This post first appeared on Susan Ritchie’s blog, and she has graciously allowed me to re-post it, in its entirety. Thank you Susan. I hope you enjoy the tips she shares to help you feel more confident. Check back this weekend, when I will share my own personal experiences of implementing Susan’s tips to help me be more confident 🙂
Telling Tales; Seven Ways to Convince Them You’re Confident!
Coping with nerves-convince them you’re confident!
There will be times in all our lives when we need to act confidently, but inside we’re just not feeling it.
Even though we don’t feel confident, it’s possible to act as though we are by presenting a calm and controlled exterior for a short time, to get us through whatever situation we may find ourselves in. Quite often all that’s needed is to begin to do something, and then as we relax into it, our nerves tend to melt away. I’ve found this particularly when I was acting; I’d be a bundle of nerves in the wings, but once I got on stage, I could relax and enjoy myself.
So whether it’s a job interview, the first day in a new role, making that major presentation or having a difficult conversation, having a “Success Routine” prepared in advance can really help. Before the event, you need to be in the best possible mental state. Here are some tips to help you construct yours.
1. Smile. Smiling instantly makes us feel better, and smiling at someone else usually prompts them to smile back, whether it’s an audience at a presentation, colleagues in a meeting, a customer or the boss! And having someone smile at you can help instantly to calm the nerves.
2. See yourself as acting confidently by visualizing. Athletes do this all the time; they visualize themselves winning, and that’s what you need to do, too. In whatever situation you’re trying to cope with nerves, visualize your ideal self being successful and confident. Work hard to banish any other images from your mind; take control of your thoughts.
3. Hold your body confidently. Be deliberately conscious of your posture, as our unconscious will leak through and expose your nerves if you’re not careful. If you’re standing, stand tall: shoulders back, feet shoulder width apart, arms bent at the elbows and hands in front of you loosely touching-what body langauge expert Elizabeth Kuhkne calls the “power position.” Walk into a room with your head high, taking your time to look around and make eye contact with people around you. Use your body to make you feel more confident and in control. Simply standing up straight can expand your lungs, allowing more air to enter as you breathe more deeply, instantly boosting your calmness.
4. Breathe! It’s surprisingly easy to forget to do this, and nervous people tend to take shallow breaths that can make them feel like they are hyperventilating. Breathe deeply down into your tummy. If you have time, try doing a three-minute mindfulness meditation somewhere quiet to focus you. You can find one here.
5. Speak with confidence. This means not only what you’re telling yourself, but how you are telling the world. Nervous voices can seem high and squeaky, so take a sip of water before you speak, clear your throat and make an effort to lower your voice slightly, slowing your pace-this will make you sound calmer and more in control, and you’ll feel it, too. But it’s also important to tune your inner voice to a confident channel. Get rid of wishy-washy words and phrases like “might” and “maybe,” and instead replace them will firm affirmations of success: “I will…” and “I am…” tell yourself that ARE successful at whatever it is you are doing, and your brain will begin to believe it!
6. Hold something. Body language experts might disagree, but I find holding my glasses while my hands are in the power position gives me something project my nerves into. It allows me to gesticulate calmly and elegantly, and also I feel with an air of gravitas – try it.
7. Lastly, using music to help fire you up into the right mental state can be immensely powerful. Have your favorite three power tracks on full blast in the car, or if possible on something you can listen to just before you have to “perform” – not always practical I know, but it’s something to aim for.
Creating a “success routine” can help ease your nerves and calm you down at times when your nerves may be running rampant. Have you got any other ideas? I’d love you to add them in the comments below.
About Susan Ritchie
After 10 years travelling the world with her son as a single mum, Susan Ritchie is now the Confidence Mentor, helping successful professionals to minimize their stress and maximize their confidence at work. Her blogs offer inspirational advice and tips to help others to make themselves matter!
To find out more about her and her business, and read more of her writing, check out youtimecoaching.co.uk.