Increasing your confidence is something you can work on little by little, as they say “taking baby steps.” Sometimes you need an instant boost of confidence, such as before a presentation or sporting event, going into various social situations, and for interviews.
They also say, “fake it until you make it” – so even if you aren’t the most confident person, these simple tricks will help you pretend you are confident when you need it.
1 – Take a power pose
Right before the moment you need confidence strike a “power pose” or “victory stance” as it is called by Amy Joy Cuddy, an American social psychologist. Cuddy suggests that for two minutes right before your big moment you find a private or quiet place to:
- Stand up straight
- Push your shoulders back
- Widen your feet to a little more than hip distance
- Hold your head straight and high
- Raise your arms overhead in a “V” shape
Hold this victory stance for two minutes, breathing deeply and telling yourself positive affirmations. If you aren’t in a place you feel comfortable to hold the “V” then put your hands on your hips.
2 – Keep it straight
Once you are in the exact moment you need your confidence, keep your posture straight. Also uncross your arms, make eye contact and smile. Smiling isn’t just for your audience, it sends your brain the message that everything is great and will naturally boost your confidence.
Go ahead and pretend you are very confident about what you are doing in that moment and your audience will be eager to work with you some more.
3 – Have a “resourceful” mindset
A “resourceful state of mind” is beyond positive thinking. It’s what Paul McKenna, Ph.D. and author of I Can Make You Confident, calls aligning your thoughts, feelings, and physiology into a confidence boost before doing something important.
McKenna discovered that before doing something involving risk or uncertainty, confident people put themselves into a resourceful state of mind. They produce mental images of their pending success that include: excitement, enthusiasm, determination, compassion and even playfulness.
Instead of saying, “I think I can, I think I can,” they visualize their train charging up the mountain, the crowd cheering for them, while they tell themselves “When I get to the top of the mountain, I will enjoy the rush down the other side!” Whatever this resource is that you are seeking, fully imagine it being yours.
4 – Recognize your accomplishments
This first or big step may be making you nervous right now, but how about all those other steps that worked out well for you? Remember something you’ve done that you are proud of. Relive those great moments, revel in that success a bit and let it carry you into this moment you can also have success in.
5 – Be prepared
This one takes more than a moment’s notice, but not much more. The further ahead you research and plan the better equipped you will be. But you can always do some quick research on your phone to get an idea of what you are stepping into.
For instance, if you are going on a job interview or similar, be sure to -at the very least- read the about page on the organization’s website. The more you know, the more confident you will be.
6 – Know yourself
With a little more time on your hands, take a skills assessment test so that you can better know your strengths and weaknesses. Knowing what you already do well is a great confidence boost. Recognizing what you don’t know isn’t a downer, but rather you can then make plans to learn those skills that you want.
First published: September 2019