I am one of the strong believers in the outside-inside behavioral therapy strategies. Most therapy aims at healing the inside first to affect the outside. As much as that is effective, outside-inside therapy can do wonders as well. Most especially when it comes to making one look confident.
When I was starting as a news anchor, my confidence in front of the camera was very low. However, whenever I went live on Tv, I pretended to be confident even when my nerves were at war inside.
With time that confidence that people would see and think that I was confident, spread to the inside.
I became confident in myself in front of the camera. What people were then watching was no longer pretense but genuine self-confidence.
If you are struggling with confidence and hate to be judged as diffident or insecure, you can start by changing your outlook and how you sell yourself to people. The good news is that people will judge you for what they see because they can not know what is going on inside of you.
So, it matters less how confident you are on the inside than what you show people. You are going to have to become an actor or actress for some time. If you do it so well and consistently, it will spread to the inside.
You will become and look confident both on the outside and inside. People will enjoy your presence, easily trust you, like you more, and feel comfortable around you. If you are a salesman, your sales will skyrocket. You will also find it easy to make friends.
If you want to know how to look confident so you can make a good impression during that presentation or on the people in your life, here is a list of things you have to do.
10 things you can do to look confident.
1. Stand tall.
A confident person stands straight. He or she stands tall, shoulders back with the head high ready to take on what life brings. Here is what that straight posture communicates; ‘’I am comfortable in my body, there is no enemy within, I am at peace with myself and the only thing I am ready for is what life brings’’. It communicates power and self-trust.
No matter how you feel, do not in any way show people that you have struggles inside of you. They will trust you less. If you stand straight, you will appear confident and trustable.
2. Look people in the eye.
Making eye contact when speaking to another person is a sign of confidence. It shows that you not only respect the person you are talking to but have no ill feelings of guilt, lack of self-trust, self-doubt, and low self-esteem that can make you fear looking people in the eye.
No matter how you feel, do not let it show. One way to conceal your inner turmoil is by making eye contact. Do it in a way that is not awkward. Do not gaze. Blink or break eye contact once in a while.
3. Stay calm.
You will get moments that will test your confidence. Someone will ask you a question hard for you to answer. Someone will say something mean or you will even get into a situation that will make you panic. Take a deep breath if you have to. The last thing you will want to do is fidget.
Once you show people that you are panicking, you will make them question your confidence and authenticity. A lie said with confidence is easier to believe than the truth told in panic. So whether you are going, to tell the truth, or lie, make sure you do not panic. Stay calm and pretend to be in control.
4. Speak like a god or goddess.
If you ever get into a room occupied by people. Identify that person that speaks a lot and speaks so fast. That is the one with the lowest confidence. A god or goddess only speaks when they have to, listen more and speak less, and most importantly speak slowly and in a calm tone.
You will be pushed to speak so fast because you think people will get bored so you want to say it all before they start yawning. Calm down, speak slowly, take silent pauses, and speak calmly and clearly. You will come off way more confident than you feel inside.
Anyone listening to you can consume all your information without being distracted by any tension you would show when you speak so fast.
5. Use gestures of confidence
When you are speaking to a person or a group of people, one thing that will show a lack of confidence is fidgeting with your hands. When you lack confidence, you get uncomfortable with your hands and struggle to figure out what to do with them.
One way to exude confidence is by being comfortable with your hands. If you are seated, rest them on your chair or thighs. If you are standing, as recommended by psychologists, use the hand steeple gesture. Hold your hands rested at the center. With the steeple, you can easily strike a balance between what you are saying and hand gestures.
You can get them from the steeple to emphasize something or help listeners visualize what you are saying and then take them back after.
6. Take up space to appear confident.
Do you want to come off as confident? Take up space. It is a broad phrase. It can mean sitting or standing comfortably without sulking, hunching, or trying to make yourself small.
It can also mean taking risks, going for what you want however scared you may be, asking that question burning inside you, or raising your hand to speak your truth or make your point even when there is a voice inside you trying to stop you.
That is all taking up space. Doing it in all its senses then people will see you as a confident person.
7. Ask questions.
This is related to the previous point of taking up space. I want to elaborate more on it, however. People who lack confidence often fear asking questions. They will pretend to understand even when it’s clear they didn’t get anything that was said. They bottle their curiosity.
You will exude confidence by being comfortable in not knowing everything or not understanding something. When you ask, you show how comfortable you are with yourself. You also complement and approve of others by asking. They will know that they have your attention. Express your curiosity and ask questions.
8. Walk with authority.
If you want to look confident, in addition to a straight posture, walk with authority. Keep your head high facing where you are going, and take longer strides at a pace slightly above moderate. Let your hands be free if you are not holding anything.
Do not hold them behind your back or fold them. Let them hang freely because you are comfortable with yourself, feel secure, and fear nothing.
9. Give a firm handshake to look confident.
If you are to look confident, let your handshake be firm. I am not asking you to channel your whole energy into it. You will instead hurt the person whose hand you are shaking. Just strike a balance between too weak and too strong.
Let it be firm with some energy to communicate respect and gratitude. If your handshake is weak, it will communicate boredom or low self-confidence.
10. Dress your best.
One thing that will influence how you feel about yourself is how smart you are in what you are putting on. When you are smartly dressed, you will feel good about yourself. When you feel good about yourself, you will be more confident to express yourself.
So no matter how you feel inside, dress smartly to look confident.
In conclusion, the saying ”fake it until you make it” is synonymous with outside-inside behavioral therapy. Both encourage you to act it until the inside gets it. It is not false. It works. Denzel Washington once said, if you hang around a barbershop long enough, you will soon get a haircut. To paraphrase it in this ‘’how to look confident’’ context, if you act confident long enough, you will soon become and look confident.