Confidence is one of the most important aspects of social interaction. It can make or break any first impression and any conversation. As many of you know, people are more likely to trust someone who appears sure of himself than someone who exudes uncertainty.
What many don’t know is that confidence is a skill that is built up over time with practice and patience. Nobody is born more confident than anyone else, but we do get educated differently when it comes to social interactions. We inherit ways of thinking and acting from our families and we’re shaped by our early experiences with friends, family, and teachers.
While social interaction is still the best way to learn and gain confidence as a skill, there are a number of things you can do to improve how you feel about yourself.
Improve Your Posture
Confidence, simply defined, is the feeling that you can rely on someone or something. It is that air of trustworthiness we attribute to those who are certain of their skills and aren’t afraid to show it.
One subconscious way most humans perceive confidence is through posture. Not only can someone with a straight back and neck be better perceived by his peers, but by themselves. That’s right—good posture can improve a person’s perception of themselves! A 2009 study from the Ohio State University states that there is a correlation between your posture and your sense of self.
It is quite possibly a leftover from our animal ancestors’ instincts, wherein a more powerful animal will take an aggressive stance, while other animals in the area cower and slouch.
Make sure to set up constant visual reminders to adjust your posture whenever you need to. If you are finding it difficult, do some research on various forms of exercise to help with your core and back strength. Over time, you will notice that it becomes easier and easier to maintain proper posture — and confidence.
Practice Public Speaking Skills
Glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking, can be observed in over a quarter of people living in developed countries. Many people experience hyperventilation, nausea, shivering, and more when faced with the prospect of speaking publicly.
Unfortunately, public speaking is an essential skill that needs to be learned in nearly every professional setting. Thankfully, there are ways to help improve your self-confidence in your own public speaking skills. And with the newfound confidence that often emerges from good posture, you’re positioning yourself for success!
You could start streaming on Twitch to practice live, start a YouTube show or podcast if you want to edit it, or join a local Toastmasters or debate club for live practice. Conventions are often looking for interesting panels and speakers too.
Breathe And Take Public Speaking Slow
James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader and Mufasa, made sure to practice and prepare responses for nearly every type of situation, avoiding ‘m’ words where possible. This was because he had a speech impediment, stuttering, which was alleviated by committing his words to memory and developing his vocabulary.
Practising and memorizing what you have to say for a public speaking engagement can help disperse some of those fears.
Another way to improve your public speaking is to do slow breathing exercises, as these can lower the heart rate and the transmission of adrenaline in your body. The lowered heart rate can also have a calming effect on your mood.
Look Them in The Eye
Another way humans perceive a lack of confidence is in one’s inability to make eye contact. This can give an impression of suspicion, which can make social interactions more difficult for you overall.
Ignore that inner voice that begs you look away, and maintain a steady gaze. Listen to the many studies that have shown how eye contact can deepen social interactions.
Mirror Their Stances
One interesting fact about humans is that we never evolved out of the “monkey see, monkey do” instinct. We are inherently and instinctively inclined towards people who mirror our stances, even if we don’t notice.
For example, if your interviewer or date presses their forearm to the table and leans forward, try to do the same. You will notice that they’re more comfortable, as their subconscious tells them that you both are on the same page. Be careful with this one; you don’t want to look like you’re mimicking them
Over time, you will begin to notice the improvement of your social interactions, and even a better sense of self. Confidence, after all, comes from within, and if you are to appear more trustworthy and reliable, you have to be able to take steps to trust yourself.For more information on how to improve your self-confidence, we at Coaching for Geeks have the resources you need! Let us help you become your best self today. Get in touch to book a 1-2-1 session and find out how we can help you level up your confidence.