It’s not always easy feeling confident at work. Interacting with a boss, making presentations, making cold calls, meeting with unfamiliar people, and taking on new tasks can be daunting no matter where you’re at in your career. It may seem like confidence comes easier to some people, but, thankfully, confidence is a skill that can be built.
Building confidence means confronting your worst enemy—yourself. In order for others to perceive you as confident, you’ll have to convince yourself. But once you do, you’ll find yourself exuding confidence and reaping all the benefits.
It may be intimidating, but adopt these behaviors and you’ll boost your confidence in no time!
“Confidence comes from consistency in the fundamentals and making the plays in practice.” -Aaron Rodgers
Acknowledge your strengths and accomplishments
Many of us fall victim to imposter syndrome, the belief we haven’t fairly earned our accomplishments. Imposter syndrome is one of the most common confidence killers in the professional world, and knowing how to silence those thoughts is the first step in building confidence.
No matter how you feel, you’ve done impressive feats in your life and you have valuable talents. Focus on what you’ve done so far and how far you’ve come in your career. Try writing down your strengths and weaknesses to get a feel for what you bring to the table, and take pride in your accomplishments. It isn’t boasting to hype yourself up, and, in fact, many career coaches recommend keeping a “brag book” of your accomplishments so you have a handy-dandy reminder of what you’ve done.
If you still struggle to hype yourself up, Forbers’ contributor Caroline Castrillon says to not be afraid to ask someone you trust to help you. They’ll be able to remind you of your strengths and even provide aspects you may have overlooked or underplayed.
Be prepared and practice
Once you’ve gotten in a better headspace, you can make your next necessary steps. Greatness comes from practice and preparation, and those are tenets you’ll need to embrace.
Athletes attain aptitude by constantly studying their opponents, examining their past play, and practicing the fundamentals, and you can do the same in your career. When accepting a new task or project, do as much prior research as you can and practice in a way that makes sense for you. For example, if you’re interviewing for a new job, WeCruitr says to read the job description carefully and study the company’s website. You’ll be able to make sure you meet the company’s needs and you’ll feel ready to tackle any questions about it.
If you need to give a presentation, practice! Even if you’re good at extemporaneous speaking or want to appear natural, the more preparation you do, the more naturally the words and ideas will flow. You’ll practice so many times it will feel like second nature, leading to confidence in the material.
Be intentional with your body language
We’re all familiar with the phrase “fake it ’til you make it.” This is a common practice for even the most confident appearing people. If you look the part of a confident person, you’ll convince others you’re confident, even yourself.
Adapting your body language to appear more confident will change the way you’re perceived, for example.
“Straighten your back as much as possible, refrain from fidgeting your legs, tapping your fingers, or having your hands underneath a table. Displaying and moving your hands while speaking shows that you have nothing to hide from the person you are talking to. Therefore, you are considered honest and sure of what you are saying, appearing as confident.” –Amaris Miranda, Nexxt
Your dress style is another way to give off an aura of confidence, reminds Federico Omarini. Make sure to dress the part for important meetings and events and take the extra step to dress professionally. You don’t need to do the Step Brothers strategy and wear a tuxedo to every interview but go for the nice pants over jeans in your business casual attire.
Surround yourself with the right people
If you’re still struggling to appear confident after the following steps, don’t be afraid to lean on people in your network. The best aspect of networking is to have people in your corner that believe in you and trust your capabilities.
Allison Walsh says to surround yourself with positive people who will help your journey. If you spend time with those that lift you up, you’ll find your inner voice strengthened and you’ll be able to stave off negative thoughts. Learn how to accept and believe the compliments you receive.
Look to people you admire and try to emulate their behaviors. Caroline Castrillon says that the process of figuring out what makes these people confident will unconsciously help you pick up on these behaviors. You’ll make these behaviors your own, and soon you’ll be just as confident as them.
Being confident doesn’t mean you’ve hit a plateau of success and you’re done growing. You’ll need to learn to accept yourself and how far you’ve come even if it still means you have growth to accomplishment. Self-betterment is a life-long journey, and confidence means accepting this and believing you can continue the journey.
Fear of failure is one of the biggest confidence-killers out there, Kaylyn McKenna writes. Fear of failure shouldn’t stop you from trying new things, and failure can be a lesson in and of itself. Accept that you might fail, but view it as an opportunity for growth.
“A project may not turn out as planned, and you may make mistakes. Lerner said that as long as you learn from those experiences, you haven’t truly failed.” – Kaylyn McKenna
Confidence doesn’t come naturally to all of us, but it is something that anyone can emulate. Following these behaviors and incorporating them into your life will help build a sense of confidence over time.. Even if you don’t buy it yourself, once you start appearing confident to others, you’ll start feeling confident yourself.