Self-confidence is everywhere these days!
At job interviews, presentations, salary negotiations or on dates…
You always want to appear confident.
But it’s in those moments, when you come into contact with unfamiliar situations or unfamiliar people, that you probably have the hardest time appearing confident!
But it can be changed!
Even in situations where you’re nervous and insecure inside, it’s possible to be confident.
And that’s exactly what I’m going to show you here!
With 5 typical mistakes that you should avoid at all costs, as well as 4 tips and 3 exercises that will help you immediately.
Self-awareness influences our whole life.
It influences how we meet and treat each other.
When you meet someone who is extremely confident (or appears to be), you automatically treat them very differently than cautious and reserved people.
This is normal! There is nothing you can do about it.
And it works the same way the other way around…
If you are confident and self-assured, you will be treated differently.
Here are some advantages of being confident:
- you appear more competent and dominant
- you look more attractive
- other people trust you more
- you get more recognition
- you appear more relaxed and happier
- Good self esteem
To start with: In order to not only appear confident, but to actually be confident, not only a confident appearance is necessary, but also an inner development.
To do this, you need to find your own personal answers to the questions “Who am I and what makes me tick?”
However, this does not happen overnight and a self-confident inner self does not always automatically bring with it a self-confident appearance.
Therefore, working on your own appearance is never unnecessary or superficial….
Often it is even the fastest and most effective solution!
And it is worthwhile above all because it not only leads to results on the outside, but also advances the inner development.
1 Mistake: Embarrassment gestures
You see them everywhere.
At lectures, during negotiations or during small talk.
The little gestures to somehow keep yourself busy.
I’m sure you know it too:
You’re standing in front of a group of people and you don’t know where to put your arms and hands. And to keep them from dangling uselessly next to your body, you run them through your hair or play around with something.
Here are a few small examples:
- The grip on the neck
- Chewing on the lip
- Running through the hair
- Playing with the hands
You should get rid of these signs of embarrassment!
By doing so, you are showing the other person your insecurity.
You show that you are uncomfortable with the situation and that you are trying to cover it up.
That is not sovereign.
But the good news is: if you drop these gestures and stop wiggling and playing around so much, you’ll come across as much more confident right away, without having to do a whole lot to do so!
Extra tip: For moments when you’re not talking, you can adopt a default posture. That makes it easier for you. Besides, even many politicians and speakers do it this way. An example of this is the well-known hand pose of Mrs. Merkel.
2 Mistake: Wishy-washy statements
Take a look at these statements:
“I don’t even think that’s so nice.”
“We can do that.”
“Could I maybe ask them a question?”
What do they all have in common?
They’re lackadaisical and boring. And avoid making a clear statement!
There are a few advantages to this: You don’t have to take a clear stand, you avoid mistakes, and you don’t make enemies….
But here’s the catch! This behavior is not self-confident. It conveys that you are either insecure or have no opinion of your own.
That’s why we recommend the opposite: clear, unambiguous statements!
If you are unhappy with a situation, don’t say “I don’t like that at all”, but say directly “I don’t like that”.
If someone asks you if you want to go to a restaurant together soon, don’t say “We can do that” but instead “Yes. I’m in!”.
And if you have a question, don’t say “Could I maybe ask them a question?” but say “I have a question for you. Is this a good fit right now?”.
In short, stop beating around the bush and get to the point! Avoid phrasing your sentences as subjunctive. Such unclear formulations are more likely to lead to misunderstandings than to help you.
3 Mistake: Looking at the ground
Looking at the floor is a sign of a lie….
This thesis can be found in many books and guidebooks about body language.
However, it is not that easy. This reaction is caused by all forms of stress. And not only by the stress of a lie, but also by the stress arising from other situations.
That’s why “looking at the ground” can also simply mean that someone is insecure and tense.
For example, if you are afraid of certain social situations.
Some people feel such stress even in a one-on-one conversation, others when speaking in front of many people.
But regardless of what triggers the stress and why you are insecure… looking at the floor is not a good solution.
Because then you look:
- as if you are afraid
- as if you have something to hide
- as if you want to hide
- as if you are uncomfortable with the situation
- But what is the alternative?
To look people in the eye.
This radiates self-confidence and security.
If you are a shy person, you may find this difficult at first, but it is worth learning this skill. You will look much more confident and relaxed when you can hold relaxed eye contact.
To be able to do this, however, you must first overcome your shyness. You can find the best tips in the article Overcoming shyness: 13 tips and exercises.
Tip: If eye contact still doesn’t come easily to you, there’s a brilliant tip for speeches and presentations.
Simply let your gaze drift over the heads of the audience. You can look at the audience’s forehead instead of their eyes. No one will notice.
The important thing is that you look up at the world, not down at the floor.
4 Mistake: Hiding the hands
Where are they?
In your pockets again or behind your back?
Hands say a lot about you. They are important for your appearance and persuasiveness.
Hiding your hands makes you look untrustworthy and inauthentic. In addition, it once again looks as if you have something to hide.
But this can be avoided.
You can avoid this by not hiding your hands, but by letting them hang down loosely. In the beginning you may feel the urge to make mistake #1 (embarrassment gestures). But this should get better with time.
5 Mistake: The questioning beep voice
All nonverbal cues affect how you come across to the outside world.
So anything you say not in words, but through your body or voice.
And in terms of self-confidence, the voice even has a particularly strong influence!
And not the individual sound of your voice, which you cannot change anyway, but your voice melody and tonality.
The questioning beep voice is a great example of this:
Imagine someone enters the room for a job interview and the leader of the interview asks them “So, who are you?”
Instead of a casual answer coming, the applicant speaks in an unusually high-pitched voice with a melody that’s more like a question than a statement: “My name is Max?”
With that, he has already ruined the first impression. Fortunately, that’s not all and he still has the opportunity to turn the conversation around, but with such an uncertain voice, it won’t be easy. You really have to shine with your performance.
That’s why I advise you to try to get a grip on your voice. If you speak too high and squeaky, it also makes you insecure… it resonates the unspoken statement “I have no clue what I’m talking about…”.
When making statements, your voice should definitely go down at the end of the sentence. This makes you seem convinced and gives your statement power.
And just like that, we’ve checked off the mistakes and moved on to the tips….
Here again is a brief summary of the first part:
- No more embarrassment gestures!
- Replace wishy-washy statements with clear statements!
- Don’t look at the floor, but at the world!
- No more hiding your hands!
- recommend respect
- Speak forcefully and lower your voice at the end of sentences!
- Have fun with the tips…
1 Tip: Work on your appearance
This tip may seem superficial and unnecessary at first glance, but you should never underestimate the power of first impressions.
How people size you up at first affects how they treat you from the start. And how they treat you influences how you behave. This quickly creates a pattern that can only be changed with great effort.
That’s why I can assure you: The fastest way to become more confident is to change your appearance!
You should concentrate on the things that you can control.
You can’t grow 10 cm by tomorrow, but you can buy new clothes in which you look really “hot”.
Because as they say, clothes make the man.
With this I don’t want to recommend you to spend a lot of money on clothes… If you already have three full closets, then just ignore this tip… But there are also a lot of people who completely neglect the optimization of their appearance and thus give away potential.
Therefore my tip: Get clothes that you like and feel comfortable in. Then it will be easier for you to appear self-confident.
Extra tip: If you are not so familiar with it, get advice from friends or professional sellers. The clothes should fit perfectly so that it looks good.
2 Tip: Stand up straight!
Standing up straight is way more than just a cosmetic issue!
While it’s true and you look upright like you’re taller and have 5 pounds less on your ribs, the real relevant benefits are just starting there!
Here are a few examples:
- With good posture, you reduce stress hormones faster
- It is healthier for your bones and muscles
- it leads to a higher release of serotonin (you are happier)
- you feel more dominant and self-confident
Here are 3 steps you should follow for good posture:
- Make yourself tall and stand as tall as you can.
- Pull your shoulders back.
- Straighten your head and look out into the world (remember mistake #3).
By the way, to implement and learn this quickly, there is a super exercise….
And can you guess where to find this exercise?
That’s right! In this article. It is exercise #1.
3 Tip: Do everything half as fast!
I used to be scared to death of presentations!
Even in front of a small audience, my face would turn red and my heart would beat at 300 mph.
The consequence: I wanted to avoid awkward pauses and get the presentation over with as quickly as possible. So I rushed through the presentation… without a dot or comma.
This came across as super nervous and made it difficult for the audience to follow the presentation.
That’s why I learned to consciously take some speed out of it!
I still remember one of my first presentations in college. Not even a minute after the start of the presentation – which I thought was very successful – I saw Mona, with whom I had practiced earlier, at the end of the room. She was waving her arms and forming the word “LAAAANGSAAM with her mouth.”
I immediately spoke much more slowly than I thought I should, pausing and taking deep breaths in between.
She later reported to me that the beginning was barely intelligible, but the rest was pleasant to listen to. The evaluation of the presentation was also very satisfactory. Many thanks to Mona for that!
I also gained an important insight that day: Most of the time you don’t even notice yourself how fast you are talking.
Tip: If you get nervous while talking, no matter how many people you are in front of, talk slower than you think necessary and don’t forget to breathe. Even if it seems way too slow in your head, it’s probably just right.
4 Tip: Increase assertiveness
If you can’t assert yourself, you often have disadvantages – in your job and in your private life.
Only when you are able to say no and represent your own interests, you will be able to appear self-confident.
To do this, you first need to become aware of your goals and opinions…
Here is a tip:
Before the next time something important comes up, e.g. a meeting or a delicate conversation with your partner, sit down and write down your goals precisely.
This will make you aware of them and put you in a much better starting position.
This, in turn, will have a positive effect on your self-confidence and you won’t let yourself get passed over so easily….
Because you can only push around and take advantage of people who don’t know exactly what they want!
In a moment, you can start doing the exercises yourself….
But before that, a quick overview of the second part:
- Take care of yourself and your appearance!
- Stand up straight and with shoulders back!
- Speak slower and move slower when you are nervous!
- Get to know your goals and opinions more precisely and assert yourself!
Now, off to the exercises… Rock on!
1 Exercise: Improve your posture immediately
This exercise relates to one of the most important points for a confident appearance…
A strong posture!
With this exercise you will learn to stand up straight and confident.
My tip to you:
Try it NOW! Not tomorrow or in 3 minutes when you have finished reading the article, but now!
This exercise is practical and easy.
You can do it anywhere and it doesn’t take much effort.
Just follow these 4 steps:
- Stand with your back against a door or wall, feet a few inches away.
- Ideally, you will then touch the wall in 3 places: At the back of your head, on your shoulder blades, and on your buttocks.
- If this is not the case, then adjust your posture without moving your feet so that you touch the wall in these 3 places.
- As a final step, pull your shoulders back so that the backs of your upper arms touch the wall very lightly. However, don’t pull your shoulders up while doing this, but make sure that they maintain the same height.
This exercise will give you a lot of information about your posture:
- If you have a very weak posture, your middle back will touch the wall first.
- If you lean too far back in your posture, your head will touch the door first. However, this usually happens less often.
- If you touch the wall with your buttocks and shoulder blades, but not your head, then you are carrying your head too far forward, which can strain your neck. In English, this is often called “nerd neck” because it can come from sitting in front of a computer all day.
- With good posture, all 3 body parts should be touching the wall at about the same time.
For the exercise to have its effect, you should do it at least once a day.
Stand against a wall, assume the correct posture and hold it for 30 seconds. This already helps a lot!
It’s also best to maintain an upright and strong posture as often as possible in everyday life. This helps even more.
If you have major posture problems, this exercise may not help. In this case, it may be necessary to do sports and strengthen the basic muscles so that a better posture is possible in the first place.
[BONUS – Exercise].
Do you sometimes hear stupid sayings and don’t know how to answer? Then I have just the thing for you! With my free online training you will quickly become a counter-genius!
2 Exercise: “Hello confident appearance”.
This exercise can already be significantly more uncomfortable for some people….
In this, you don’t really have to do anything but say hello.
But if you don’t normally do this and it seems weird, it’s going to take a lot of effort on your part.
Follow these steps:
- Walk down the street with your head up, shoulders back, and a casual smile.
- Then look at least 5 people directly in the eye and say “hello” or “hi” in a friendly way.
- If it’s already easier for you, make sure the other person looks away first, not you. And greet people too early rather than too late. Better with 3m distance, than if you have already walked half past each other.
Forget your fear of derogatory looks and just go for it!
It is worth it!
Because afterwards you will feel fantastic and you will learn to just be nice and in a good mood and not to care so much about the reaction of other people.
If you’re struggling with this, I can recommend my article Becoming more open and communicative. There I show you how to easily strike up a conversation with other people and build a connection with them.
3 Exercise: Winning Mood
There are some modern studies that look at confident body language.
For example, a study at the University of British Columbia found that athletes tend to make their bodies small and not take up much space after a loss, and make big gestures and take up a lot of space after a win.
Want to look like a winner?
Then get yourself in the right mood before important moments.
Take poses and gestures that take up a lot of space and increase your confidence.
Here are 3 examples:
Winning Poses – Appearing Confident.
Try it out. It actually helps. Your body releases serotonin and norepinephrine and you suddenly feel more confident and self-assured.
By the way, you’ll feel the same effect if you just dance around wildly.
Self-confident appearance: Conclusion
This article gives you precise instructions on how to develop a confident appearance.
Now you just have to ACT and implement the tips.
If you can’t do that, you’re either lazy or your fear is getting in the way.
Is the latter the case? Then you need to overcome your shyness before you can develop a confident demeanor.
Just work on it quietly…
One step at a time…
Then sooner or later you will reach your goals!
Best regards, Gustav.