Confidence is a critical component of your professional success. It’s that elusive quality that can take you from “where you are today” to “where you want to be”. But despite what you may feel, confidence isn’t something that you’re born with, it’s a quality you learn. There are some who are fortunate enough to learn how to project confidence during their teenage years. Then there are others who reach adulthood and discover their inability to project confidence is holding them back in their career or even their social life.
As a woman, I know how elusive confidence can be. But as a business etiquette expert, I’ve learned some tricks that can help you project confidence even if you don’t feel it inside.
I want to share these tips with you today.
By choosing the right outfit, you can immediately project confidence as soon as others see you. Imagine you bump into somebody in the office who is wearing a dark suit and is impeccably groomed. Then you bump into somebody who is wearing a beige suit that’s clearly too big for them. Which person projects more power and authority?
If you’re a businesswoman and you want to up the level of confidence you project in the office, opt for darker colours when it comes to your suit, pants, or skirt. Darker colours help project authority. Then, mix in contrasting colours for your shirt, shoes or accessories. Contrasting colours help to add impact. A crisp white shirt is always a safe choice, but if you prefer a little more colour then I encourage you to add red, green, or blue to your outfit.
Your body language is the second area to focus on when you want to project more confidence. Studies have shown that 93% of communication is nonverbal. That means your body language and facial expressions account for a significant portion of the messages you send. If you want to get one element of your confident image right, your body language is the most important.
Confident body language always starts with your posture. You cannot project confidence if your shoulders are slumped and you’re looking down at the ground. So, the first thing you need to do is correct any bad posture you may have when you’re sitting, standing, and walking. Always keep your shoulders pushed back and your head held high. Tighten your stomach muscles to look taller. If it means doing some extra sit-ups in the morning to strengthen your stomach muscles, then go for it.
Even though your body language contributes a significant amount to your message and your confident image, your voice isn’t something you should neglect either because it provides that finishing touch. Imagine you’ve put together a confident looking outfit and have mastered confident body language gestures. Then you speak, and your voice is full of timidity and uncertainty. You would immediately ruin all the hard work you’ve done to build a confident image.
When it comes to your voice, increasing your volume, speaking slightly slower, and eliminating filler words can provide that immediate confidence boost you’re looking for. To increase your volume you have to make sure you breathe in a little deeper to push more oxygen out of your lungs when you speak. Slowing your pace of speech just a little will also give you more time to breath properly. And replacing hesitant sounding filler words, such as “I think I can finish the report by Friday” with “I will have the report done by Friday” will make your sentences stronger.
Confidence isn’t something you have to live without. Start today implementing the tips above to look, act, and sound confident and I guarantee you will see a difference in your professional and social life.
Kara Ronin is the founder of Executive Impressions and the creator of Look, Act and Sound Like a Confident BusinessWoman, a cutting edge online coaching program. Sign up for Kara’s free formula, “5 Ways You Can Feel More Confident This Week” and get access to her weekly advice, tips and strategies for a successful career and a fabulous life! Connect with Kara on Twitter @execimpressions.
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