First impressions are one of the most important interactions that shape and frame the relationships we develop with others.
Firm handshakes, a clear, definite voice, and positive energy are often symbols that someone is confident in themselves; therefore, others are willing to accept them as friends, someone to network with, or even to employ.
However, sometimes anxiety can lead to awkward conversation and scenarios. It’s estimated that almost 40 million people in America report having anxiety in some form, meaning that everyone faces moments of vulnerability and uneasiness at some point in their lives. While for others, high levels of self-confidence may come easy. Either way, it’s clear that confidence levels vary- and that’s okay, but there are ways to create an image of confidence to others. Some even say a side-effect of acting confident will result in making you feel more confident! (Ever heard of the impact of power posing!? Yup!)
While overall you may be confident in yourself and your abilities, there may be days when you feel self-conscious about your look, or you feel anxious, because you want to do well on a job interview. This is where recognizing those feelings yet pushing through and still shining should be focused on!
“It is confidence in our bodies, minds and spirits that allows us to keep looking for new adventures, new directions to grow in, and new lessons to learn – which is what life is all about.” -Oprah Winfrey
Those we perceive as having high self-esteem and confidence, like Oprah, do not have an absence of fear; rather, by pushing through their feelings of negativity and doubt, they allow their best light to shine through. Feelings of anxiety don’t necessarily go away as you climb the ladder to success so we pulled together some tools and tips that can help you to feel and be perceived as more confident:
Maybe you’re nervous about an upcoming interview, giving a major presentation, or being in the presence of important people. One thing people catch onto quickly is body language. Remembering to always keep a smile on your face and will exude positivity while also sending a signal that you are approachable.
2. Remain Focused on The Task
Again, you’re about to have an encounter of some sort (presentation, interview, etc) and all of a sudden, insecure thoughts begin to flood your mind- “My hair isn’t right.” “Maybe this wasn’t the best outfit choice.” “I shouldn’t have eaten that sandwich with onion.” And now, you’re focused on all of your insecurities.
While you may not be able to control these types of thoughts, remember to focus! Resist the urge to tug at your skirt, touch your hair, or nervously cough. All of these physical tics indicate that you feel as though something is out of place. Give the task at hand your best, and execute it with the utmost confidence and assurance.
3. Be Forward
When it comes to first impressions and battling with your confidence, the worst thing you can do is overthink an action and its consequences. For example, if you’re at a networking event and see a professional you want to meet- just walk over, shake hands, and introduce yourself. Even if you don’t get to have a lengthy conversation, don’t allow time to talk yourself out of making the first move.
Ultimately, the key to breaking down confidence barriers is to silence the voice in the back of your head. Pushing through the negative thoughts that are constantly telling you what you can’t do or what could go wrong is crucial. Begin with the end in mind- imagine what a positive outlook and confident appearance can bring you.