something boring would you? Remember, a confident person is constantly able to keep himself focused!
- Be yourself! This is something that many do not take into account when creating an identity for themselves. Many commit the mistake of trying to be who they are not so as to appear better than who they think they are. Yet, this does not work well as people would want to know the real you. A confident person does not need to borrow the identity of another person, but instead is proud of who he is. It is also difficult for a person to sustain the image or impression they have given another party in the long run as he would not be comfortable with it or come out natural as is not his true self. Accept who you are and communicate with others in a way that suits you best. Believe that the other party is interested to know who you are and believe in what you have to say. If your audiences are keen on hearing you speak, then you should be as enthusiastic in your way of presentation. Yet if they appear bored and unresponsive, try to make it more engaging to arouse their interests. If time permits, include a personal comment or view on what you are discussing as it gives it a personal touch that symbolizes your sincerity. Avoid sounding too arrogant and aim to humble yourself as no one would like to work with and listen to a bighead. Being yourself is what lets you speak the most confidently!
- The tone of your voice and the clarity of it plays a vital role in determining the success of your speech. Avoid using too many jargons and opt for simpler terms instead. Keep your words short and simple as it makes it easier for you to communicate your thoughts and for them to understand. In addition to concentration and determination, your presentation will flow more smoothly as a result.
- Remember to appear confident in front of the other party when you speak. Your body language gives the overall first impression when he meets you. Even if you are feeling really nervous inside, focus on looking confident because you need to. As time passes, you will gradually feel the confidence building up inside of you as you become familiar with the surroundings and are more assured that what you have to say is right. Your appearance can be enhanced by practicing the abovementioned steps everyday. Furthermore, knowing that you look confident gives you the encouragement to speak as confidently.
- Breathe well. Take pauses and breaks when you speak to another person. Do not rush through everything as the other party needs time to process and accept what you are saying. Breathing gives you space to think and process your thoughts so make good use of it. It also prevents you from being tongue-tied, a common experience faced by many, allowing you to articulate your words well. A confident speaker is one who can be easier understood and knows well what he is saying.
- Have a positive mindset and allow past mistakes to be a lesson for the future. Humbly learn from what you have done wrong and do not lose faith in yourself. Stay motivated to improve and envisage what you want to achieve at the next opportunity and plan how you can go about reaching that goal. People make mistakes all their lives but learning from them is key to making us better people and more confident individuals.
The ways discussed above are some methods you could incorporate into your everyday life to help you become a confident speaker. They require time and energy to get the desired results. Practice them everyday to help yourself get used to what is expected of a confident speaker and better prepare yourself to meet someone new or when you have to give an impromptu speech! Confidence can be built and it depends on you.
This post shares with you ways you can look and speak confidently everyday. All of them can be applied to interviews, business transactions and the meeting of new friends etc. You can keep a checklist similar to the one attached to help you remember steps you can take when you feel uncertain about yourself.
With a new level of inner confidence and an ability to exude confidence in the way you look and speak, you have succeeded in becoming a confident person! Congratulations!