Sometimes, we don’t feel confident but we have to look confident. I’ve been there – headed into a meeting and I have to psych myself up before I get there. My husband calls those moments the “yips” – you get in your head and psych yourself out and you need to project confidence. Maybe you can find it within – or maybe you need to tap into these four steps to look confident:
Ready? Stand up with your feet under your knees, under your hips, under your shoulders, with your feet about five to six inches apart. Make sure you’ve for your weight on both legs, not over to one side of the other. Keep your shoulders back (not rolled forward) and turn towards other people, letting your chest and heart facing them when you’re talking to them.
Be sure your head is upright – you want to imagine a balloon attached to the top of your head, holding you up straight.
Make Eye Contact
Eye contact makes you look honest and confident –it builds trust. If you don’t make eye contact or look at someone in the eyebrows (even if their eyebrows are on point!) you’re going to appear insecure and nervous, or aloof and as if you’re lying or hiding something.
Make eye contact when possible, and when you look away, look up or out versus down. Think about why we look down – we’re embarrassed or feel shame.
Rushed mindless chatter filled with ums and ahs is a hallmark of being nervous. Slow it down! Not robotic slow or so slow that everyone falls asleep. Make sure your words have purpose and meaning. A nice way to think about this one: your words are currency and you should spend money wisely.
By paying attention to how you’re saying what you’re saying, you’re going to automatically slow it down. By slowing down, you not only look confident, but you also show care for your words!
Repeat after me: silence is confident! The problem happens when silences are forced on you. When you take a silence: a moment to let the audience think and reflect, a pause, or a break in your cadence – you’re taking a moment to acknowledge the audience and connect with them.
Scared about taking a silence? Think about the alternative: mindless chatter because you’re nervous. Take the silence.