How to Be More Confident in Life: At Work, School and Speaking
|How to be more confident. Photo: KnowInsiders|
"Confidence is a measure of our faith in our own abilities," says Tess Brigham, MFT, BCC, a psychotherapist, career and certified life coach, and public speaker.
Anyone at any age can struggle with-and work on-their confidence. Confidence is frustrating. It seems like sometimes you’ve got it, sometimes you don’t. And times when you really need it, it can seem impossible to tap into.
Various studies have found that confidence at work can lead to more promotions, but an interesting University of Melbourne pilot study suggests a link between confidence levels in primary school and workplace success in adulthood. Another study notes that students who receive an expression of confidence in their ability – even while receiving criticism – perform better than those told to ‘aim for higher standards.’
How to become more confident in everyday life?
1. Start Small
2. Practice joining a conversation
3. Set the scene
4. Be a Daymaker
5. Identify Your Insecurities
6. Practice Decision-Making
7. Non-Evasive Eye Contact
8. Use fragrances
9. Improve voice tonality
10. Learn circle of confidence technique
Top 10 simple stepts to make you more confident in everyday life
1. Start Small
"The more you do something and the more experience you get, the more confident you'll become; and the more confident you become, the more you'll be able to take action," Brigham says. "Starting out is always the hardest part, so always create goals that are small and doable. You want to create actionable steps you know you can accomplish because it'll help you create forward momentum."
Start by engaging in activities where you already have confidence in your abilities, suggests Sherry Benton, PhD, ABPP, a psychologist and the founder and chief science officer of TAO Connect. "This puts you in a thought pattern called 'flow,' where self-consciousness disappears and you're completely absorbed. Find something that puts you in the zone and gives you a sense of pride in your accomplishments."
2. Practice joining a conversation
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While listening intently to a group’s conversation from afar is kinda creepy, if you overhear a topic of interest don’t be afraid to “eaves-jump” into the conversation.
And what is eaves-jumping exactly? It’s a word we made up. But basically, it’s just like eavesdropping, except instead of dropping it and walking away, you jump in and join the conversation.
Now we know what you’re thinking: That seems like it requires a lot of confidence. And... you’d be right, but the truth is, it’s also a lot easier than you think. As long as you don’t hesitate, jump in on the right topic and make sure to talk to the entire group, you will undeniably look and feel like the most confident guy in the room.
3. Set the scene
The first thing to say is that there are no guarantees here. Sometimes it just isn’t meant to be. Sometimes the girl you have picked really is ‘deadly’. But you have to have the confidence to try. And to give you the best possible chance of success, you have to get the scene right.
Try to make sure you are in the right place at the right time. Trying to strike up a conversation when you are dancing right by the speakers is unlikely to work; catching her on her way to the toilet is likely to lead to a very short conversation, and interrupting a work social or hen party is also unlikely to be effective.
Just do your thing. Be confident. Be yourself. Don’t overcomplicate it or overthink it, just start talking.
There is no reason why it shouldn’t work. But if it doesn’t, you can walk away thinking to yourself, “well I did everything I could, but it wasn’t meant to be” or perhaps even, “wow, she really was deadly… lucky escape.”
4. Be a Daymaker
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David Wagner, CEO of Juut Salonspa, often speaks about being a “Daymaker”—not just going through the motions at work, but actively choosing to be a source of positivity and encouragement. Choosing to make someone’s day.
With everything you write—every email, every text, every tweet—you have an opportunity to make someone’s day. (Or not.)
Often, all it takes is a few words of kindness, a thoughtful compliment, or the kind of insightful reminder that leaves people thinking, “Yeah. I needed that.”
Set “Daymaker” as your barometer of success—for your writing, and for everything you do.
Whether your writing is “perfect” or not, your intent will shine through.
5. Identify Your Insecurities
Setting goals is crucial, but defining your fears and insecurities is even more important.
Right now, ask yourself: “What am I embarrassed about or ashamed of? What am I afraid that other people might discover about me?”
Then make a list.
This is a list of your top insecurities. We all have them, so don’t be embarrassed.
However, just making this list will not cause them to magically disappear. But it will help you acknowledge them and accept their reality. If you want to get over them, then I suggest you pick one and share it with a close friend or family member. This will not be easy, but it will help you remove the shame associated with it.
6. Practice Decision-Making
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If you want to reach true self-confidence, then you must be able to make fast decisions.
Most of us make the mistake of over-thinking and over-analyzing every little choice. This will cause you to lose confidence in yourself, because you’re essentially training yourself to doubt your gut instinct.
Instead, you must build your “decision-making” muscle. You must practice making decisions on a daily basis. Here are a few simple ways you can get started:
* When you eat out, select your meal off the menu in 30 seconds or less
* When you are getting dressed, select your outfit in 1 minute or less
* When you make plans with a friend, always be the one who makes a suggestion of what you should do
These steps will program your mind to make faster choices when you’re facing more significant decisions.
7. Non-Evasive Eye Contact
As awkward as it may seem at first, confident people always remember to keep eye contact. They just don’t worry about it. All too often, men tend to get anxious and look away from a woman when she’s talking... or do the same when they are speaking to her.
Not only will remembering to maintain eye contact make you look more confident, but it also tends to create a genuine connection with the girl, which as you’ll find out... is what really boosts your self-confidence.
8. Use fragrances
Imagine that you are at the party and you just saw the most beautiful girl in the world, she just passes you. You will remember her body shape, maybe hair and face. When you walk up from bed the next day with a hangover you will definitely remember her smell. Why? Because a sense of smell is one of the most sensitive senses.
When you apply a really good fragrance not only people around you will smell it, also you will feel it’s vibe in the air. A well-chosen fragrance will be your secret confidence weapon. Well chosen it’s when you really like it and masses too.
The main rule is to buy the best quality you can afford, use as little as you need. Apply it once, maximum twice! Even the nicest smell when put too much, gives the opposite effect, and actually keeps people further from you!
Great perfumes, when used with moderation, will double your confidence because people will be complimenting you and when you will feel your favourite smell in the air you will feel much more confident.
Fragrances are like a psychological anchor when you grab a bottle and apply them on your skin you do it to feel better to complete your personal image, so you associate this process with strong feelings that give you confidence.
Get rid of all deodorants you have, go to the shop and buy yourself antiperspirant this is the first step of the challenge. Next, go to the perfumery and start testing, looking for scents that will have the biggest impact on you. Choose the best one, buy it 50 or more millilitres and that will be your signature scent, that will boost your confidence every time you will wear it.
9. Learn circle of confidence technique
It’s crazy but really works, it’s all about creating an anchor of empowering emotions in your mind using senses.
You need to imagine the orange circle just before you and associate it with desirable emotions of full confidence.
Create your circle of confidence engaging all your senses. You need to imagine the orange circle just before you and associate it with desirable emotions of full confidence. Engage your senses and stand like an alpha male to express confidence focusing on that circle, when emotions are at the highest point step into the circle and feel like they flow through you.
10. Improve voice tonality
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Voice tonality is confidence inseparable attribute. The higher voice is associated with lower confidence, lower with high confidence. How you speak determines how people respond to you. Not just women you’re interested in, but friends, strangers, employers, and everyone you come in contact with. You can dress well and have the best opening lines but you won’t get far without a strong voice.
There are two main styles of voice tonality dominant and submissive. Dominant voice is lower and expresses confidence, people are more interested in what you say, trust you more and want to listen to you. The great example is Tony Robbins, a coach trainer, and entrepreneur.
The submissive voice is higher and expresses shyness, lack of confidence and doubt in yourself. This voice signalizes that you are seeking approval or validation from others. People will distrust and forget about what you have to say.
Subconsciously your voice is influence your level of confidence. To reverse this process you need to practice the confident way of speaking.
We have two mediums of vocal projection: your chest and your head, lower an higher voice. The first step is to understand this difference. Let’s do the exercise, think about that you are talking from your head and now switch the center of your voice to the chest. You can do it humming to feel the vibration. When you will exercise a lot it will be easier to feel this difference, than it’s great to exaggerate witch your chest voice, talk loud read at loud something in very low voice tonality. Doing this 3 things you will train your voice to go down a bit and sound more confident.
Exercise 3 minutes daily in your morning routine before the mirror, because in the morning your voice is naturally lower, when you will practice in the morning it will be easier to implement that pitch permanently. Just stay in front of the mirror and for 3 minutes speak something. Train hard and gain more confidence in your voice.
How to be more confident at school?
The lack of confidence can be partly attributed to changing schools -- entering junior high, high school or college -- and trying to adjust to functioning more independently in unfamiliar environments. Learning how to be confident in school and taking proactive steps can help you feel more secure about your performance.
Do the things you like
You will feel more confident if you do things you like in school. If you are interested in literature, join the book club or the school newspaper. Not only will that give you an opportunity to do the things you enjoy (and highly valued extra credits on your college application), but you will also meet like minded people and make new friends. It is an incredible confidence boost that will help you master other school challenges.
Stand up for yourselves
Everyone will find themselves in a situation when they need to defend themselves and their views. This is especially common in school where conflicts of opinions arise frequently. Sometimes, it is just a constructive debate in class where students exchange opinions on a certain topic. Although it may seem trivial, it is a great opportunity to practice self-confidence.
If you believe you are right, do not back down before other people’s arguments, but defend your position respectfully. Even if you are in the wrong, you will learn a lot from that situation, accept your mistake and move on. Do not back down when faced with challenges, but face them squarely.
Move own your mistakes
There is no person in the world who has never made a mistake, or who can control everything. What you can do is learn from that experience. Many make the mistake of blaming themselves for failure, instead of building on it to be more successful next time. You will feel much better if you simply accept the mistake and move on.
This is especially true for friendships, because whatever it is that you have done, everyone will feel much better when you eliminate the elephant in the room. No one says that it is easy to apologize and correct one’s mistakes, but if you do, everyone will appreciate you more, from teachers to classmates.
Face Your Fears
Each time you confront your fears head on, you gain strength, courage and confidence. Even if it doesn't feel like you gained anything at the time, in the long run, you'll be proud of yourself for stepping outside your comfort zone and doing something to empower yourself. Even if it's as small as talking to someone new in class, a little can go a long way when it comes to gaining confidence.
Turn Negatives Into Positives
Always surround yourself with positive uplifting people. Find the people who actually want to see you succeed, and identify those people who don’t really care about you. Even better, surround yourself with people who have goals that are similar to your own.
This is a tough one, but I know you can do it. If you're normally shy and introverted, and you decide to go to a party for a while and end up leaving early, you'd most likely see that as a negative, right? Try to consider the fact that despite usually keeping to yourself, you decided to try something you normally wouldn't for an hour. Seeing the silver lining in every situation will help you gain more perspective and feel good about yourself in the grander scheme of things.
Dress to Impress
If you want to feel more confident, it's time to up your style game. If you have a presentation in class, why not dress it up a bit? Whatever you feel most comfortable and confident in are the clothes you want to go for. Feeling good about yourself starts from within, but a little style boost on the outside doesn't hurt, either!
Buy a whiteboard or calendar, and write when your assignments are due. Staying organized can be a big boost to your confidence. Similarly, try going through your backpack once a week and throw away what is not needed.
Remind yourself not everyone is the same for a reason. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Everyone is unique in the own way, which is what makes the world different and interesting.
|Teaching children to trust themselves |
Positive self-esteem can and should be nurtured from a very young age. As a simple illustration, an alternative to saying to a small child: “You’re a naughty boy” would be to say instead: “That was naughty behaviour”. In this way, the child’s self image is distanced from the negative personal connotations, though the meaning is still equally clear and the approach is one of constructive criticism.
Parents can start nurturing feelings of autonomy and self worth early on by offering toddlers choices. This shows you respect them and helps children build self-confidence as they successfully articulate their needs and wants. You can also help by teaching them to think for themselves.
Teachers might employ a similar approach at school, as it helps students learn how capable they are. If a student trusts his or her own judgment, he or she is more likely to go on learning and expanding their knowledge in the future. Having confidence in the classroom from an early age can make all of the difference in a student’s choice to pursue higher education when they are older.
How to increase your self confidence at work?
|To be more confident at work|
Besides furthering your professional development and skills, the following strategies provide steps to help you boost your confidence in the workplace.
1. Be positive and believe in yourself
This can sometimes be easier said than done, but the best way is to block any negative thoughts or doubts. If you don’t believe in yourself who else will? The reason why you’re in this role is because the company believe you have the skills to contribute to their overall goals and success. You wouldn't have been hired in the first place if your boss thought you weren’t right for the job.
2. Find a mentor
Starting a new role or doing something for the first time can bring out insecurities and cause you to question your ability to accomplish it. What better way to build your confidence than by having a talented, experienced person helping you along the way? Learning from a mentor is extremely valuable as it’s likely they will have experienced the same issues at some point in their career and will therefore be able to offer you some practical advice. Finding a mentor can be as simple as asking someone you see as a role model if they are willing to mentor you. This could be someone from within your workplace or even outside of work. Many companies have internal mentoring schemes so contact your HR department to find out if they can help you.
3. Ask questions
There is nothing wrong with asking questions – in fact it’s imperative that you do. Not only does it show your interest, but it can help you to understand exactly what is expected and the different policies and procedures within your workplace. Remember to listen to the answer and maybe take a note of it to avoid asking the same question again. Asking the same question repeatedly can lead to people losing their patience, so ensure you ask questions that are insightful and develop your learning.
4. Build on your strengths
Focus on your skills and talents, whether it is working with people, time management or knowledge of a certain system or process. It is important that you recognise these skills and understand what you are good at so you can build on it. If the opportunity arises to work on a project or specific task where you know you can utilise your strengths - take it. This will show your colleagues that you’re enthusiastic and can add value to the company. It will also help you to recognise your strengths. Like any skill that is learnt -practise makes perfect.
5. Develop new skills
Identify areas where you feel you could further improve on and write an action plan on how you can develop them. For example, if you do not feel confident when speaking in front of others, try setting yourself a goal of making a point at the next meeting you attend and build on it from there. You should gain more confidence as a result and you’ll be adding value to the meeting at the same time. But remember to make sure your points are valid and you’re not just saying something for the sake of it.
6. Eliminate negative language
Don’t dwell on something if it did not go according to plan. Instead, write down what did not go as planned and see what you can do to improve on it. You’ll have a practical plan in place to reduce the chances of it happening again and you’ll feel more confident if it does. Focusing on the negatives will not help you to improve your confidence. Eliminating negative language when describing your role will also help. For example, you don’t just work in finance – you work in finance and have managed to save your company X amount by implementing good practice and procedures. Having a positive outlook will help reflect well on you and will help make you more approachable.
7. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, you learn most when you make mistakes. Ensure you take risks or give/put forward your views as not doing so can hinder your development. That constant fear could result in you missing out on opportunities that would help you to developing your skills further. Remember that everything you do provides a learning opportunity. Focus on what could have been improved and how you can do it better next time. We are always learning and developing within the market we work in and mistakes are part of this.
8. Set yourself small achievable goals
Sometimes we set ourselves unachievable goals that end up to being overwhelming. Write a list of achievable monthly goals that will give you sense of direction and control of what you really want and how you can achieve it. This will keep you focused at work and you will learn and recognise all the new skills you have developed. Having that sense of control can build your confidence as you know what you are doing and what your next step will be.
9. Training at work
Ask your manager if there are any courses you can attend in order to improve your confidence or a skill you feel is holding you back. Identifying areas you feel you could improve on will show your manager that you are keen to develop your weaker areas and that you are willing to go that extra step to achieve it.
Going on these courses could help you gain, or even remind you, of any useful practical tips you can use to improve your day-to-day process at work. Some of the courses are available to you online, so start with a Google search to see what’s currently available that you may find useful. YouTube videos and TED talks are a good resource to utilise.
10. It’s not all about work
Work on building your confidence outside work as well in the workplace. Push yourself outside your comfort zone by signing up to social events so you can meet new people or even attend a class at the gym that you’ve been wanting to go to but haven’t had the confidence to go to alone. If you feel you need some extra support, why not go with a friend? You’ll see it’s not as scary as you think and next time you could attend alone. You never know, you might even enjoy it and make some new friends at the same time!
How to be more confident in public speaking?
Be Prepare by Practicing
No successful public speaker became famous without preparation. The best prepared themselves by speaking for hours in front of mirrors or for a few select friends. Some renowned speakers simply speak at an empty room to hone their skills.
Visualize yourself delivering an inspiring speech. Rehearsing the speech in your mind creates a type of dry run which increases your confidence for the actual event.
Know your stuff, whenever you enter any important conversation, speech or meeting. Don’t be tempted to wing it. Being unprepared puts you at a disadvantage from the start; your confidence will instantly be shaken by the fact that you could get caught at a disadvantage (if someone starts asking questions, for example).
"Practice makes perfect!" You simply cannot be a confident, compelling speaker without practice.
Learn Other Public Speakers
Study from the best to improve. Follow your favorite public speakers on social media and sites like SlideShare. I also watch Ted Talks to learn from the best speakers in the world.
Attend live events to learn from and emulate your favorites. Observe how they use their hands to add emphasis to key points. Note how they raise and lower their voice to keep you focused on their message. The best public speakers are masters of inspiring an audience. Study their movements and delivery style to feed off their confidence.
Speak clearly, avoid “umms”
Have you ever watched a speech, that would be much more effective if they didn’t keep saying “umm” or doing some awkward thing? It agonizes me.
Discipline yourself to avoid sloppy vocal habits like those “umms” and repetitive empty phrasing. If you ever speak publicly, ask someone to record you. Watch it after (it’s painful), noting any sloppy or ineffective vocal or physical habits.
Cope With Nerves
How often have you listened to or watched a speaker who really messed up? Chances are, the answer is "not very often."
Many people cite speaking to an audience as their biggest fear, and a fear of failure is often at the root of this. Public speaking can lead your "fight or flight" response to kick in: adrenaline courses through your bloodstream, your heart rate increases, you sweat, and your breath becomes fast and shallow.
Engage With Your Audience
When you speak, try to engage your audience. This makes you feel less isolated as a speaker and keeps everyone involved with your message. If appropriate, ask leading questionstargeted to individuals or groups, and encourage people to participate and ask questions.
Keep in mind that some words reduce your power as a speaker.
Also, pay attention to how you're speaking. If you're nervous, you might talk quickly. This increases the chances that you'll trip over your words, or say something you don't mean. Force yourself to slow down by breathing deeply. Don't be afraid to gather your thoughts; pauses are an important part of conversation, and they make you sound confident, natural, and authentic.
Finally, avoid reading word-for-word from your notes. Instead, make a list of important points on cue cards, or, as you get better at public speaking, try to memorize what you're going to say – you can still refer back to your cue cards when you need them.
The body language that accompanies your message is just as important as the words coming out of your mouth. Audiences perceive speakers to have more positive traits such as warmth and energy when they use a variety of gestures, according to Carol Kinsey Gorman, Ph.D., an executive coach and consultant in nonverbal communication. While some physical gestures, such as fiddling with clothing or touching hair, can distract or convey a lack of confidence, using your hands when you speak is a great way to communicate your excitement and knowledge about the topic.
If you're unaware of it, your body languagewill give your audience constant, subtle clues about your inner state. If you're nervous, or if you don't believe in what you're saying, the audience can soon know.
Pay attention to your body language: stand up straight, take deep breaths, look people in the eye, and smile. Don't lean on one leg or use gestures that feel unnatural.
Instead of standing behind a podium, walk around and use gestures to engage the audience. This movement and energy will also come through in your voice, making it more active and passionate.
Watch Your Speeches
Whenever possible, record your presentations and speeches. You can improve your speaking skills dramatically by watching yourself later, and then working on improving in areas that didn't go well.
Look at how you handled interruptions, such as a sneeze or a question that you weren't prepared for. Does your face show surprise, hesitation, or annoyance? If so, practice managing interruptions like these smoothly, so that you're even better next time.
Breathe and Release
We will discuss a shortened version called “breathe and release.” This is a short-cut relaxation technique that could be useful for nervous speakers—especially those who are concerned with the physical manifestations of nervousness, such as shaky hands or knees. The key to “breathe and release” is to understand that when nervous tension results in minor trembling, the effort of trying to keep one’s hands from shaking can contribute to the whole situation—that is, trying to stop literally can make it worse! Therefore, the best approach is through relaxation.
Some acting coaches (and speech teachers) encourage their students to practice in front of mirrors, so that they can watch themselves perform and evaluate how they move. In acting, this can be very useful; but in speaking, it is less so. When you practice your presentation, the most important element is expressiveness. You want to become more familiar with the volume of material, the order in which you plan to present it, and the phrasing you think would be most effective to express it.
Watching yourself perform in a mirror will focus your attention on your appearance first—and on what you express second. This makes using a mirror during practice a distraction from what the practice ought to achieve.
Slow Down:190 words per minute
Carmine Gallo, author of Talk Like TED, claims 190 words per minute is the ideal rate of speech for public speaking. At this speed, your audience will feel less like you’re talking at them and more like you’re having a conversation over lunch. If you speak too slowly you run the risk of putting your audience to sleep.
And if you talk too quickly you can sound amateurish or nervous, like you’re trying to get it over with as fast as you can. That’s why 190 words per minute is the sweet spot you should aim for.
Use silence to your advantage
What’s your biggest public speaking fear? For many people, it’s silence. They worry about forgetting an important idea or losing their train of thought midway through a sentence. Speakers who try to engage their audiences with questions worry that no one will respond. But silence isn’t your enemy; it can actually be a powerful confidence-projecting tool.
Professional speech coach Gary Genard points out that audiences need strategic pauses in order to retain and understand important points. Additionally, the ability to live with silences, whether of your own making or the audience’s, makes you seem confident.
Happiness = Confidence
If you’re curious about how to be more confident at work, one of the best ways to feel professionally confident is to have meaningfulness in your job. Do you know your company’s mission? Do you know the impact of your work? When we don’t know how our daily responsibilities contribute to a larger mission, we can feel disengaged or hopeless in the workplace.
To feel more motivated and aware of how your work impacts the larger organization, first find out your company’s mission statement. This may be listed on the “About” page of their website or you may need to ask your direct manager. If your company doesn’t have one, write your own personal mission statement. Put this somewhere easy to see on your desk or hang it on your cubicle wall.
This reminder will serve as a tangible motivator of your why and boost your confidence that what you do is important. A bonus happy-maker is to keep a success folder on your computer. This is a folder that contains records of accomplishments, testimonials and any other examples of your rockstar status at work. If you’re having a bad day, open your success folder to remind yourself of your worth.
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