Building up confidence to go up to someone is part of crucial personality-grooming. Here are some basic tips to fight a few challenges you may come across often.
Written by Priyanka Ganwani | Updated : July 16, 2014 6:06 PM IST
I am a 26-year-old banking professional. I have grown extremely shy and inhabitant of approaching the opposite sex since my schooling was done in an all-boys school. When and if I do get a chance, I don’t seem to make the ideal impression. How could I boost confidence in my personality?
It can be quite challenging if you’ve not been exposed to interaction with the opposite sex or if you have severe inhibitions when it comes to starting a conversation with someone of the opposite sex. With the hectic fast paced professional lives that most of us lead, social skills hold a great deal of weight. Communicating confidently and without any qualms can win you a date effortlessly. Push through the door and take on the challenge with some personality-grooming tips:
- If you can’t look into her eyes, you don’t deserve her trust either. Looking down is a big turn off. Know what you’re saying and don’t let anything else hinder the conversation.
- There is total power in the oratory skills one possesses. Clarity, great language and yes, sensible subject matter.
- If you can’t get yourself to start a conversation, practice a situation every now and then in front of a mirror. To enhance clarity in your language, read out loud from a book or a newspaper and record it. Listen to yourself and analyze what you sound like. You will know exactly what to work on, the pitch, pronunciations, pace etc.
- Make it a point to be well dressed and well groomed. You don’t have to look like you’ve walked off a ramp either. There is nothing more attractive than being presentable and identifying your own personal charm. Don’t forget to wear that strong, but not overpowering cologne before you step out. Don’t forget, women prefer men over boys.
- Body language can often convey more than your words. If you are slouching, nudging your hands and legs during a conversation or looking elsewhere, you are surely not going down the right road. Such body language simply indicates a lack of confidence and interest in the conversation.
- Make the right move. Once you know your conversation is going somewhere, don’t be tempted to overstep. During your first few meets, learn to read her signals and make your moves accordingly don’t try anything physical, no matter how innocent, in your first few dates.
- Flash that super smile. Don’t be stuck up. You have to look approachable and friendly. A happy face always does the trick.
Above all, be yourself and your confidence will make you a lot more appealing. Don’t be in a rush to take any relationship to the next level. Get rid of any mental blocks you might have and try not to agonize over your every move and you should do just fine.
Photo source: Getty Images
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How to Attract Women by Developing Confidence
You don’t need us to tell you that women love confidence: You already know it. What you need to know is how to develop confidence. It’s obviously not as easy as turning on a switch. But what if I told you that confidence was just a series of behaviors? That confidence can be easily developed by adopting these behaviors consistently over time? If you’re interested, read on to find out how to attract women by developing confidence.
Confidence Is Learned
Very few men are born brimming with confidence. Those who aren’t can learn it. Think of the phrase “it’s like riding a bike.” That’s confidence. Once you learn it, it’s a hard thing to unlearn. No matter how long you go without exercising those muscles, they’ll come back to you in a heartbeat. What’s more…
Confidence Can Be Faked
You know the phrase “fake it until you make it?” That’s not just a theory anymore. It’s firmly established science. Pretend to be something and eventually you become what you’re pretending to be. Pretend you know how to attract women, and you probably will. Best of all, pretending to be confident is part of the process of learning how to be confident. Pretend to be confident for a little bit and people start seeing you as confident, which in turn makes you act more confidently, which makes people see you as more confident. This is what we call a righteous circle and you’re going to love how it works in your life.
Exercise One: Your Winning Smile
Something as simple as a good smile can have you looking and feeling more confident. Here’s how to develop one:
- Stand in front of the mirror and recall something funny.
- Start laughing. If you have to force it and fake it a little at first, don’t sweat it; It works just as well either way.
- Let the laughter fade into an exaggerated smile.
- Check the corners of your eyes. Are they crinkled up? Are the corners of your cheeks pulled up? If not, do so.
- Let your exaggerated smile fade into something more natural
- Hold it. Close your eyes and try to “remember” what this feels like.
- Before you enter a room at a party or a bar or a club, pull up the memory of the smile you created.
This works because a smile communicates confidence, friendliness and ease. Enter a room with a smile and people will notice.
Exercise Two: Posture Is Your Pal
Another thing that easily communicates confidence is good posture. You develop posture in a similar way: Stand in front of a mirror, stand up as straight as you can while keeping your shoulders relaxed, close your eyes and form a memory of it. Any time you catch yourself slouching, recall that memory. It’s another great and easy way to feel and look more confident at the same time.
Exercise Three: Destroying Approach Anxiety
The first two were pretty easy. This is where things start getting a little more difficult. One of the best ways to look confident is to go right after what you want. In practice, this means approaching women that you want to talk to as soon as you notice them. Believe me — they noticed you noticing them. So don’t wait around, approach immediately. This will get you more used to approaching them and will also make you appear a lot more confident, which is exactly how to attract women. Sooner rather than later you’ll be far less nervous about approaching women.
And the benefits of being confident extend way beyond sex and relationships.
Self-confidence is important for your career and your social life.
Important leaders in politics and business (as well as just about every “alpha male” personality you’ll ever meet) always give off an air of confidence to anyone they’re interacting with.
No one questions the importance of being confident and having self-esteem. So how come most guys actually do a terrible job of acting confident in social settings–especially around gorgeous women?
The truth is that they’re unable to overcome natural fear and shyness so they end up getting flustered and reverting to nervous habits.
How To Appear Confident Around Women
This article will offer you eight proven ways to look and act like a confident ‘alpha male’ around women.
While it may take time to learn how to believe in yourself and become truly self-confident, the tips below will help you look and act with self-confidence even if you’re still working on building genuine self-esteem.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the eight ways you can portray self-confidence:
1. Proper Body Posture Conveys Self-Confidence
You can convey a lot about yourself simply through your posture. To appear confident, make sure you sit and stand straight, with your shoulders back and your chest out.
Don’t over-exaggerate this, because it can look very odd if you walk around with your chest puffed out, but make sure you avoid slouching in company; keep your shoulders back and your head up at all times.
Ideally, you should make these body posture techniques a permanent change, not just something you do when around women.
2. Confident Men Maintain Eye Contact
Timid guys who lack self-confidence will often do anything possible to avoid eye contact.
They’ll avert their gaze down to the floor, up at the ceiling, or anywhere other than the eyes of the person they’re speaking with.
Unless you want to look like a timid weakling, make eye contact with the person you’re speaking to! You don’t need to have a staring contest with every girl you chat up at the bar, but you shouldn’t be afraid to look her in the eyes when you’re conversing.
3. Speak Loudly & Clearly
Remember: You’re an alpha male, and you expect others to listen when you speak.
By speaking loudly and clearly, you’ll make sure that anything you say comes across with authority and isn’t lost in the shuffle of a busy conversation.
Don’t take this too far and start yelling over other people just to get your point across — that’s immensely annoying — but you definitely want to make sure that your comments are made clearly and with purpose.
4. Choose the Right Wardrobe
You can use your clothing and style to illustrate self-confidence. By choosing a wardrobe that’s slightly “edgy” or “trendy,” rather than a nondescript outfit that blends in with the crowd, you’re making a bold statement about your self-confidence.
If you wear something others wouldn’t normally consider because it’s a bit daring, you’re indicating that you’re a trend-setter who isn’t afraid to buck a trend. Being a leader in your personal fashion can help you stand out and look like a leader.
5. Look the Part And You’ll Feel Real Confidence
As my colleague Mark Belmont clearly described in his article on How to be Handsome, your appearance can make a huge difference to your overall confidence and self-esteem.
By tending to a few basic details before leaving the house, you’ll feel better about your appearance and find it easier to portray self-confidence as a result.
6. Confident Men Smile & Have A Positive Outlook
Negativity and an over-critical approach to social encounters sends a message of self-doubt to those you’re interacting with. People who are truly confident don’t need to be critical or offensive to others, because they’re completely satisfied with themselves as they are.
By smiling and maintaining a positive outlook during conversations with women, you’ll be doing two things: a) making yourself approachable; and b) showing that you’re there to have fun and aren’t worried about what others think of you.
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Touch
Pickup artists and seduction experts often refer to touching as “kino,” and encourage guys to engage in non-sexual touching whenever they’re around women as it’s a key strategy for those who don’t know how to talk to girls.
This is sound advice, especially because it also conveys confidence. If you’re self-confident enough to touch women without worrying about their response, you’re clearly demonstrating that you’re comfortable in their presence.
Of course, the type and frequency of touch is important to distinguish. You want to come across as suave and trustworthy, not creepy.
8. Use the Power of the Mind To Act Confident
All of the tips above focus on portraying a sense of confidence in various social situations. But if you want to truly build lasting self-confidence, regardless of what you’re doing or who you’re talking to, the real key is building genuine self-confidence.
Use the power of your mind to continually remind yourself…
“I am an alpha male and the ladies want me!”
By telling yourself this over and over, and envisioning positive social encounters with women, you’ll help slowly change your frame of mind and develop real, authentic confidence and self-esteem.
The eight tips above aren’t the only things you can do to convey self-confidence to women, but they’re definitely some of the best.
That’s it for now — if you would like to share some other tips on how to look and act confident, just use the comments section below.
Being a woman in the workplace is a very complicated matter nowadays. Actually, being a woman in general is difficult nowadays, but being a confident woman is a completely different problem.
Even though we live in the 21 st century, we are still burdened with ridiculous expectations from society, as if we’re still living in Medieval times. We are expected to know our place on many topics, and all most of us want to say back is profanity. The biggest issue women face at work, is the lack of confidence. Even though our parents spend thousands on our education, most of us still think that we’re not good enough or that there is someone better. Well, it’s time to throw all that away, “man up” and get to work. Here are a few tips to help you be more confident in business and at work.
We know that it can be hard to be a woman in business or in your career. No matter what skills, knowledge, and talent you might have, the idea that business is a male-dominated discipline is still out there, and that means women often have to work harder and fight longer to be seen, heard, and appreciated.
This can lead to a loss of confidence for some. Yet having self-confidence and self-belief is crucial; it’s what will drive you forward and keep you going even when you have bad days. With that in mind, here are some valuable tips that will help you feel more confident as a woman in business. You may not want or need to implement them all, but there is sure to be something below that will help you.
Work With A Mentor
If you were an athlete, you would have a coach beside you, helping you to train and giving you encouragement and confidence to push yourself harder than ever before. The results you get from working like this would be much better than if you tried to train yourself and had no one to be accountable to.
In business, the same can be said of a mentor . Having a mentor there to guide you, prevent you from making potentially catastrophic mistakes, and showing you just how to become the most confident woman and best businesswoman you can be will definitely give you more confidence. You can think of your mentor as your backup, someone who is always there for you and to whom you can go if you have questions that you’re not comfortable asking anyone else.
Even if something does go wrong, which it could well do because business is unpredictable, when you have a mentor in place, ideally someone from your own sector with past experience doing what you’re doing now, you can assess what went wrong so that it never happens again, and this will give you confidence too.
Improve Your Skills
Another way to become a more confident woman as a businesswoman is to improve or top up your skills. Knowledge is power, and the more you know through various means of learning such as courses, seminars, workshops, or even choosing to apply for college to take an MBA or similar degree that will give you more business knowledge, the more confident you will feel. You will be happier to make decisions and take action when needed because you know you’ve worked hard to gain the knowledge you need.
As well as learning about business or the specific sector you are working in through extra learning, you may also pick up some additional ‘soft skills’. Soft skills include communication, research, negotiation, teamwork, problem-solving, and more. Again, when you know that you can handle any situation you have to, you’ll feel entirely confident doing just that.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Even if you own your own business, it’s easy to get caught up in a comfortable space and stay there. You can meander along quite nicely there, and you could do fine with that attitude, but will you do as well as you could if you pushed harder? And will you be as confident to make decisions and try new things that could improve your business and your life if you’re happy where you are?
The answer is probably not. It’s much better to step outside your comfort zone from time to time and try new things. This relates to life just as much as it does to business, and as long as any risks are calculated, this can be an ideal way to become better at what you do and improve yourself and your business and become more confident as well. If you know that you can do anything you put your mind to, or you’re at least willing to try to do this, then your confidence will rise, and you’ll try even more new things ad infinitum.
Dress To Impress Yourself
Dressing to impress others, especially when you’re a woman in business, can backfire badly, and rather than giving you more confidence, it can make you self-conscious about your body shape or your sexuality, or anything else. This will diminish your confidence and set you back.
This is why, when you are choosing your style and clothing for business – or anything else – you should always dress to impress only yourself. Wear what makes you feel good and fits with the situation. If a statement piece from the WatchBox Patek Philippe collection makes you feel good, wear it. If you prefer a skirt to pants or vice versa, that’s what you should do. If the figure looking back at you in the mirror makes you feel confident, you’ve made the right choice.
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a psychotherapist, the author of the bestselling book "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," and the host of The Verywell Mind Podcast.
Even if you don’t feel confident, practicing confident body language can increase your self-esteem and help you feel better about yourself. People with social anxiety disorder (SAD) often have trouble feeling confident in interactions with others. However, you can boost your confidence by making sure that your body language conveys a positive message about yourself.
Practice these gestures and movements to project an air of confidence. Yes, "fake it 'til you make it" can be good advice!
Press Play for Advice On Building Confidence
Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast, shares how to stop letting self-doubt hold you back. Click below to listen now.
Make Eye Contact
Appear confident by maintaining eye contact in social interactions. Good eye contact shows others that you are interested and comfortable. Look the other person in the eye about 60% of the time. If direct eye contact feels too intimidating, start by looking at a spot close to the person’s eyes.
When you are in a conversation, leaning forward indicates interest and attention. While it can be tempting to maintain distance if you are socially anxious, doing so conveys the message that you are disinterested or aloof.
Stand Up Straight
Don't slouch! Those with social anxiety tend to try and take up as little space as possible, which can mean sitting slumped over in a protective pose. Straighten your back, pull your shoulders away from your ears, and uncross your arms and legs. Taking up space helps you present yourself as more confident.
Keep Your Chin Up
Do you look at the ground when you are walking? Is your head always down when you are talking? Instead, walk with your head up and your eyes looking forward. It might feel unnatural at first, but eventually, you will become used to this more confident pose. Then you can use it when you are standing and speaking as well (it will make eye contact easier, too).
Fidgeting is an obvious sign of anxiety and nervousness. Appear more confident by keeping fidgeting to a minimum. Nervous movements, like bouncing your knee or tapping your fingers on a table, draw attention away from what you are saying and make it hard for others to focus on your message.
Avoid Your Pockets
Though it can be tempting to shove your hands in your pockets, particularly if you are worried about them shaking, doing so makes you look more anxious and less confident. Keep your hands out of your pockets to look more self-assured.
Slow Your Movements
Fast movements make you appear more anxious. Everything from hand gestures to your walking stride can make a difference; slow down and notice how you feel more confident when you take your time.
Take Larger Steps
As you slow down, try to take longer strides when you walk. Confident people take larger steps and walk with authority. Doing so will make you feel less anxious.
Watch Your Hands
Be careful about touching your face or your neck; both are indications that you feel anxious, nervous, or afraid. Confident people don't make these types of movements. However, making a steeple with your hands or holding your palms out can imply confidence.
Give a Firm Handshake
A weak or limp handshake is a sign of a lack of confidence, so work on making sure that you offer a firm hand when meeting others. After practice, it will come naturally.
Mirror the Body Language of Others
We often do this subconsciously: Sit up straighter when our companions are doing so, or gesture more frequently when we're around people who talk with their hands. Mirroring another person's body language shows you are paying attention to them, which can build understanding and strengthen a relationship. When you feel that bond, you may feel more comfortable and confident.
Speak Slowly and Clearly
Feeling nervous can often lead to rushing through our talking points and comments to end a conversation sooner. But speaking quickly can make your nervousness and self-consciousness evident. Slow down and give your audience a chance to hear what you're saying. This is a way to command respect.
A Word From Verywell
Still not sure you can muster up the confidence to change your body language? Remember that you don't have to feel confident to change your behavior. Although it might feel strange at first, acting in a confident way will eventually feel more natural and boost your self-esteem.
At the same time, working to reduce your anxiety through other means will also help reduce nervous behaviors. If you have not already been diagnosed with SAD, visit a healthcare professional to learn about your options. You don’t have to live with anxiety that impairs your ability to engage with others. Both cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication have been proven effective in the treatment of SAD.
As an online course creator with thousands of students all over the world, I’m crystal clear that being on-camera has been a huge part of my business. My ability to hit Record, let the red dot light up, and just relax and deliver has enabled me to spread my message far and wide, be hired as a public speaker and public speaking coach, and create a flood of promotional and informative material for my business for years.
Women are under a lens that is culturally unique—and our workplaces are far from equal. Look tired, gain a few pounds, or wear bright lipstick, and someone will have something to say about it. The scrutiny we experience around our physical appearance often has our confidence take a hit. I think it also makes it even harder to feel comfortable about being on camera— as soon as you watch your recording, you probably cringe and hyper-analyze your hand movements.
But video is a valuable way to improve your career and increase your success. If you’re impatient to have your business get off the ground, video could be a major catalyst for your success.
Check out my important tips that will help you get out of your head and on camera with ease.
My first major recommendation: PRACTICE. Literally, just try it.
Many people think they don’t know how to be on camera, so the best way to break through that is to just start. Try it, practice, watch yourself back, see how you feel. Block out time each week to practice on-camera delivery and notice if your eyes seem to be awkwardly focused to one side of the frame or the other. Notice if you say “um” or “ah” a lot and use too many vocal fillers. Notice the speed at which you talk, and what color shirt looks best on you and in front of that background.
First notice—then ask yourself this question: What’s missing?
What’s missing is a pretty magical question. I don’t mean what’s wrong or what you need to fix—those are easy details to tweak. I mean really look for yourself—what is qualitatively missing from who you’re being in the video? Try a comparison to someone you’d want to be like on camera (I’ll be eternally flattered if you choose me), and take note of what they have going on that you would like to emulate.
If you start with an idea of where you’re going and why you’re creating—a CONTEXT—then the CONTENT will take care of itself over time.
Here are four more tips to help you get on camera:
1. Pre-filming—do mirror work. High-performance athletes do this, and you can to. Take 2 minutes at a time to just BE with yourself in the mirror. Look into your own eyes and be present. Don’t make an audience for yourself “out there” or zone out—really be with yourself and focus. Add a little affirmation here, either in your head or out-loud, and mirror work can really increase your confidence in spades.
Practice what you’ll say on the video in the mirror until you yourself believe your words and feel compelled to listen more, or even to take action. This kind of practice could really help you feel comfortable with velocity.
2. Use the right lighting gear. You can actually take amazing video using only your smartphone. But lighting really matters—find the best window set-up you can to grab natural light, and consider a simple clamp light to frame and balance the shot.
3. Eye Contact + Smile. Consider that when you’re on Skype or similar, you tend to look at yourself as you talk. When you’re creating great video content, you have to look at the tiny lens—so train yourself to focus there. It will create the sensation of eye contact for your viewers.
Furthermore—you have to find your self-expression, and not everyone is the “bubbly” type, but if you get blank-faced because you’re nervous, your self-expression will dip, and you’ll be less engaging overall. If you have any qualms about your smile, drop them—your smile will light up the room. It makes people feel at home.
4. Don’t do a million takes. Sure, you should rehearse and practice. But if you have perfectionist tendencies, you can’t do 20 takes—it’s too much to sift through at the end when you need to edit, and it will be exhausting for you. The experience of making a video has to be easy and positive—otherwise, you’ll never continue and improve at it. Plus, if you end up with 15 or 20 takes, think about it, they really can’t be that different from each other.
The truth is that being yourself is one of the magical keys to being confident and engaging on camera. If that means visualizing talking to your best friend or writing out the bullet points of your content first, that’s what needs to be done. I’m actually pointing out here that the camera itself—the weird-looking device in front of you—can act like a barrier between you and your full self-expression. Being natural requires you to practice until it feels like the camera isn’t there, while maintaining an awareness of where the camera is so you can engage with it and reach the eyes of your viewers.
You must watch yourself back—overcome the discomfort of that first. Let it be a meaningless set of practice takes when you’re starting out, and quiet that nagging voice of self-doubt. Listen to the voice of encouragement, and be attentive without excessive judgment. The world is always judging—if you don’t love yourself up and tell yourself you CAN, no one will. Being on camera is not significant—it’s just one place to document who you really are.
Alexa Fischer coaches people to perform comfortably on camera. Check out her online courses, jump on her email list or follow along on YouTube or Twitter @1000WattAlexa.
When you trying to appear more confident, do you find yourself concentrating on one particular area of your image? Perhaps you change your body language and adopt power poses. Or perhaps you change your outfit to something that’s a little more bold and authoritative. Concentrating on these areas is fine; they will boost your confidence, a little. But if you want a total confidence shift, you’ll have to focus on more than just one element of your professional image. You’ll need to focus on three; how you look, how you act, and how you sound.
As a business etiquette expert with an acute interest in confidence, I want to share with you my tips and advice on these three elements to help you look, act, and sound and appear more confident.
1. How You Look – Your Outfit
Despite the phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, as humans we’re heavily influenced by first impressions, and we will make assumptions about another person based purely on the clothes they wear. If you see somebody in the office dressed more formally in a dark suit with impeccable grooming, you’ll assume that person is somebody important who’s got something to be confident about. In comparison, if you see somebody in the office wearing an ill-fitting suit in beige or light grey, you’ll immediately question that person’s level of authority and their level of confidence, too.
Whether we like it or not, appearance matters. So when dressing for your next business meeting, and you want to project a little more confidence and authority, here’s some outfit choices you can make:
- Opt for a darker suit in navy, charcoal, or black. Darker colours will help you project more authority.
- Choose a crisp white shirt to contrast with your suit. Instead of choosing a boring white shirt, choose one with unique buttons or detailed tailoring to stand out.
- Add personality to your outfit with a striking pair of heels in red, blue, or your own signature colour.
2. How You Act – Your Body Language
To use strong and powerful body language, here’s some things you can do:
- Get your posture right. No more slumped shoulders or rounded back.
- Keep your head high and don’t look at the ground when you’re walking.
- Smile to relax yourself and the other person.
3. How You Sound – Your Voice
Once the other person has formed an impression of you based on your outfit and body language, you don’t want to ruin all your hard work by speaking with a timid or uncertain voice. When it comes to projecting confidence with your voice, it’s not only the volume of your voice you need to work on, it’s also the speed, enunciation and eliminating a major hurdle, the “upswing”.
To sound confident when you speak, try to:
- Increase the volume of your voice by pushing more oxygen out of your lungs when you speak.
- Slow down your speech and pause after important points.
- Eliminate the “upswing” by making a conscious effort to push your intonation down at the end of a statement.
Confidence is a total look. [tweet_quote hashtags=”#confidenttips” ]To achieve a total confident look, you really need to put effort[/tweet_quote] into every aspect of your external confidence: how you look, how you act, and how you sound. It’s my sincere hope that this article has provided you with practical tips to get you started. Of course, there’s always work to be done on your internal confidence, but let’s leave that for another time.
About Kara Ronin
Kara Ronin is a business etiquette and social skills expert. Her unique approach has been featured in TIME Inc., The Daily Muse, YFS Magazine, and many more. She is regularly interviewed on prominent podcasts and was ranked as one of the Top 100 Leadership Experts to follow on Twitter. You can get social skills training by Kara in her new video course, Business Etiquette 101: Social Skills for Professional Success
Confidence is somewhat elusive. You know you have to be confident if you want to make a good impression in the professional world, but earning that confidence isn’t as easy as it seems. For some, confidence comes naturally, but for most, it’s harder to achieve–especially in unfamiliar situations or with unfamiliar people.
Rest assured that you aren’t alone, and remember one critical fact about confidence: In most situations, it doesn’t matter if you feel confident on the inside as much as it matters that you look confident on the outside. The goal is to appear confident, even if you really aren’t, and there are several tricks you can use to accomplish this.
1. Stand tall.
Take up space by standing tall. Keep your shoulders back, and keep your spine straight. This is going to offer you a host of physical benefits, including better breathing and better back support, but just as important, it’s going to make you look and feel more confident. People who slouch or minimize their bodies tend to be viewed as unconfident or uncertain. You can also practice the “power pose” technique before you enter the room by stretching your arms far above your head or putting your hands on your hips with your elbows wide. These “power poses” are experimentally proved to increase confidence, but you might look a little silly doing them during your event, so keep them as a preliminary ritual.
2. Make eye contact.
Eye contact is crucial for increasing your perceived confidence, and without it, you’ll appear scattered or inattentive. When you speak, look at your recipient’s eyes, or if you’re in front of many people, alternate between them. Even in a crowd, you should be making eye contact with the various individuals in your audience. It’s also important to maintain eye contact when the other person is speaking–the more you break eye contact or look around, the more indecisive or shy you’ll seem. Just don’t stare people down like you’re a serial killer–do take occasional breaks.
3. Don’t fidget.
Fidgeting is a major betrayer of low confidence, and most of us fidget without even realizing it. Different people fidget in different ways; for example, some people have a nervous leg-jiggling habit and others tend to wave their hands around in a flailing motion when they talk. You might also find yourself adjusting your standing position or nodding excessively. Instead, try to stand still and only move when it’s in an appropriate, deliberate way. This can be tough, especially if you aren’t conscious of your fidgeting habits. Practice speaking with someone you know and ask him or her to identify any peculiar quirks you may not notice about yourself.
4. Speak slowly and clearly.
Speaking too quickly or in a low tone of voice can make you appear less than confident. It also leaves you vulnerable to saying things you don’t mean or slipping up with verbal nonsense. The solution to these problems is to speak slowly and clearly. Take your time with your sentences–it will give you time to come up with better word choices and will make you seem more confident at the same time. Practice articulating your words clearly and in a loud voice so you’re used to the approach.
5. Allow silences.
There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of silence. Too many people denounce the “awkward silence” as the indicator of a bad conversation, but it’s actually a useful and necessary social tool. Use silences to your advantage; for example, you can end an important sentence with a long pause to let it sink in. You can allow a beat in the conversation between the other person speaking and you speaking to show that you really listened. Silences allow for consideration, and they show that you’re confident in your speaking abilities. Don’t neglect them.
6. Keep your hands visible.
Your hands say a lot about you, whether you realize it or not. Keep them visible and marginally active in the conversation. For example, you can gesticulate your words with a few deliberate actions–just don’t go crazy and violate rule number three. You could also use your hands to offer occasional moments of touch if the situation warrants it. It’s also important not to hide your hands by stuffing them in your pockets or folding your arms. Keep them visible to appear more confident.
7. Take big steps.
This one comes into play when you enter, exit, or move around in a room. Take wide, surefooted steps with every move, rather than quick, hurried, or frantic steps. Don’t be in a hurry to get anywhere, and remember to keep your body posture aligned. This slow, deliberate series of movements will make you appear confident, so much so that people several yards away from you will be able to pick up on it.
The great thing about pretending to be confident is that eventually, you’ll trick yourself into actually being confident. Like with good posture and conversational manners, the only thing preventing you from being able to implement these strategies regularly is practice. The more you practice appearing confident, the more naturally it will come to you, and the more confident you’ll look and feel. With your newfound confidence, you’ll be able to speak more articulately, command a more attentive audience, and be viewed with more respect by your peers.
Why are there so few women in leadership roles? My research collaborators (Laura Guillen of ESMT and Natalia Karelaia of INSEAD), and I believe we have shed some new light on this conundrum. But first, some background.
One frequently cited reason has to do with confidence. In a previous study my colleagues and I found that women tend to rate their abilities accurately, while men tend to be overconfident about theirs. Thus, one argument goes, women are less confident than men, which hurts their chances of promotion.
Previous research has measured how women see themselves, but we wanted to know how outside perceivers — bosses, subordinates, colleagues — rate women’s confidence, and what influences those ratings.
Susan Fiske and her colleagues have shown that people seem to universally use two dimensions to judge others: competence and warmth. We decided to test for both of those in addition to confidence. As a proxy for the likelihood of being promoted, we also tested for influence, on the theory that people who are seen as influential are more likely to be promoted to leadership roles.
We conducted a study analyzing the judgments that colleagues made regarding the competence and warmth of 236 engineers working in project teams at a multinational software development company. As part of their performance evaluation, the engineers were evaluated online by their supervisor, peers, and collaborators on competence and warmth. A total of 810 raters provided this confidential evaluation. A year later, we collected a second wave of data on the same 236 engineers about their apparent confidence at work and their influence in the organization. This time, a total of 1,236 raters provided information.
This article also appears in:
HBR Guide for Women at Work
Our study, which has been accepted for presentation at the Academy of Management’s conference in August, shows that men are seen as confident if they are seen as competent, but women are seen as confident only if they come across as both competent and warm. Women must be seen as warm in order to capitalize on their competence and be seen as confident and influential at work; competent men are seen as confident and influential whether they are warm or not.
In other words, for male engineers, competence and perceived confidence go hand in hand. The more competent male engineers are, the more confident they are seen as being (and vice versa). The more confident they are seen as being, the more influence they have in the organization, regardless of whether others like them. It seems that warmth is irrelevant to men appearing confident and influential, at least when they are performing a typically male job like engineering.
For women, in the absence of warmth there was virtually no relationship between competence and confidence ratings. When women were seen as both warm and competent, they were also seen as more confident — and thus more influential. Competent but less-affable female engineers were evaluated by their colleagues as less confident in their professional roles. These female engineers were, in turn, less influential within the organization. In sum, women’s professional performance is not evaluated independently from their personal warmth.
Personal experience and empirical research suggest that it’s not enough for women to be merely as gregarious, easygoing, sociable, and helpful as men. To get credit for being warm — and to have their other strengths recognized — they might need to be even more so.
This article also appears in:
Confidence (HBR Emotional Intelligence Series)
I still remember my first performance evaluation as an assistant lecturer: I was told to be more “nurturing.” I had gone to just as many social events as the men had, had been just as gregarious with my students. But women simply are expected to show more warmth. Studies show, for example, that women’s performance reviews contain nearly twice as much language about being warm, empathetic, helpful, and dedicated to others.
To us, this study suggests that if women are to succeed in a biased world, encouraging them to be more confident is not enough. To get credit for having confidence and competence, and to have the influence in their organizations that they would like to have, women must go out of their way to be seen as warm.
We wish this were not the case. We wish women and men could be evaluated according to the same meritocratic standards. But as our research shows, we seem to be a long way off from those days.
Gaining Confidence with Women
Gaining confidence with women (just like gaining confidence in anything) comes down to three things: attitude, knowledge, and experience. If you know how to talk to women, have the right attitude about it, and have lots of experience doing it, then that confidence will come easily.
And while knowledge and attitude can be learned easily and painlessly, lots of guys still struggle to gain experience. Truth is, even with all the knowledge and the right attitude, taking that first step in approaching women can still be intimidating. But for guys who want to make it easy – even fun – to approach women, this article is for you. Here are a few exercises and things to focus on that will help you get more experience with women quickly in order to build up your confidence with women.
A big mistake a guy will make when going out is thinking he’s only going to talk to the hottest women he sees. Then once he sees that gorgeous woman he gets nervous. His head fills up with doubts and excuses and he never gets around to approaching her.
But the confidence you need to approach that stunning girl can be built up gradually. Strike up conversations in low-pressure situations with whoever happens to be around – guys, girls you’re not attracted to, the wait-staff – anybody. Just get comfortable breaking the ice and being social.
As that social muscle warms up you’ll notice your confidence building and it’ll be easier and easier to initiate conversations. With that momentum it’ll be no problem to walk up to that knock-out across the bar. In fact, after you’ve been chatting up everybody else, it’d feel weird not to go approach her.
Take it one step at a time
The idea of approaching a woman and carrying a conversation beyond that initial “hi” can feel daunting for a lot of guys. But you can gain confidence in your conversation skills through practice and by taking things one step at a time.
If simply approaching women is difficult for you, then just get used to breaking the ice. Go around the bar giving cheers and high fives to the people passing by. Once you get comfortable with that, start to throw out some banter – just a line or two that’s light, fun, and playful (you can learn more about banter here). Eventually it’ll be no problem to banter for with anyone for a few minutes. Once you hit that stage look to further the interaction through the qualification and rapport phases (basically, get to know her on a more personal level) and start building sexual tension.
Wherever you’re at, you should always look to build your skills by taking your next interaction one step further than your last one. Keep at it and you’ll be able to confidently talk to women in no time.
Machine gun approaches
Since experience builds confidence with women, you want to get as much experience talking to them as you can. A great way to do this is through “machine gun approaches”. This means completely letting loose and talking to EVERY woman you see.
Don’t worry about the quality of the interaction. Don’t worry about creating attraction, making a good impression, or any of that. In fact, don’t even think about what you’re doing. Just get out there and start talking to women.
To keep yourself from overthinking, you can stick to one line to open every interaction. Even if it’s something as simple as “hi, my name is ___, how’s your day going?” For many guys, this will be incredibly difficult at first. But the more you do it the easier it gets. Going from one approach to the next again and again will make approaching women feel like an absolute joke – you’ll wonder why it ever made you nervous in the first place.
When it comes to doing machine gun approaches you may want to consider going to a venue you don’t normally frequent. Head to a bar in another town where you won’t have to worry about being recognized. If bars aren’t your thing, head to a mall and wait at the bottom of an escalator. Then don’t leave until you’ve invited 50 attractive girls that pass by out for coffee. It’ll smash that nervousness to pieces – and you’ll likely end up with a couple dates then and there.
Pick the right venue
It’s going to be incredibly difficult to approach women and get that experience if you’re going to venues you don’t enjoy. If you’re at a place where you don’t feel comfortable, then it’ll take a lot more energy to work up the nerve to be social. So make the whole process easier on yourself by picking an environment you enjoy. It’ll help put you in a comfortable, relaxed state that makes approaching women much easier.
Take the pressure off meeting women
Now, some guys are so terrified by meeting women that they still need that extra push to get out there and do it. If you’re in that category, here are some exercises that will help you get going:
Use affirmations. Before approaching a woman remind yourself of something positive. Something like: “the outcome doesn’t matter”, “women enjoy meeting me”, “I’m a sexy motherfucker!” Anything that resonates with you and gets you motivated to get out there and do it.
Make approaching women about something else. When you go out, give your friend your car keys and tell him not to give them back until you approach 10 women. Make a deal with your buddy that you must approach any woman he points to and if you don’t, you owe him $5. Rather than being nervous about making a good impression, the interaction becomes about getting your car keys and keeping your money. It’ll give you that extra kick you need. Plus, since you’re not focused on the outcome of the interaction you’ll likely be much less nervous and have more fun with it.
Find supportive, like-minded guys to help you. Making a change is hard – it’s even harder if you try to go it alone. Find some people in your life that will support you in your quest to get more confidence and experience. People who will hold you accountable and make sure you spend Friday night approaching women – and not reading articles like this one. It could be a friend, family member, professional coach, pen pal…whatever. Just find someone.
Researchers have consistently found a correlation between confidence and success. Confident people are perceived as being more attractive, they’re better at sales and do well in the front of the room. They also believe they can handle whatever life throws at them and take more risks, which naturally leads to unlocking opportunities. If you’d like to see more of these characteristics in yourself, here’s what you can do to be more comfortable in your own skin.
1. Always be ready to tell a good story.
Even if your life is generally quiet and lacking adventure or drama, you should always be able to answer the question “What’s new?” with something other than “Not much.” Confident people are good conversationalists, but it’s a skill that some people need to practice more than others. Are you planning a vacation? Remodeling part of your house? Running kids around to sporting events? Invested in a big project at work that’s demanding your attention? Find something interesting to say when someone starts a conversation.
2. Demonstrate inquisitiveness.
Also in the spirit of being a good conversationalist, try to show genuine interest in the people around you. Here are good questions to get people talking about themselves: What are you most excited about? What are you struggling with at the moment? What’s next? You should also be prepared to answer these queries yourself — doing so will help you be ready to tell a good story.
3. Practice good posture.
Do not slouch — it communicates you lack faith in yourself. If this is a weak area for you, try posting a note on the edge of your computer display with a reminder such as an up-arrow in thick red marker. To correct yourself, roll your shoulders back and imagine pulling a string from the top of your head, elongating your spine and raising your chin so it’s in a neutral, forward-facing position.
4. Stop worrying about what people think.
Less confident people often can’t be present and their best selves if they’re constantly asking themselves questions such as: Did I come across as confident? Did they think that I was smart? Did they think that I was successful? Did they think what I said was stupid? In truth, you can never really know what someone else thinks of you. So, instead of worrying about it, concentrate on what you want to communicate, such as asking good questions, not engaging in time-wasting small talk, and looking people in the eyes.
5. Eliminate negative self-talk.
Pay attention to what you’re saying to yourself within your mind. Every time you think something like “I can’t do this,” replace it with something positive such as “I’m going to give it my best shot.” The key is to step out of yourself and look at your self-talk as an outsider. How would it make you feel to hear someone sitting next to you say “I’m so [fat, dumb, ugly, slow, etc.]?” Pretty harsh, right? Nurture yourself within your thought life, just as you would with someone else.
It conveys confidence, regardless of what you’re really thinking. Plus, many studies have found that smiling is highly correlated with whether or not a person is perceived as likable.
7. Learn from your mistakes without dwelling on them.
How you handle slip-ups is also important. Confident people understand no one is perfect, and however you just screwed up, it’s probably not the end of the world. Ask yourself: How important will this mistake seem in three months? If your mistake involves work, acknowledge your flub and vow to do better next time.
8. Get good at public speaking.
If this isn’t your strength, find opportunities to build this important skill. Before giving your talk, practice in front of family and friends. It’s awkward, but will help you streamline what you want to say and envision being in front of the room.
9. Take an improv class.
This one is scary, but remarkably effective. Several successful CEOs have told me they credit improvisational theatre with the success they have been able to achieve in business and life. Typically, you’re given a location and situation and need to create a meaningful story by interacting with two or three other people. Essentially, this kind of acting helps people become comfortable with uncertainty — a trait all confident people possess.
10. Get physically stronger.
Strength training doesn’t need to demand a lot of your time, and it can markedly affect your level of confidence. First, it can help you lose weight, as your metabolism increases with more muscle mass. It can also help your posture. Strengthening your core muscles –which include abs, back, and hips — helps stabilize your spine and keep it aligned.
11. Invest in your appearance.
Whether this means buying a new outfit, getting a good haircut, fixing dental problems, or seeing an esthetician, people who look good on the outside feel better on the inside. In fact, researchers have found that when people think they are more physically attractive, they believe that they belong to a higher social class, regardless of how good looking they really are or their actual social status.
Most people agree that self-confidence is a crucial prerequisite to success. Not just success with women and dating — although that’s certainly one major benefit — but success in the world of business, friendships and life in general.
Unfortunately for the most part you can’t “fake” self-confidence, it’s something that you develop as you improve various facets of your life, such as your appearance. If you try too hard, or just seem unnatural, people will definitely catch on pretty quickly.
That said, there are a few tricks that can be used to successfully convey a sense of confidence. As an added benefit, putting these techniques to use will also gradually increase your own self-esteem.
If you’re dedicated and work at it, you’ll notice yourself really beginning to believe that you can be successful, which is how true self-confidence is developed.
Technique #1: Use Correct Body Posture
This is a very, very important method of conveying confidence. Many expert “pick up artists” choose to teach their students body posture before anything else because it immediately indicates a man’s confidence level.
Body posture is more than just sitting up straight. It means standing tall, with your stomach in and chest out. Don’t over-exaggerate this, just make sure you’re not slumped over and letting your stomach droop to the floor.
Your shoulders should be back slightly, and your head up. Many people have a subconscious slump that not only takes at least a half inch off their height, but it also makes them look timid and uncertain.
Alpha males walk with their heads held high, they shake hands with a firm grip, and they speak loudly and with authority. You want to be seen as an alpha male.
By doing all of these things correctly you will notice that people pay more attention when you speak, and tend to be more likely to stare at you as you enter a room. Women will almost certainly gravitate towards you if you’re oozing with confidence.
Over time this conscious attempt to convey confidence will turn into genuine self-confidence. By the time that happens, you won’t need to “pretend” to be confident, because your self-esteem will have skyrocketed.
Technique #2: Buy Clothes That Say You’re Confident
By this I am referring to wearing clothes that are a bit edgy, trendy or different.
You’ll need to be careful with this one, because choosing the wrong clothes can look downright awful. The trick is to find clothes that are both socially acceptable but also stylish and unique.
As an example, let’s say you work in an office environment. Everyone is used to seeing you wear a white shirt, blue blazer, and bland khaki pants.
Something “edgy” and trendy for this setting might be a dark purple shirt and a silver tie. Or better yet, how about a light-colored gray pinstripe suit with a white shirt, light green skinny tie, and a silver tie bar?
Even for weekends and casual occasions, you can still portray a sense of confidence with your fashion choice.
One great way to start is by going into a favorite store and identifying a clothing item you think is trendy and cool, but that you would never own yourself. There’s usually plenty of these in every store — maybe it’s a hat, a belt, sunglasses, etc.
Now, instead of saying “I don’t think I would look good in that,” try it on. Ask a friend, a store employee, or even a stranger what they think.
You’d probably be surprised at what can look good on you. Do this a few times and you’ll end up with a wardrobe that’s trendier, edgier, and conveys a stronger sense of confidence.
Wear these items regularly, and your confidence actually will improve.
Mark Belmont, BSc, is a cross between Giorgio Armani and David DeAngelo. He’s a style and fashion consultant with a passion for helping single men improve their dating and love life. Mark’s list of “Universally Attractive” fashion and grooming tips has turned thousands of average men into dapper, well-dressed James Bonds.
But then you look into the mirror and…let’s just say, any similarity is well hidden which understandably dampens your enthusiasm.
Can I tell you something? Being attractive has little to do with looks and everything to do with “aura”.
An incredibly attractive person lives inside of you, dying to come out.
Come on, let’s bring that magnetism to the surface. That is, if you dare!
1. Stop thinking you’re not attractive and just “be” attractive
Make yourself attractive by taking on the right attitude. If you are burying your attractiveness, there’s a reason. Do yourself a favor. Go on a mission and find that reason.
Born within you, there is an attractive and playful side so decide to own it!
Change doesn’t happen over time, it happens in the moment you make that decision. Read on.
2. Deal with your past love stories so they don’t fight with your current story
Bringing the pain and heartbreak of past relationships into the present will kill your sexiness with fear.
Those voices lie below the surface and convince you that history is repeating itself. The only way to live in today is to first look the memories in the face and heal those hurts.
Someone who has learned from where they’ve been and determined to make the present far better is emotionally available. And that, my friend, is extremely charming.
3. Find your James Bond confidence
That sense of knowing who you are and what makes you worth kissing will exude attractiveness to everyone around you even if that’s not your intention. I learned this from my second time around husband who says I was like a magnet to him.
Inner confidence attracts (this is not arrogance we are talking about here).
You laugh more easily.
It gives you a kind of mystery that tells someone that you would not bring a lot of “drama” into a relationship. Rather, you would make life interesting.
4. Dress yourself up and take yourself out
The clothes do not make the person but they sure can enhance the person’s best features. Even if you don’t like to shop, make it an interesting project to find out what colors and fit look great on you.
Feeling sharp translates into confidence so be prepared with a couple of outfits that bring out that “Bond” quality in you, man or woman.
Then take yourself on a date somewhere you would love to go just because you are worth it. Be truly ok with being alone and soon you will be giving off incredibly charming vibes.
5. Stand tall, shoulders back, look others in the eye and smile
Most men agree that the most attractive thing about a woman is her smile. Why? Because when a woman is happy, they don’t have to wonder how to get her there.
In the same way, the last thing a woman wants to take on is being a man’s mom. She wants a man, not a boy.
Your posture and the way you present yourself tells the world about you.
So practice standing tall and being direct and don’t worry if you aren’t feeling confident in the moment. Doing this automatically communicates confidence to your brain and soon your feelings will follow.
6. Become a romance master
We know the moments.
He guides her into a dark room and suddenly its filled with incredible light with music and a table set for two. As a woman, I’ve been told men fear romance because they run out of ideas and they know their lady’s heart responds to being wooed.
Romance can be as simple as honestly looking into the eyes of your lover in order to see what’s really going on inside of them.
Romance can be the words you use in a text during the day or when you say goodnight.
Taking the time to go into your heart and find out what speaks to the heart of your lover creates romance.
Be careful here because being open to growing the romantic side of you will make you incredibly attractive!
7. Fall in love with your life
You have so much to offer. “Incredibly attractive” is simply knowing that and not tolerating play-acting in your life.
It’s about what’s going on inside of you – inside your deepest heart.
Imagine being so interested in your own life that you can’t wait to get up in the morning.
Imagine having a sense of passionate purpose at the base of your life continually exciting you about how you are made and what you are meant to do to make a difference.
Imagine taking control of your life so that you spend your time the ways you choose to and with whom you choose to.
Imagine listening to someone because you want to know them, not because you want to impress them.
Imagine looking directly into someone’s eyes and saying what you feel and asking for what you want without fear.
How would this feel? Empowering, right?
Begin moving toward becoming this person. That’s the secret to making yourself incredibly attractive.
How does someone appear confident and feel secure? Is there a look or a secret behind why some people exude confidence? The answer may surprise you. It isn’t about what you’re wearing or what you look like, it’s about how mindful and prepared you are (How Mindfulness Can Increase Self-Confidence). Expressing yourself with others may be anxiety provoking but doesn’t have to be with these tricks on how to appear confident and feel secure.
If you want to appear confident and feel it in any situation you’ve got to take a look at what or who’s keeping you from feeling secure. Maybe your boss who intimidates you, perhaps you are afraid to disappoint that friend or partner. Knowing what situations evoke feelings of anxiety or inadequacy gives you power. Why? Now you can rehearse what you want to say and practice how you can handle the future situations. This simple step helps you feel and appear confident because it enables you to speak up and increase your self-esteem.
For example, I was feeling a bit nervous before meeting a new client. I couldn’t just talk myself out of it, but I could cope by appearing more confident. I visualized myself in my chair speaking with clarity, having a good session and feeling secure about my every move. I also took a few tips from my book, which are below, to help me remember how to appear confident. Guess what? The session was so much easier and fun, I was barely nervous at all. The more you act and appear confident the more you really feel it too (A DBT Skill To Feel Motivated And Confident). Here are a few basic points to remember that will help enhance your inner and outer confidence from my book Express Yourself.
How to Appear Confident with Others
- Let your body do the talking. Nonverbal communication is important. Your body language and facial expressions can be just as important as your words. Posture is key. Slouching and looking at the ground makes you look like a pushover (as if, literally, someone could push you over). Standing up straight reflects confidence.
- Be mindful of your tone. A friendly or gentle tone of voice is helpful in any kind of communication with others, even if it’s a confrontation. Stay away from sarcasm, as many people use sarcasm as a defense mechanism for insecurity. Speak clearly — not loudly — if you want others to hear you, and be careful not to sound aggressive. Practice listening to yourself talk and even record it if you really want to improve and feel more confident in your next interaction.
- Be a good listener. How you listen is just as important as how you speak. Put down your phone, take out your ear buds and try to focus on what is being said. Look directly at the person who’s talking to you. Communicate respect with your facial expression —hold off on the frowning or eye-rolling. Ask good questions based on what you’ve heard. How nice is it when someone acts interested by asking you a question? Maybe a coworker told you about his kid’s soccer team. Asking about how their season is going shows you listen and care. In an argument, or if you’re feeling insecure about something, ask and listen. Asking shows confidence.
- Be empathetic. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and imagine how you’d feel in his or her situation. If you want to talk to someone about something important to you or are nervous, before you say a word, look at what they are doing or think about how they may be feeling and ask yourself is it a good time or if they are in a place to hear what you want to say.
- Smile. If you aren’t happy, don’t try to fake it, but smiling generally lightens your mood and makes other people respond more positively to you.
Appear Confident by Warming Up
Still not feeling confident? On last tip: warm up.
Before you head onto the field for any sport or step on the stage to perform, you need to warm up your muscles and your mind. If your goal is to appear confident, your warm-up will help you get focused on that goal, not your fears. This may take just a few seconds, but it’s super important in making sure you’re in the zone — so that your emotions aren’t running the show and you are feeling secure and confident. Take a minute to breathe, or find a way to distract yourself to reduce the intensity of your feelings before saying a word. The more control you have over your emotions the more confident you will feel and appear.
Roberts, E. (2015, December 3). How to Appear Confident and Feel Secure, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, April 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2015/12/how-to-appear-confident-and-feel-secure
Author: Emily Roberts MA, LPC
Emily is a psychotherapist, she is intensively trained in DBT, she the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are. You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
Meeting new people can be daunting for many of us – you want to appear confident, but if you’re shy or introverted, it can be difficult.
Luckily, something as simple as changing your body language can instantly give the impression that you’re self-assured.
We spoke to TV body language expert Judi James to find out how to fake confidence when faced with a room full of strangers…
7 TIPS TO APPEAR MORE CONFIDENT
1. First impressions
They say that first impressions count, so use greeting rituals, such as a handshake, as an opportunity to create impact.
It’s important to be prepared – you know what is going to happen, so keep your right hand free when you’re meeting people and instigate the shake if you’re the host. Offer a firm, dry hand and pay attention to eye contact.
If you’re air-kissing, its right cheek to right then left cheek to left – and touch the other person lightly on the shoulders to help steer them. Take control of the situation to avoid awkwardness!
2. Perfect the eye smile
A genuine-looking smile can be difficult when you’re under pressure, but an authentic and confident smile always starts in the eyes.
Look around the room you’ve entered and make eye contact with people using a softened, friendly expression. You’ll come across as genuine and confident, making people naturally warm to you.
3. Eye contact
We all know that eye contact is linked to confidence, but overdoing it can appear threatening. Use 100 per cent eye contact combined with nodding as you listen to someone – it shows that you are engaged and taking in everything that the person is saying.
If you are speaking, however, do not be afraid to change where you are looking occasionally – you will come across as even more confident if you smoothly break eye contact. It’ll also help keep the other person engaged.
4. And breathe…
If you’re networking or presenting at a meeting, always take a small pause before you start to speak – and breathe. This pause will allow you to get your posture right and take control of your thinking.
Too many people rush to start speaking before their thoughts and body language can catch up, which can lead to you appearing flustered.
5. Power gesticulation
Confident people don’t tend to fiddle or use distracting hand gestures when they speak. If you fiddle with rings, try leaving them off until you break the habit.
If you want to emphasise a point, why not try using precision gestures – such as touching the thumb and index finger together, or copying the ‘invisible brick’ gesture (Google Angela Merkel and Theresa May!) Being overly animated is distracting – if you gesticulate less, people will pay more attention when you do use your hands and it will carry more meaning.
6. Mind the gap
As funny as this may sound, confidence is linked to armpit displays. For example, more anxious people are more likely to ‘self-hug’ which means their arms are folded or pinned to the sides of their body. Conversely, someone is more likely to come across as arrogant when they sit with their hands clasped behind the head, showing off their armpits.
To get the right balance, aim to have an ‘upturned V’ gap under the armpit, you can do this by sitting with your elbows resting on the arms of your chair.
7. Find your ‘Power Pose’
Your posture has an extremely powerful effect on your subconscious and one of the best ways of immediately making yourself look and feel more confident, is to adopt what I like to call your ‘Power Pose’.
Although you might feel a bit silly the first couple of times you make yourself do this, try pulling yourself up to full height, then rolling your shoulders back as well as down and sticking out your chest a little. Make sure you are standing with your feet a few inches apart, with the weight balanced out on both feet. This is your Power Pose – look in the mirror and remember this!
Now try standing with your legs crossed at the ankle and shoulders hunched – you’ll immediately start to look and feel more vulnerable.
Judi James is supporting Macmillan Cancer Support’s new Murder Mystery fundraising game ‘Whodunnit?’. Gather your friends on Saturday 25th March for an evening of bluffing, accusations and outrageous over-acting to help raise vital funds for people affected by cancer.
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Are you supporting a family member facing a health crisis, facing a crisis in your professional life, or dealing with a traumatic end to a relationship?
Or is this a time of a different kind of severe stress in your life?
What is stressful about severe stress is that you deeply want the situation to work out, but there are many aspects of the situation you can’t control.
Your power in any stressful situation comes from maximizing what you CAN control. Here are five things you can control even when circumstances seem stacked against you.
To see the situation with a new perspective, ask the question: How is this situation happening FOR me instead of TO me? Then your focus will be on what you want to learn and what strengths you can develop from this situation.
Rather than wanting to avoid it or wish it wasn’t happening, have a Growth Mindset. Stressful situations require us to get out of our comfort zones and find solutions that we didn’t need beforehand. Many women are grateful that they had to develop new skills in difficult times because it helped them be more successful and compassionate.
Keep up basic self-care
Stressful situations are overtaxing. You must constantly put your energy into improving the cause of the stress and not pressuring yourself to do anything not essential to dealing with it.
Although it might seem indulgent at the time, it’s important to keep up the basics of your self-care. Prioritize sleep because that’s when your brain processes all the stress you faced during the day.
If you wake up at 2 am with your thoughts racing about your worries or your to-do list, practice Left Nostril Breathing. Cover your right nostril and breathe exclusively through your left nostril – it activates your relaxation system and will put you back to sleep within 3 minutes.
The more stressful the situation, the more you have to proactively create calm inside of you. Anything you did regularly before the stress (e.g., deep breathing, exercise, meditation, stretching, a morning cup of tea, or journaling) will be important to maintain as much as possible.
Honor your emotions
In order to get through previous stressful events, you have already developed coping mechanisms. You may be someone who grits your way through the situation while holding all your stress inside. Or someone who becomes more emotional. Or you may use external substances or unhealthy food to help you stuff down your feelings or numb your emotions – because they would feel too overwhelming if you didn’t.
Respect your coping mechanisms; they are in place in order to get you through the acute situation. But have awareness of your behaviors and know if they are actually helping you deal with the situation.
Women’s bodies are built to process stress by connecting with other people. By sharing your experiences with someone (or a group of girlfriends) you trust, it will calm your nerves. It will help you know and make sense of what you are feeling and give you a place to come up with solutions.
It’s women’s natural way to be attuned to the feelings in their bodies and to do any expression of those feelings (e.g, cry, speak, gesture, raise their voice, move their body, etc). The most intense part of uncomfortable feelings lasts only 90 seconds , so if you can allow yourself to feel your emotions for that time you can get to the other side where you feel more comfortable.
Have a resilient mindset
Positive psychology teaches that you have a better chance of staying optimistic when you appraise your situation with the 3 Ps:
- Personal – try to not take the situation personally or think it’s your fault
- Pervasive – try to not see the challenge as affecting every area of your life; maintain some aspects of your life where you can still have joy and connection
- Permanent – try to not see your feelings of hardship as permanent
Stay connected to your sense of purpose
A severely stressful situation can make it hard to remember what was important in your life before your change in circumstances. If you can stay connected to the bigger picture purpose of your life, it will help you to believe even in the hard moments that “this too shall pass.” This paraphrase by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche can sum up your ability to persevere: “When you have a why that is strong enough, you can endure any how. ”
Bold lips, bolder you!
- By Kritika Manchanda
- August 26, 2019
Confidence is something that comes from within. When you feel good about yourself from inside, it automatically shows outside. But many times your confidence seems to dip and that’s when you need these genie tips. Super easy to implement, these 5 ways to build your confidence and appear more attractive will change your life.
Here are 5 Ways to build your confidence and appear more attractive.
1.Be mindful of your body language
Your body language speaks volumes and many times you tend to overlook it. Keep your back straight, maintain a good posture, stop slouching, make eye contact, be firm with handshakes, and exuberate that boss vibe! These are the best tips to improve your physical appearance.
People often ask- How can I improve my physical appearance?
Our answer: Eat healthy, exercise, take regular baths and think good. All these combined will improve the physical appearance.
2. Wear clothes as per your body type
Wearing well fitted clothes that suit your body type will automatically make you look a lot more put together.
How can a woman become more attractive? Make sure the fitting is just right, be it your top or bottom wear so that it accentuates your curves!
How can a guy look more attractive? Same way! Wear sharp fitted clothes. Don’t wear slouchy trousers to work. Keep your shoes polished always and your shirts well-ironed.
That’s Tanya! Always in well-fitted clothes, always attractive and high on confidence. Don’t be bothered by negativity. Build a positive shield around yourself. Hi, I am Kritika.
3. Fake it till you make it
This is a little hack that I’m sure will go a long way in enhancing your confidence. Act confident and pretend to be on top of your game even when you’re partially dying inside. This will give you that much needed push and you’ll look more confident and attractive.
4. Bold lipstick
This is my secret trick and always works. On days when you’re feeling bleh and want an instant upliftment, put on a red lip or a bright fuchsia. It elevates your mood and makes you look more confident.
Bold & Beautiful Tanya.
Girls ask us often- How can I feel more attractive? How do I become more confident in myself? How to be more attractive? Well, confidence and being attractive is a sum total of a lot of factors but a bright lipstick is an instant fix me up. When Tanya was at her all time low, her lipsticks were her weapons to feel confident and attractive. It worked for her.
5. Wear your smile
Everything will fall in place, just wear that big bright smile of yours and be ready to conquer the world. When dealing with a difficult situation it’s easy to get caught up, but it’s easier to smile and let it pass! Smiling people are considered to be more attractive. Nobody wants to see a broody face. Cut to questions like- How to be more attractive? How to be confident? How to look beautiful and attractive naturally? A smile is the answer to all these questions. It works, 100 %.
Hope you’ll implement these tips and your confidence will shoot through the roof.
And hey, don’t forget to follow Tanya on her Instagram here for amazing Personality Development tips. Her content is amazing, I promise.
This is not true of all women, certainly, but lack of confidence has been identified as a major factor in women’s lagging career progress and compensation. It happens for many reasons.
Women Actually FEEL Less Confident
Even when it’s not warranted, women tend to feel less confident at work. Citing several research studies in The Confidence Code, Katty Kay and Claire Shipman point out:
- Men tend to overestimate their own performance. Women, on the other hand, tend to underestimate theirs.
- When considering and applying for promotions, women tend to overprepare and hold back, while underqualified and underprepared men tend to be far less hesitant.
- Men are much more likely than women to initiate salary negotiations and ask for more in those negotiations than women. 1
Male vs. Female Modes: Dominance vs. Equality
Through extensive work on gender dynamics and communication, linguist Deborah Tannen finds a key difference between male and female styles learned outside the workplace.
Men tend to be more comfortable with hierarchy and aim for dominance. Doing so, men go for the “one up” position and avoid the “one down” position.
Women tend to focus more on relationships and are more likely to try to maintain the appearance of equality (especially with other women). As a consequence, women may inadvertently appear less confident and competent. 2
Women’s Communication Rituals Downplay Confidence
To maintain this appearance of equality, women often engage in communication rituals that, at the same time, cause them to appear weaker and less decisive—for instance, apologizing, asking instead of stating, hedging, or making indirect requests instead of giving orders.
Double Standards Work Against Women
Men and women might get totally different reactions when using the same behaviors. Men are expected to speak up in meetings; women who do “talk too much.” Male managers are complimented for “taking charge”; female managers are criticized for being “bossy.” He’s “direct”; she’s “abrasive.” Men who talk about their families are “balanced”; women who do are “unprofessional.” It’s not fair, but it still happens. Ironically, women are often their own worst enemies when they are critical of other women or hold greater expectations of them than they do of male colleagues.
The Question: What Can Women Do to Create Stronger Presence?
“Professional success demands political savvy, a certain amount of scheming and jockeying, a flair for self-promotion, and not letting a no stop you. Women often aren’t very comfortable with that.”
—Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, The Confidence Code
“It’s time to drop the double standard. Gender should neither magnify nor excuse rude and dismissive treatment. We should expect professional behavior, and even kindness, from everyone.”
—Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In
“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”
“You had the power all along, my dear.”
—Glinda the Good Witch
Try This: Seven Ways Women Can Come Across More Powerfully at Work
# 5: Limit Rituals That Undermine Your Power
In Talking 9 to 5, Deborah Tannen points out many conversational rituals and “softeners” women use to maintain equality with other women. While these may have a positive effect with some women, they tend to weaken overall effectiveness. Men tend to interpret these as admissions of weakness, fault, or incompetence.
Be aware of these “softeners.” Use them purposefully, if at all. For instance:
Do not let a lack of self-confidence prevent you from living a fulfilling life and accomplishing your God-given destiny. Low self-esteem has its origin in fear. It is a tool used by the devil to stop you from being effective as a Christian and it manifests as depression, confusion, indecisiveness and lack of faith.
Low self-esteem comes as a result of focusing on the wrong things. If you choose to focus on negative circumstances-the bills that are due, your faults and shortcomings, not to mention the 6 o’clock news-you will be seriously depressed in a short amount of time. Here are 10 ways to boost self-esteem and have a faith-filled outlook on life:
1. Spend time giving God heartfelt praise. This puts your focus on Him and releases your faith in His ability to help you succeed.
2.Stop comparing yourself to others. God made you unique and you can never be your best when you are trying to be like someone else.
3. Meditate on scriptures that have the answers to what you want in life. This will cause you to expect good things.
4. Consistently speak positive, faith-filled words. You can not think negative thoughts while you are speaking positive things out of your mouth.
5. Don’t say or think critical things about others. If you do, you may assume that others are criticizing you behind your back-not one of the best ways to build self-esteem.
6. Write out a vision for your life. Proverbs 29:18 says that people with no vision will perish. A vision will give you focus and cause you to be excited about life.
7. Learn to laugh at yourself when you make a mistake. Look at it as a learning opportunity rather than a reason to beat yourself up.
8. Exercise regularly. A good cardiovascular workout causes the brain to release chemicals that lead to feelings of well-being and a more positive outlook on life.
9. Look your best. Wearing stylish clothes that flatter your figure and getting your hair styled is a great way to improve self-esteem.
10. Laugh, have fun and hang out with positive people.
Low self-esteem will hinder or stop you from fulfilling your God-given destiny. Take whatever steps are necessary to renew your mind and get rid of inferiority. Choose to walk by faith and be the confident person you were meant to be.
Lorene Troyer is a writer who inspires women to discover and fulfill their calling in life. She recognizes the Bible as the ultimate success guide and her goal is to help women be victorious in every area of life. Visit Lorene’s website at http://victorious-woman.com/
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How to Look Confident Approaching a Girl
Note: This is a follow-up of Friday’s article: The Best Pickup Lines Aren’t Spoken. Please check that out to better understand this post.
The famous phrase “You can talk the talk but can you walk the walk?” applies perfectly to how you approach a girl. As I stated previously, what you say won’t matter if your non-verbal signals convey something different. Luckily, looking more confident just takes some effort and repetition until it becomes a true part of you.
Work on the following four points and you’ll notice a big impact on the responses you get from women.
Nothing makes a stronger first impression than a genuine smile. It exudes positive energy, is non-threatening, and shows you’ve got guts.
It kills me when I see a guy with a blank or serious expression approach a girl. A girl wants to be with a guy she can have fun with. She won’t be able to relax and enjoy herself if you seem nervous or tense. And if you don’t smile, you can’t expect her to reciprocate.
Use Strong Eye Contact
Confident men hold good eye contact. When you constantly look down or dart your eyes anxiously, you’re going to make her un-easy, too. Be boldly honest and communicate your interest through locking eyes with her. She’ll find you more trustworthy and intriguing.
Challenge yourself to make more regular eye contact with people throughout the day. Soon you’ll have no problem applying this to situations with women.
Develop a Clear and Powerful Voice
Slow down and speak clearly. Nearly everyone talks too fast and believes that if they aren’t rushing, the girl will get bored. It’s actually the opposite. A girl can’t build a connection with you if she’s struggling to understand what you’re saying. Speak with purpose — it draws her in and hides any nervousness you’re feeling.
Learn to project from your diaphragm and not from your throat. You will have a more powerful, resonant, and attractive voice. Start by practicing diaphragmatic breathing, it takes a few days to get familiar with it. When you’re using the right muscles, your real voice will begin to come through. I listened to Roger Love’s Vocal CDs in the car during my commute and they transformed my voice.
Display Self-Assured Body Language
Stand up straight, shoulders back, and head up. Move smoothly and deliberately. This means means less fidgeting, no sudden movements, and no awkward shuffling back and forth.
Open body language is friendly, so don’t be afraid to talk with your hands. Using gestures in a conversation keeps things interesting and shows that you’re passionate and personable. It’ll only be natural for you to progress and extend those gestures into touching her (such as on the shoulder or back.) Just be careful to keep your hands below chest level.
Remember, you don’t have to get overwhelmed and try to do this all at once. What worked for me was to first focus on one or two points that I needed improvement on. I saw a difference right away and it became easier to add in the rest.
5 ways to look more confident instantly
5 ways to look more confident instantly
Beyond any outfit, confidence is truly the sexiest thing you can wear. Of course, with life’s daily toils and media pressure, it’s not always easy to hold our chins up. Fortunately, confidence is buildable, like a muscle that needs to be used in order to get bigger and stronger. So, if you’re craving that lit-from-within glow that makes you feel incredible, learn these 5 ways to instantly look more confident!
Dress to Impress
Putting your best face forward usually starts with your style, a combination of attitude and fashion. When you combine these two unstoppable forces, you lay claim over a sexier and more impressive persona.
In truth, the way we dress and the vibes we give off, send silent messages about the type of person you are, suggests Professor Karen Pine from the University of Hertfordshire.
Think about the man who struts into work everyday with a tailored blazer and snazzy trousers, or the woman who dazzles in elegant blouses and point-toe stilettos—these are the people who steal the show and appear attractive.
By becoming more conscious about your impression, you can instantly become more appealing to others. This self-improvement will make you feel more confident and sparkly, which transmits a positive energy that merges into your everyday interactions.
Another important way to seem more confidence is to smile. Simple, right? When you’re always smiling, you’ll radiate a positive vibe and exude charm, making you adorably pleasant to be around. Smiling is also vital on dates as men are more attracted to happy women.
As neuroscientist, Psychologist John Micheals explains, “you’re setting the face into a more positive position, which can innately cause you to feel happier.” So, in essence, a smile helps create both inner and outer beauty!
Good Posture is Confidence Personified
Mama knew best when she told you to sit upright. Holding your body into a straighter position signals confidence and self-worth. On the other hand, slumping or slouching over indicates insecurity, even if that isn’t the case.
“ What I’ve learned over time is that the person that appears confident is often not as confident as they appear. They just simply do a few things well. They walk in a way that appears confident. Their eyes seem alert. They stand tall,” explains Trent Hamm, lifestyle expert. So, basically, even if you’re not feeling 100% up to par some days, never let this show up in your body language. Always keep your chin up!
Ace your Makeup
Just like having great taste in restaurants or clothes, your makeup choices should reflect the same level of care. Everyday, you should aim to put your best face forward, filling yourself up with the confidence of knowing you look presentable. If you’re lazy with your beauty routine, you won’t look or feel on point, and surely you can do better.
Never feel like you’re too busy or too above social pressure to put that extra effort into your looks. It’s worth it to feel dazzling, and yes, you’ll feel more confident! As a wise woman once said, “makeup is confidence applied directly to the face”. At the risk of sounding shallow, maybe this woman was on to something…
Be on Jerk Alert
Nothing’s more of a confidence buster than a jerky date. We’re talking about guys who are smug, arrogant and completely selfish. It’s these guys who think they’re god’s gift and answer their phone while you’re talking or always boast about getting attractive women. Shame! These guys are so toxic to a woman’s self-esteem—avoid them at all costs!
You may have come across a few of these duds in your life. No matter how much you try to forget them, they somehow always leave a little dent in your pride. Don’t let your confidence take the hit; if you know a guy’s bad news, don’t try to change him or wait for him to magically grow a heart—just opt out, fast!
Ultimately, having confidence teaches you to love yourself no matter what. The more you show signs of outer confidence, the better you’ll feel on the inside. Try it and see!
Many of my clients wish to appear more confident, especially in the workplace. If you don’t feel confident, there are some ways to look like you are that will help as you build the real thing. You can learn skills to appear confident when it matters the most such as when presenting, at job interviews, and events.
Be strategic in using your body language
- Did you know that nonverbal communication makes up most of our communication? Research says 60%! Make it a habit to thoughtfully use your body. First, your posture: stand up as tall as possible. Imagine there’s a string going from your feet up through your body through the top of your head and someone is pulling it – just like a marionette. Pull your shoulders down and back, lifting your chest, and raise your chin so you are looking straight ahead. My grandmother always told me to imagine I am holding a coin between the cheeks of my butt.
- Take up space around you with your body by using what Amy Cuddy suggests is a “power pose”. Researchers found that by stretching, putting your hands on your hips or dancing, you feel more confident, and you project it as well. Use the “power pose” before you go to a meeting, an interview or an event.
- Shake hands firmly when meeting someone. Using a solid handshake gives the other person a sense of your confidence. Be the one to extend your hand as you approach another person. Hold the hand for two seconds before releasing it. Never use a limp handshake.
Use your voice as an instrument that conveys your confidence
- Slow down the speed of your voice so you appear confident and relaxed. When being asked a question, don’t rush to answer but pause a second or two to plan your response.
- Research shows that a deeper voice increases others’ trust. So take your vocal pitch down a notch.
- Be careful never to use a question inflection on statements. For example, saying your name as a question, i.e. “My name is Andrea?” makes you seem as if you lack confidence. Instead, make it authoritative by going down at the end of the sentence. “My name is Andrea.”
- Use vocal dynamics and facial expressions that match your emotions. Projecting a mismatch such as smiling when you are expressing your frustration sends others a mixed message and an appearance of lacking in confidence.
Be certain to focus your attention on the needs and concerns of the other person
- Make eye contact by intentionally looking others in the eye as you speak, and as they talk. Smile. Be careful not to check your phone, scope out the rest of the room, or look away during these times.
- Keep your attention on the needs and concerns of the other person or audience. Don’t be concerned with how you are doing. Prepare and you’ll do fine.
Become aware of poor word-habits that rob the appearance of confidence
- Stop saying “I’m sorry.” Sometimes you don’t even know you’re apologizing for everything – it’s a word-habit. Become aware, and if you do notice you apologize a lot, ask close friends to help you stop.
- When someone compliments you, accept compliments gracefully by smiling and saying “thank you.” Don’t overuse your humility by putting yourself down, or downplaying your achievements.
- Watch out for turn-off phrases like “kind of,” “sort of,” “like,” and using too many “umms”.
Practice, practice, practice
- Practice your posture, voice, words, and attention during conversations with people around you. Walk down the street or hallways with a mindful awareness of yourself as a confident person. Make direct eye contact when you see others, using a smile and a concise “hi.” Ask a friend to act as your audience or the interviewer if you’re preparing for a presentation or an interview.
You may have heard the phrase, “fake it until you make it.” By behaving in ways that project confidence to others, you will feel your brain aligning with your actions and your confidence grow.
Feeling not so confident when hanging out in bars or standing in an elevator in your workplace? Perhaps you lack an essential element in your wardrobe. Yes, we’re talking about high heels. But before you get too excited to click that “add to cart” button, make sure that your feet are up for the challenge. If you are in Singapore, you can always find a good podiatrist for your foot issues to make sure that your feet are ready to rock that red stilettos.
Some women complain about the painful pressure on their feet, but wearing the right heels will help you to inhabit a different and bolder character. Here’s how slipping on high heels can boost your confidence.
- Heels make you look taller
A study at Oxford University says that the majority of short women are also short on confidence. Height has an impact on how a person views her social status, and women of shorter height tend to feel paranoid about potential biases. This is because we live in an appearance-based society where “taller is better” is the famous mantra. There is no shortcut to appearing a little taller unless you wear a pair of high heels. Wearing heels will let you see the world at a better height, lessen your insecurities, and eventually stimulate your confidence.
- Heels exude professionalism
Wearing high heels is a part of professional etiquette. The majority of companies require their female employees to wear heels to preserve their professional look and gain the customers’ trust. This is because people form perceptions of you based on how you dress and look. When you go inside the interview room, your recruiter’s impression of you will be significantly affected by the kinds of clothes and shoes you wear. Opinions are formed quickly, but they have a long-lasting impact on other people’s expectations and attitudes toward you. Wearing heels on your first day of work will probably earn you a good impression throughout your stay in the company.
- Heels emphasize your femininity
In the earliest years, high-heeled footwear was initially made for male aristocrats to make them look taller and create a formidable persona. From being a symbol of patriarchal power, high heels have become the ultimate symbol of the female gender. Many scientific experiments confirm that wearing heels makes you look more attractive, especially to men. Stilettos or even pumps can accentuate the sex-specific elements of a woman’s walk. They make the feet smaller and cause you to sway your hips more, attracting more attention. Don’t forget that even the Prince searched for Cinderella because of her pretty, high-heeled glass footwear.
- Heels enhance your posture
Having good posture is timeless advice for gaining that elusive self-confidence. By wearing the right heels properly, you become more aware of your movements and stature. They force you to straighten your back and prevent you from slouching. However, heels alone will not guarantee the best posture. You need to learn how to stand correctly in your stilettos. The rule is to put equal weight on your feet.
Who would have thought that footwear initially made for men could do so much for women? Go on and grab your pair of high heels and be the next Cinderella!
How to appear confident and self-assured, even when you’re not
By Janet S. Kole
p by Lars Leetaru
Into your mind pops the image of a lawyer. Is it Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird? Is it the Atticus Finch of Go Set a Watchman? Vinny Gambini in My Cousin Vinny?
In other words: Who is your role model? And how do you measure up?
Every generation of lawyers has its own challenges. When I started practicing, way back in the last century, there were very few female lawyers, meaning that my role models were mostly male. And of course, we all need role models—at work, in court, among our colleagues—because we are always playing a role.
Today, there are many more and more diverse role models for young lawyers. Yet the older male persona is still what people think of when they think “lawyer.”
We all want to be the kind of lawyer whom our clients trust, our colleagues admire and judges respect. Usually, it takes time to build trust, admiration and respect.
THE ALLURE OF AGE
Vancouver, Canada, lawyer Jeremy Hessing-Lewis, who is now a consultant for law firms as well as a practicing lawyer, has a unique perspective on what clients look for when hiring a lawyer. “Whether justified or not, people want to hire the 60-year-old, gray-haired male lawyer,” he says. He notes that because the law is complex, its practitioners require intelligence, hard work and experience. “Experience takes time to acquire. Although age is not proof of a capable lawyer, it certainly is a good proxy for experience.”
In other words, most people trust lawyers who are older. Some people only trust lawyers who are male, but that number is sure to dwindle.
So how can you adapt the traits of the trusted counselor to your own personality and style? This is a continuous and necessary process, because we are all changing ourselves over time.
Early in my career, I realized that the most successful young lawyers in the firm carried themselves with assurance and replied to all questions as if they knew the answer. Most of the time, their responses were adequate. Occasionally, they were completely wrong. But they were so self-assured, the error had no lasting negative ramifications for their careers at the firm.
I am not suggesting that you pull answers to important legal questions out of thin air. But you can, with the right tone, imply that you have it all under control. For example, as I learned to do, you can say something along these lines: “Although I think I know the answer to that question, I want to check the latest law on it, and I’ll be able to find the definitive answer for you by this afternoon.” You may not remember, but that was the kind of answer that played well on the essay portion of the bar exam. It demonstrates a general familiarity with the law as well as the ability to find out what more there is to know. It also shows that you know where to look.
The way you carry yourself can also convey experience, even when you have none. Stand straight. Keep your head up. Pull yourself up to your full height (in my case, this wasn’t very much; but it made me feel tall). When you speak, don’t mumble. Speak loudly and clearly.
Buddy Segal, a senior partner at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis when I was there, had another criterion as well: Walk fast. You’ll seem like a go-getter. You’ll seem as if you’re working, working, working.
In other words, fake age and experience until you actually get there.
However, don’t go too far into the zone of overconfidence. You wouldn’t want to backslap the managing partner. Or act familiar with the judge. Show your client the best you.
POINTS FOR PERSONALITY
And try to figure out how to mimic age and experience based on your real personality. For me, this meant being “the reasonable woman.” I am measured in my tone, seemingly always willing to see every side to a question.
We older lawyers learned in law school about the “reasonable man.” (In today’s world, it is called the “reasonable person.”) The reasonable person is a fictive member of the community—an amalgamation of community standards—whose judgment a jury is told to apply. I decided to adopt this persona in court and in my law firm. I figured that if the judge tells a jury to use the reasonable-person standard, they will listen to my side of the story if I come across as the reasonable woman.
The “persona” you employ is important to your success as a lawyer. It will enable you to win in front of a judge or jury, it will enable you to instill confidence in your clients, and it will enable you to set yourself apart from your colleagues. You can “play” lawyer until you become your role.
This article originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of the ABA Journal with this headline: “Playing the Part: How to appear confident and self-assured, even when you’re not.”
Janet S. Kole is a retired trial lawyer from Philadelphia and the author of numerous books, including Avoiding Bad Depositions: A Simple Guide to Complex Issues and the murder mystery Suggestion of Death.