Confidence is important, whether you’re interviewing for a new job or trying to get promoted at the one you already have. Even if you’re completely happy where you are on the corporate ladder, being confident will help you persuade other people to support you, which is essential for getting buy-in for your projects and achieving your goals. But what if you’re not a naturally confident person?
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In that case, the old advice is best: fake it until you make it. If you can give a convincing impression of confidence, you can fool all the important people in any interaction: bosses, coworkers, even yourself.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Sit up straight.
Good posture affects how others think of us, but more importantly, it improves how we think of ourselves, according to research from Ohio State University.
“Most of us were taught that sitting up straight gives a good impression to other people,” says Richard Petty, professor of psychology and co-author of the study. “But it turns out that our posture can also affect how we think about ourselves. If you sit up straight, you end up convincing yourself by the posture you’re in.”
2. Don’t be afraid of silence.
Many people chatter when they’re nervous. School yourself to avoid this tactic. Remember that what seems like five minutes of agonizing quiet to you is probably just a few seconds of pause between thoughts. It’s better not to say anything at all than to say something that means nothing.
3. Engage with other people.
Ask questions, use active listening techniques, and keep your mind on the interaction at hand. Don’t check your phone, the clock on the wall, or your fingernails. Be in the interview or meeting or conversation you’re having right now.
“Playing it cool is a great way to ignore your honest emotions and bury the authentic you,” writes Sean Platt at Pick the Brain. “Be happy and excited, and allow the world to see it. Your joy will be infectious, your confidence contagious.”
5. Don’t drop names.
It’s tempting to ally yourself and your opinions with someone that your interviewer or boss already admires. Avoid this tendency, advises Lisa Marie Basile at The Grindstone.
Not only can name-dropping be off-putting all on its own, it indicates to the other person that you don’t feel like your ideas are good enough to stand on their own merit. Confident people aren’t afraid to stand up and say, “This is what I think.” And that’s the kind of self-assurance that inspires belief in other people.
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