How to Look Confident Even When You’re Not

UPDATED: June 22, 2016
PUBLISHED: June 22, 2016

Many of us experience moments in life when a less talented colleague beats us to a promotion or receives credit for work that should have been ours. Whether you’re naturally shy or something’s going on in your life that inhibits you from being as bold as usual, it can be disheartening to witness confidence trump ability—but studies show this is often the case. Our value in the workplace is partly perceived not by what we do but how we do it. Fortunately, while you may choose to work on your confidence levels by yourself, there are a few simple tricks to give others the impression you’re in control in the meantime.

Related: 8 Ways to Be a More Confident Person

Your new outlook can begin before you even leave the house. Dressing well has been shown to have a direct effect on our sense of confidence, so lay out something smart that fits you well. Power poses—a proud Superman stance with deep breathing—can also trick your mind into believing you’re confident so you arrive bold and assured.

Body language has long been noted for its relative importance to what is actually said—and the body language of confidence has its own gestural dialect. Studies back up the idea that using your hands to reinforce what you’re saying will give a firmer impression of your competence. On the flipside, keep your hands together while listening to avoid unconscious fidgeting. Maintaining eye contact while talking and listening makes you appear both trustworthy and decisive.

Of course speech itself is important, too. Go slowly, enunciate and stay in control rather than bombarding the listener with nervous babble. You can warm up beforehand by repeating positive phrases—I will be confident and at ease—to listen to the sound of your voice and set a tone of confidence.

Related: 9 Tips to Say It Better

For a closer look at how these and other techniques can give you back your edge at work, have a look at this infographic, which describes seven of the best techniques to reprogram your confidence, or at least fake it till you make it.

How to Look Confident Even When You’re Not

Credit: Vegas Extreme Skydiving

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