Confidence is defined as, “a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance in one’s circumstances” and “the faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way.”1 In preparing for a small women’s gathering a year or so ago, I developed this listing of tips on how to increase our confidence.
Tip #1: Pay attention to your nonverbal language.
Stop and think about how you communicate without saying a word. Do you talk with your hands a lot, use gestures, or smile? How do you position your arms and legs? Where are your eyes focused? You will appear confident when your nonverbal language connects to you and your message. The tone of your voice should align with the tone of what you are saying to your audience. Your eyes should maintain focus with your audience. If you are speaking on the phone, don’t let your eyes wander and try to begin multi-tasking. It is easy to hear in someone’s voice if they are not paying attention. A great resource on nonverbal communication is Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk.2
Tip #2: Give and receive compliments.
It is important to give compliments to others. Think about the influence or impact others have on you and ensure you are providing them appreciation. It doesn’t have to be anything of monetary value – a simply stated thank you, handwritten or e-mailed note, goes a long way.
Here are a few examples:
“Love your hair.”
“Great presentation, I like your point about ____ and ____.”
“Thank you for letting me borrow that ____. Everyone loved it!”
It is also important to accept compliments you receive from others. This shows a level of confidence too. Don’t shake something off by saying, “Oh, this old thing?” or “No problem.” Rather, give a genuine smile and say “thank you.”
Tip #3: Make smart choices.
The choices you make, whether it is how you dress, your hair style, who you hang around with, when and what you say, when you say it, all of it represents you. Don’t depend on a magic eight ball to decide your fate. Think about the consequences of the actions you take, and if those choices are reflecting a positive and confident you.
Tip #4: Provide and accept support.
Offering and accepting support shows confidence. Support comes in many shapes and forms, such as a simple compliment to donating your time, money, knowledge, or resources. Knowing when someone needs your support and providing it reflects confidence in others and your own decisions. You may not think of confidence showing when you accept support from others, but I believe it shows your vulnerability and willingness to let others in, which in turn can build the confidence others have in you.
Tip #5: Seek meaningful connections.
Building meaningful relationships with others is instrumental in living a confident life. Connecting with others, reaching out to learn and meet new people shows a confidence self. Connection you make can turn into some of your biggest cheerleaders. It doesn’t matter the quantity of friends, connections, followers, etc. that you have, but the quality of the relationships you have with those individuals.
1 Source: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
2 Source: Ted Talks Website – https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are