Even if you don’t feel confident, you can still project a confident image at work by paying attention to how you look and sound. Here are specific actions you can take:
1) Speak up. When people are unsure, they may mumble. Louder voices tend to sound more confident.
2) Slow down. Nervous speakers rush their words so they can finish faster. Confident people speak at a normal rate.
3) Stand or sit up straight. If you slump down in your chair, it can look like you are trying to hide.
4) Look at the other person. In some cultures direct eye contact is not appropriate, however in American business culture, looking away can signal a lack of confidence.
5) Use controlled hand gestures. Pay attention to your hands and make sure you’re not using nervous gestures such as playing with your hair or picking at your nails. Those gestures can be very distracting.
6) Use powerful phrases. Use statements such as “I will…” or “I can…”. Don’t use hedgers and qualifiers such as, “This probably isn’t a good idea but…” or “We’ve probably already tried this but…” When you use phrases like that, you are telling people not to listen to you.
7) Observe confident people. Think about the confident people you know. How do they look? What do they do? What do they say? You can observe them and copy what they do. You may even want to set up a time to talk to confident people and ask what their secrets are. Most people are happy to talk about themselves.
No one needs to know that you’re feeling nervous. Even if you have butterflies in your stomach, you’re the only one who knows they are there. You have the ability to choose to appear calm and confident.