Here’s a simple three-step way to raise your confidence level so gently it will seem perfectly natural.
Step one /start small
Identify someone whose confidence you admire then identify what it is in their behaviour that marks them out as confident (and check your analysis against the Confident Keynotes below). Introduce that same confident behaviour into a no-pressure situation and notice how the people around you respond. Practise. Enjoy.
Step two / get good
Introduce the small confidence gestures you’ve been practising into a situation where there is more pressure, and notice how your changed behaviour elicits an even more positive change in behaviour from those around you. Keep practising. Identify a situation where the pressure’s really on and rehearse how you want this situation to play out with you using the confidence gestures and attitudes you’re now perfecting.
Step three / go for it
Wow yourself and everyone around you with your new confident attitude in the high-tension situation that usually leaves you quivering with nerves. Yes, you rehearsed it, but the only person who knows that is you (and maybe the friend you hauled in to help you with the rehearsals). Enjoy the feeling of being in cool, calm, collected control. Repeat frequently.
Confident people usually…
…look relaxed: keep your hands still, don’t fidget and try not to tense up. A good relaxer: 3×3 deep, slow breaths.
…have good posture: lift your chin, pull your shoulders down and back, imagine a thread going through the top of your head pulling you upwards
…have good body language: it accounts for a surprising 55% of the overall impression we make, while what you say counts for a meagre 7%. The rest is down to the pitch, speed and volume of your voice. What’s good body language? Start with being relaxed and making sure your posture’s good.
…speak slowly: we tend to speed up when we’re nervous, so consciously slow down; it’s surprising how slowly you can speak before anyone asks you to get a move on!
…are comfortable with the way they look: just be well groomed and feel comfortable, so do whatever’s necessary to achieve the state the French call bien dans sa peau which literally translates to “Well in their own skin” and then, crucially, forget about the way you look. Don’t try to hold your midriff bulge in: let that skirt out or buy a bigger size so you can put it on, breathe easy and forget about it.
About the Author: Hazel Walker is a professional business and personal development coach, with a 100% success rate – check out some of her clients’ testimonials – and as a director of Redbird coaching she bases her coaching on her belief that coaching can enable you to access the answer that’s somewhere inside you.
As well as one-to-one coaching, she runs assertiveness training courses and, with coaching colleague Jan Grover, she also runs Power Lunch business coaching workshops and Power Confidence Workshops. In December 2008 she published two Power Confidence workbooks, with two more titles in the series planned for early 2009. February 2009 will see the launch of a series of Confidence Masterclasses.
Hazel is also offering 4 FREE coaching sessions to Women Unlimited readers who are in their first 6 months of business. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in being considered.
Photo credit: Son of Groucho on Flickr