Most of us are more attracted to people who exude confidence. And, when given a choice, we’ll trust and believe in a confident person over someone who appears less confident. That’s why so many politicians and executives seem to get away with a lot of crap. Confidence is a key leadership attribute and a crucial ingredient for workplace advancement. So, what should you do to build your confidence? Fake it!
When it comes to confidence, faking it works!
Some of the old sayings, “never let ‘em see you sweat” and “fake it ‘til you make it” are true. In fact, new research from the University of Melbourne shows that faking it, “might actually be sound professional advice.” The University’s pilot study showed a significant correlation between confidence and career success.
Paying attention to your body language can help build confidence. Standing up tall, smiling, making eye contact, and even getting into a ‘superwoman stance’ or power pose can all help you feel more powerful and confident in yourself. Being confident, more importantly being perceived as a confident person, goes beyond your body language, you have to be able to speak with confidence.
“It doesn’t matter what you say as long as you say it with confidence,” is the one piece of advice I give most often, especially to women. When you speak with confidence, people believe what you’re saying and will be more responsive, even if you’re winging it and feeding them a load of bull. It’s a valuable lesson I learned early in my career.
As women, we love to talk, but many of us adopt speech patterns that make us sound unconfident. We also have a tendency to speak in terms of ‘we’ rather than ‘I’. Women also use more words, softer and more inclusive language. For example, where a woman might say, “These consultants are expensive and we don’t seem to be getting good results. Don’t you think we should consider reevaluating our contract with them?” A man would more plainly and succinctly say, “These consultants aren’t worth the money. It’s time to terminate their contract.” Which sounds more confident to you?
4 tips to help you speak with confidence:
1. Start with the headline first.
Just as in the media, the headline or sound bite, is what gets people’s attention. The first and last things you say are the most remembered.
2. Don’t end your sentences with questions.
Women are often perceived as indecisive, ineffective or unsure of themselves because we tend to end what we say with a question, such as “What do you think?” If you really want feedback, make a statement, “I’d like to hear your thoughts.” When you turn questions into statements, you retain control of the conversation and sound more confident.
3. Speak clearly
Eliminate the “umms, ahhs, uhhs and other fillers. It impacts your credibility and sounds as if you’re unsure of what you’re saying.
4. Get to the point.
Don’t over explain, give too much information or repeat yourself – all of which may be viewed as evasive or untruthful. You’ll be perceived as more confident and credible if you state your point clearly, and in as few words as possible.
Bottom line, even when you’re not feeling very confident, don’t let it show. You can fake your way to confidence by standing up and speaking out.
Want more tips on speaking with confidence and using powerful language? Ask Ajna’s mobile app is the preeminent career guide for women, giving you the assurance and resources you need to ask for, and get, better pay and opportunities at work. Download the Ask Ajna iPhone app now. Don’t have an iPhone, don’t worry! Ask Ajna will be available on Google Play Apps for Android soon!
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