5 Ways To Project Confidence
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been studying confidence (especially as it relates to the ability to
deal optimally with change) for the past twenty-five years. Confidence
is the personality trait most responsible for an individual's ability
to deal well with organizational transitions. Confident people are
self-motivated, have high self-esteem, and are willing to take
are five ways to build your self-confience:
1. Play to your strengths
I once gave
a speech for the senior management team of a software company in
Silicon Valley that was relocating out of state. A few days later the
president of the company telephoned me to say, "I have an
administrative assistant who is probably the brightest, most creative
person I've worked with. The problem is, she's married and can't move
her family. I was wondering if you would see her for a private coaching
session, so that when she applies for a new job, she will come across
just as terrific as she really is. I'll gladly pay for the session."
I agreed, and looked forward to meeting this talented woman. When she
came into my office I said, "This is a real pleasure. I've heard so
many terrific things about you. Tell me about yourself. What is it that
you do exceptionally well? What would you most want a prospective
employer to know about you?" The woman was silent for several seconds.
Finally she sighed and said, "I really don't know. I do a lot of things
well, but when I do them, I don't notice."
strangely enough, bears little relationship to confidence. The fact
that you do your job extremely well does not, by itself, insure that
you are also confident of your abilities. It is only when you are aware
of your competence that you become confident.
favorite tip for increasing awareness of your strengths and talents is
especially effective right before a job interview or any other
important event in which you want to project your most confident self.
First, think of a past success that filled you with pride and a high
sense of achievement. (This doesn’t have to be taken from your
professional life – although I do encourage clients to keep a “success
log” so that they can easily find an event.) Then recall the feeling of
power and certainty – and remember or imagine how you looked and
sounded. Recalling that genuine emotion will help you embody it as you
enter the meeting room or walk up to the podium.
Watch your posture
know that the way you feel affects your body. If you are feeling
insecure or depressed, you tend to round your shoulders, slump, and
look down. If you are upbeat and assured you tend to hold yourself
erect and expand your chest. But did you know that the reverse is also
true? Your posture has a powerful impact on your emotions and on the
way that others perceive you.
at Harvard and Columbia Business Schools, shows that simply holding
your body in expansive, "high-power" poses for as little as two minutes
stimulates higher levels of testosterone - the hormone linked to power
and dominance - and lower levels of cortisol, one of the stress
addition to causing hormonal shifts in both males and females, the
researchers found that these powerful postures lead to increased
feelings of power and a higher tolerance for risk. They also found that
people are more often influenced by how they feel about you than by
what you're saying.
before you go into a situation in which you want to project your most
confident self, start by standing up straight, pulling your shoulders
back, widening your stance and holding your head high. Then put your
hands on your hips ((think “Wonder Woman” or “Superman” pose). Just by
holding your body in
this posture you will begin to feel surer of yourself and to project
3. Choose to be an optimist
Chinese, the ideogram for crisis combines two characters: One is the
symbol for danger, the other for opportunity. So -- is the glass
half-empty or half-full? It’s both. The only difference is where you
focus your attention.
before Dale Carnegie, the human potential movement, or self-help
videos, a positive outlook was acknowledged to be a crucial part of
high-level achievement and confidence. In today’s fast-moving,
competitive business environment, a positive, upbeat, “can-do” attitude
is vital for success.
not to dwell on negativity, doesn’t mean you should be oblivious to
potential danger. Rather, you can analyze situations for both positive
and negative aspects, develop strategies to minimize negatives and
optimize positives, and then focus on the upside of
the situation. Spending too much time worrying about troublesome
aspects or negative outcomes is a waste of mental energy that saps
enthusiasm and confidence and makes it more difficult to realize the
potential opportunities that are also inherent in the situation.
4. Loosen up
program, for a utility company on the East Coast, I was asked to speak
twice: once in the morning and again in the afternoon. At the first
session I had just finished talking about the growing uncertainty that
all organizations face when an audience member asked, “If everything is
uncertain, what happens to strategic planning? How can you make any
plans for an unknown future?”
It was a good question, and I
answered it by using the two sessions as an example:
“I was hired to put on two
identical programs today, but you and I both know that it is impossible
for them to be identical even though I will use the same set of Power
Point slides for both presentations. The differences will be determined
by the makeup of the two audiences -- how many attend, what their
energy level is, what questions they ask, maybe even what they had for
lunch. And, of course, I too will be slightly different depending on my
energy level and what I had for lunch, etc. I don’t know how
the afternoon session will be different, but I’m certain that the
unexpected will happen.
As you prepare for the future
you need to set goals and make plans while taking into account a
multitude of contingencies in a volatile environment. And then you have
to understand that, despite your best efforts, the future may not play
out the way you planned, and you will most probably be required to
reorient as conditions change -- frequently in ways you never
people are naturally more flexible and better at coping with and
adapting to a complex, always changing reality than others. (I call
these individuals “change adept.”) They’ve learned that, in chaotic
times, the trick is not to brace for change, but to loosen up and learn
how to roll with it.
can build resilience and confidence by honing your ability to commit to
a course of action while, at the same time, staying
flexible enough to
alter behaviors and attitudes quickly to support a new direction.
5. Embrace failure
a television interview, Whoopie Goldberg described how she got her
first one-woman show in New York: Whoopie was performing her nightclub
act and (the director) Mike Nichols was in the audience. He came
backstage and offered to create a show for her in a Broadway theater.
Whoopie said she didn’t know if that was such a good idea. What if she
were lousy? Mike asked if she’d ever been lousy before and Whoopie said
“Sure!” His response was, “Then it’s no big deal. You’ll just be lousy
me, that reply was brilliant.
urge my audiences to appreciate that growth comes as much from failure
as it does from success. One project manager I interviewed summed it up
when he said, “If this venture fails, it will still be worth all the
time and effort I’ve put into it for the past 18 months. Just look at
everything I’ve learned.”
facilitate this kind of productive thinking, the United States Army
developed the After Action Reviews. AARs are now used by organizations
around the world to help teams learn from their mistakes, prevent
future errors, and find new solutions to problems.
the AAR process assembles people who were involved in a planned project
and asks them to answer a series of questions. But you can conduct your
own private AAR around any important event that didn’t turn out the way
you hoped it would.
What was the desired outcome?
What was the actual outcome?
Why were there differences between what I wanted and what I achieved?
What did I learn?
What would I do differently next time?
of failure is a huge obstacle to developing and projecting
self-confidence. But when you know that your failures can’t stop you
(if they are learning experiences and “no big deal”), then you increase
your confidence that nothing can stop you!
About the Author
Kinsey Goman, Ph.D.is an international
Keynote speaker on collaborative leadership and the impact of
language in the workplace.
coach to executives to improve their leadership presence and
Leadership blogger for Forbes and author of "The Silent Language of
Leaders: How Body Language Can Help - or Hurt - How You Lead.”
Carol@CarolKinseyGoman.com Authors Google+
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2014-05-09 10:14:33 in Personal Articles