‘Believe you can and you’re halfway there’- it really does work! Believe you can and it is possible to conquer anything! Half of what you want to portray is in your mindset the other half is acting it out. As cliche as it sounds, believing you can do something means you are more likely to achieve your goals because your positive thinking will allow you to progress. Scared of heights? Tell yourself you can do it and go skydiving! If you believe in yourself and in your abilities other will also.
We grow up thinking that figures of authority in our lives are naturally confident, our teachers, bosses and those in management. But confidence is something that is gained over time and regardless of how many times an individual has done something, feeling nervous is natural (believe me because I have had lecturers admit this during presentation preparation sessions!). There will always be hiccups along the way, it’s all about moving past those incidences and learning from them. Everything in life is an experience that makes you stronger and better and allows you to understand and progress.
These are my essential ‘Faking Confidence’ rules:
1. Smile: An easy and friendly smile indicates that you are comfortable with your surroundings and the people in it. It puts yourself at ease and others around you. You instantly look approachable!
2. Make Eye Contact: This is very important! Too little eye contact and you can look fidgety and uncomfortable, too much and you can come across intense and slightly demented. Try to maintain an appropriate level of eye contact as this radiates confidence and control in any situation.
3. Open Body Language: Try not to fold your arms too much, you’re body language should always be open. According to psychiatrists crossing your arms is indicative of protective or defensive behavior. I recently got complimented on my open body language by a fellow interviewee after a group interview. What I usually do is when speaking to a group of people I use my hands animatedly to give off an air of comfort and confidence. Not too much hand waving though, you don’t want to look like you’re trying to swat a fly. When walking, look up, never down, and stride evenly and confidently with your shoulders back. Sit or stand straight and face the people/person you are talking to so it does not appear as though you are shying away.
Good old socially-awkward Sheldon shows us how not to act (unless drunken pervert high on crack is what you are going for):
4. Speak Clearly and Decisively: Do not mumble or ramble! Think about what you are going to say beforehand, rambling only accentuates the fact that you are feeling nervous. Stay cool and collected and remember to breathe! If you’re in a high pressure situation like an interview or a presentation, breathing regularly and evenly will help stop your voice from shaking. Most importantly try to stay calm so you don’t freeze up!
5. Look the Part: Most importantly looking the part adds to an individuals confidence. If you feel you look good/presentable then you will definitely exude confidence. It’s good to invest in a wardrobe that fits your body shape/type for different occasions. You don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds on designer outfits to look good! Dress well and pick items that suit you where ever you shop. Having fewer key pieces of clothing bodes better than having a wardrobe full of bits and bobs that most likely will never be worn!
So go forth into the world and fake some confidence!