Confidence is a powerful quality. It is something we often admire in others but lack in ourselves. Some people seem to be born with it or have a natural confidence about them. But most of us have to work on it, and we should. It’s an important trait to possess and it is powerful in a variety of work situations. From presentations, meeting with colleagues and clients, to job interviews, being confident can change how people perceive you and help you accomplish your objectives.
Confidence is communicated through the words we use, how we communicate, as well as through nonverbal cues. Whether you’re in an entry level position, working your way up the corporate ladder, or in a management role, speaking and acting with confidence is a game changer.
So, how do you appear more confident at work? The great news is sounding more confident at work is actually easier than you think. Here are some effective ways to be more confident:
The pace at which you speak can have a big impact on other people’s willingness to listen. Even if what you are saying is insightful and important, how you say it can affect how it’s interpreted by others.
If you speak really fast and appear as though you just want to get say what you need to say or get a conversation over with, you’ll appear less confident. People may also take you less seriously. But, if you speak slower and choose your words carefully, it makes what you are saying appear more important and well thought out. Plus, you will have time to think about what you are saying. If you have a tendency to speak quickly, slow it down slightly and speak with a purpose.
choose your words carefully
The words you use will have a huge impact on the message you are trying to convey. Avoid using wishy-washy or convoluted language. As the common phrase goes – “Say what you mean, and mean what you say.”
Avoid words and phrases such as:
- Like, umm
- Probably, likely, usually
- Might, maybe or may
- I guess
Use definitive words and statements that help you communicate clearly. Keep sentences and statements short and to the point. Avoid rambling.
maintain positive body language
Your posture will communicate a lot about you to others. If you are slouching and fidgeting, you may appear nervous. While talking with your hands can help you communicate excitement about a topic, constantly touching your face or hair, adjusting your clothing, and fidgeting in your chair can be a distraction and communicate a lack of confidence on your part.
Rather, make a concerted effort to sit up straight and maintain good posture and body language at all times. Hold your head up high, sit up straight, and minimize body movements. Maintaining positive body language can be challenging. It can take some practice. You may not even realize you are fidgeting. Ask a trusted colleague to assess your body language to find ways to improve it.
dress the part
Dressing the part is important for many reasons. You’ll not only feel more confidence in yourself, it will change how other people perceive you. Choose clothing that fits the company dress code AND your personality. You want to be comfortable. If you look and feel good, it will have a positive impact on your confidence. You will sit up straight, walk with a purpose, project more confidence when you speak, and leave a lasting impression on who you speak with at work or during a job interview. And don’t forget, no attire is complete without a smile.
take responsibility for your actions
People make mistakes. No one is perfect. You’ll make your fair share of mistakes at work. It’s not the fact you made a mistake that matters; it’s how you handle the situation. Avoid blaming others, complaining, and don’t take things personally.
A willingness to take the blame when you’ve had an oversight shows intelligence and confidence. It also shows to your coworkers and colleagues that you are honest and you are not going to deflect the blame onto them. This will give them confidence in you. Taking responsibility for your actions and working through a solution to make things right when a mistake is made will also help you prove to yourself that you can handle any situation. This will give you confidence in yourself.
Overthinking is often caused by the fear of being wrong. Many people overthink things because they fixate on all the potential negative outcomes of a decision rather than the positive or likely outcomes. Remember, you have the skills, experience and training to do the job. You were hired to make decisions in your role. When you overthink things too much, it can affect your level of confidence and other people’s confidence in you.
If you have a tendency to overthink things, start mining your thoughts. Focus on positive outcomes, be conscious when you are thinking too much, make a decision and move on. Trust in your decision making abilities and others will too.
be yourself, don’t try to sound like someone else
Do you have a phone voice? Do you change the way you speak or sound at work? Stop trying to sound like or be the person you think others want you to be. Be yourself. Relax, be yourself, and accept who you are personally and as a professional. You’ll be more confident in your abilities and others will have confidence in you as well.
Confidence is important. It affects how you communicate, perform at work, and how others perceive you. Working on building your confidence can help you improve results, get that job you want and advance your career.