Confidence, or being sure of yourself and your abilities, is a trait that will take you far in life. In the business world, for example, it is important to look confident whether you are trying to land a job, negotiate a pay raise, give a presentation, or close a deal. Below are 15 different things to keep in mind for when you are trying to appear confident.
1. Maintain eye contact.
Eye contact is key. When you look directly at someone, you are showing that you are not afraid or nervous, but rather that you are at ease in the setting. In the business world, this is crucial. People will not respect you or even want to talk to you if you cannot look them in the eyes.
2. Claim your space.
Adopting a power pose makes you look more confident as well. Standing tall, without crossing your arms or your legs, makes you look open and approachable while still connoting strength. Especially in a business meeting, sending the message that you are strong and capable is important.
3. Do not fidget!
When you fidget with your clothes, your hair, your jewelry, your hands, or even your pen, you come across as nervous and impatient. Sitting still and listening to what is being said will make you appear much more confident.
4. Have the right handshake.
A firm handshake is also important. If your handshake is weak and limp, you are saying that you feel uncomfortable in the situation and you don’t belong. If your handshake is painfully tight, you appear to be overcompensating. A steady and firm handshake tells the other person that you are at ease in the situation and that you belong.
5. Walk with purpose.
Bring your power pose into your movement. Stand tall and walk forward, as though you own the building. This will command attention and will help you to seem much more confident and capable.
Your facial expressions tell a lot about what you are thinking. Keep this in mind and try to hide any dramatic reactions. The best facial expression to have if you want to convey confidence is relaxed and happy, but otherwise neutral expression. This way, you will appear engaged and at ease.
7. Be mindful of your laugh.
Laughing at a genuinely funny moment or joke will read as confident, but if you are nervously giggling or halfheartedly laughing at a bad joke, everyone around you will pick up on it, and it will reflect badly on you.
Some people try to mask the nervousness and pretend that they are relaxed by giggling, but it’s easy to read that it’s fake. So, focus on your laugh that and try to control it.
8. Watch your tone of voice.
Your tone of voice says a lot about your confidence level as well. Sounding demanding or arrogant reads as unpleasant, not confident. Sounding scared or unsure will make your audience believe that you do not know what you are talking about. Aim for a calm, even tone and you will sound confident and knowledgeable.
9. Right voice volume.
The volume of your voice says a lot about your confidence level as well. Speaking too softly connotes fear, while shouting comes across as angry, insecure, and like you are overcompensating. Speak at a volume that will allow your audience to easily hear and understand you.
10. Speak at the appropriate speed.
The speed at which you speak goes hand in hand with your tone and volume. Speaking too quickly will make you seem inexperienced and nervous while speaking too slowly makes you sound ill-informed. Pick a medium speed so that you will be easily understood.
11. Do not use filler words.
Saying “um”, “ahh”, “like”, or using other filler words also makes you appear less confident. People generally use filler words when they don’t have a clear grasp on what they are talking about, or when they are so nervous that they forget what they were going to say. For meetings and presentations, practice what you are going to say ahead of time so that you do not use any filler words.
12. Keep your hands out of your pockets.
Hiding your hands shows people that you want to “hide yourself.” Keep your hands relaxed, either at your side, on your desk, or use them to emphasize important points. This will make you appear much more at ease in the situation and much more confident.
13. Dress the part.
Your clothes say a lot about you, so make them work for you and tell everyone how confident you are. Pick clothing that is flattering on you, and wear bold colors, even if it is just as a tie or a scarf. Bold colors read as energetic and confident, whereas softer colors can often go overlooked. Picking something that you feel confident in will also help. Whether it is a favorite shirt, a piece of jewelry, or even makeup, adding it to your outfit will help you to feel great, and other people will notice. And whatever it is remember that you need to feel good in wearing that and you need to know that it looks good on you.
14. Pay attention to your hygiene.
Showering regularly, brushing your teeth, and generally looking well-groomed and presentable are all important things to do if you want to look confident. Remember, confidence is being sure of yourself and your abilities, and if you go into work looking like you just rolled out of bed, no one is going to believe that you are sure of yourself.
15. Do not say things that make you sound insecure.
Even if you were worried about being late, do not say it out loud. Always speak about yourself as if you intended to do exactly what you did. Owning your actions will make you seem much more confident overall.
Keep these 15 tips and tricks in mind next time you go to work or a meeting. Start practicing them in your day to day work and by the time you have an important presentation, or you feel ready to ask for that raise, these habits will be second nature to you. Looking confident is the key to success in the business world; if you know how to portray it you will go far.