Perception. That 10-letter word says so much and carries so much weight. How you perceive yourself and how others perceive you affects your career, your relationships, and your life. Perception matters. But there’s a problem. Often, the way you perceive yourself doesn’t align with how others perceive you. That’s because perception is 100% subjective. You might not perceive yourself as confident, but your actions could make the people around you perceive you as being extremely confident.
The good news is that as others start to perceive you as a confident person, they’ll treat you differently than they would if they perceive you as lacking confidence. That’s just basic human nature. Think of a meeting you’ve been in where the leader was very confident. Now think of a meeting where the leader was not confident. Did the other people in the meeting, including you, treat those two leaders differently?
My point is that being perceived as confident can actually increase your confidence level. In other words, one of the easiest ways to boost your confidence is to start acting confident – whether or not you really are. You need to play the part. Live it, and you’ll become it.
With that said, following are five easy ways you can feel more confident to yourself and look more confident to others. Start using these five tips on a daily basis in your life, and others’ perceptions of you will shift. As they perceive you as being more confident, their affirmations will help your actual confidence level grow naturally.
1. Keep Your Chin Up
Whenever something got me down when I was growing up, my father would always say, “Keep your chin up.” What he meant was that no matter what happens, don’t let others see that they’ve shaken your confidence. Instead, he’d tell me to stand up tall, keep my chin up, and keep going. I didn’t realize at the time that this piece of advice would not only keep the bullies away by making them perceive me as strong and confident, but it actually ending up making me perceive myself as confident. Thanks, Dad.
2. Look People in the Eyes
I’ve always been shy and introverted, so when I was younger, it was really hard for me to look people in the eyes. I can’t remember where or when I was told that I needed to start looking people in the eye, but it was really good advice. No matter how uncomfortable it feels (and for some people, that discomfort can be practically paralyzing), force yourself to look the people you’re speaking to in the eyes. They’ll immediately perceive you as more confident.
When you smile, the people around you naturally feel more comfortable. The atmosphere completely changes. Happiness can be perceived as confidence, and when positivity is flowing, everyone benefits. However, when negative energy is present, confidence is likely to drop. Even if you don’t feel like smiling, make yourself do it.
4. Remove “Um” from Your Vocabulary
Every time you use filler words like “um” or “like,” others perceive you as uncertain and lacking confidence (either consciously or subconsciously). Even if you’re using filler words simply to gain a few seconds while you gather your thoughts, the perception is still the same. People think you’re unsure of yourself. Therefore, practice speaking without saying “um” or using other filler words. It will feel strange at first to just use silent pauses, but that split second of silence will make you seem more confident than saying “um” will.
5. Stop Saying, “I Think”
Another phrase you should stop saying is “I think.” Women say “I think” as an introduction to stating their opinion far often than men, particularly in business situations. Do you “think” or do you “know” what you’re about to say? If you know it, don’t say “I think” at all. Instead, make your statement as a fact with confidence. For example, rather than saying, “I think we should invest in a new email marketing tool,” say, “We need to invest in a new email marketing tool.” Don’t suggest your opinion; state the facts as you see them.
Final Thoughts on Boosting Your Confidence
Of course, modifying your behaviors is never easy, but if you want to achieve a goal, you need to commit to at least making small steps on a daily basis to reach that goal. To that end, start small and focus on just one of the five suggestions listed above. As you master one, starting working on the next. I promise that once you master all five of the tips to boost your confidence discussed above, not only with other people perceive you as confident, but you’ll perceive yourself as confident, too. And with some confidence, there’s nothing you can’t do!