I am a very naturally confident person. I don’t often doubt myself, my abilities, or my beliefs. I’m very grateful for this, and I know that I owe a lot of that to how my parents raised me — to always believe in myself and to believe that nothing is out of my reach.
For some people, though, confidence is really hard to come by. And even for those of us who are really confident, sometimes we’re faced with things that make us uncomfortable and fill us with self-doubt.
There are a lot of things you can do to develop true internal confidence, but there are also a few tricks you can do to instantly appear more confident on the spot.
1. How You Sit and Stand — Good posture is key. Don’t slouch. Sit or stand up as tall as you can, put your shoulders back and down, and hold your head up. Not only does good posture make you appear more confident and help you assert yourself as a strong person, but it’s good for your body.
2. How You Speak — Enunciate. Pronounce your words clearly. Project your voice so people can hear you, and don’t speak too quickly. When we get nervous, our tendency is to speak very fast. In those situations, try to speak more slowly — it will probably feel like you’re talking in SLLLOOOWWW MOOOTIOONNN, but out loud it’s probably just fine. Being able to deliver what you’re saying clearly and intentionally — not fumbling around with your words — presents a much stronger picture than if you’re using filler words like “um” or “like.” Another thing, confident speakers are comfortable with pauses — don’t worry that if you need to take a moment to think about what you’re going to say next that you’re going to appear weak or dumb or something ridiculous like that — if you’re talking with someone, taking an intentional pause is much better than saying “ummm…” Oh, and a huge pet peeve of mine…don’t start sentences with UM. Just start saying what you’re actually going to say, amirite?
3. SMILE! Not only is smiling good for your health (it’s science!), but it will make the other person more comfortable, which will likely make you more comfortable — even if you’re feeling a bit terrified inside. Now, obviously if you’re having a serious conversation, don’t smile too much, that could be really inappropriate. Also, avoid the creeper smile or a forced smile. Real, genuine smiles, folks.
4. Eye Contact. Eye contact is a HUGE sign of confidence. When you meet someone and shake their hand, look them in the eye! When you’re talking with someone or listening to someone, look at them! It’s the grown up thing to do. I feel like people are getting worse and worse at making eye contact these days, and most of the time, a lack of eye contact does not translate into something good — it signifies discomfort, disrespect, nervousness, you name it. (Now, I realize that’s not true in all cultures, but in the U.S., eye contact is generally GOOD). Of course, if you feel like you’re going to burn a hole in the person you’re talking to or make them burst into flames by the power in your eyeballs, scale it back a bit.
5. Get out of your own head. Don’t over-think things; don’t doubt yourself. Get all that crap that’s making you feel less than how you should OUT, and replace it with more empowering thoughts…I’m awesome, I am SO funny!, I’m going to kick-ass today, I am THE best…I mean, maybe not those words exactly, but you get the idea. 🙂
Hope this helps you when you’re feeling like you need a bit of a confidence booster! I believe that the whole “fake it ’til you make it” mentality works in a lot of areas — and this is one of them! Inside, you may not feel more confident immediately, but if you practice the things that I just mentioned, over time you will become a more naturally confident person.
If confidence is something you struggle with, take a look at the following books. I haven’t read them, so I can’t personally recommend them, but I’ve heard good things about them from other folks, so check them out!
- The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know
- Confidence: Overcoming Low Self-Esteem, Insecurity, and Self-Doubt
- Confident Heart Devotional, A: 60 Days to Stop Doubting Yourself (A Confident Heart)
(And if you’re interested… my kick-ass coral/orange lipstick is Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick, Creme, in Siren topped with some Dose of Colors Lipstick in Coy in the middle of my lips.)