Whether you’re feeling down and out or are embarrassingly bad at networking, don’t fear: help is here! We can help you fake confidence in your next social situation with flying colors. Just follow these tips on how to present yourself and nobody will notice you’d rather be hiding under a blanket.
(Photo Credit: Justin Goring/Flickr)
Trick #1: Stand Tall
Your mom was right. Chin up, there kiddo! You’ll be amazed at how much difference some squared shoulders will make. Keep your head high and your chest out and you’ll be amazed at how different your body language can be. Slouching may be de rigueur for the computer set, but we all know our posture needs improvement. In fact, good posture can lift your whole mood and give you an energy boost. Plus, opening up that lung box can help ease your breathing and keep you from panicking. Just the thing for pretending you don’t want to hide under your desk.
Trick #2: Be Present
Don’t go flying for the exits the second the company’s town hall meeting or networking coffee klatch moves to “talk to your neighbor” phase. Instead, try not to fidget, make eye contact with your potential new friend, and start up a conversation. Making eye contact can be hard for some people, but if you can’t look someone right in the eyeballs, try their eyebrows, or nose. Try to not look past the person, as they’ll take that as a sign you’re scanning the room for someone more interesting to talk to. Instead, try to engage, not just wait for your turn to speak. Keep your focus laser beamed onto the conversation you’re having right this second.
Trick #3: Slow and Low
We’re a culture that’s fast and loud, but when you’re trying to make an impression on another person, speaking slowly and allowing for natural pauses is regular human stuff. You don’t want to scare others off by being too hard to understand. Take time with your thoughts and in turn, you won’t “say the wrong thing.” Keep things simple and you’ll avoid misunderstandings and faux pas. Don’t neglect silences, as they show you’re not trying to commandeer the conversation.
Trick #4: Go with What You Know
We’re all more confident when we talk about something we’re knowledgeable about. Whether it’s a favorite hobby, your field of expertise at work, or maybe just simple trivia (how about that local sports team?) it’s always easier to bluff a confident demeanor when you know what the heck is going on. Unsure of the topic at hand? Try asking the other person how they feel about something they might be interested in. Plus, you won’t take over the conversation gushing about one thing for 20 minutes. Share the time and learn a thing or two as well.
Trick #5: Smile
There’s a reason why politicians smile while they’re campaigning: It looks really confident. When you’re shaking someone’s hand, give them a smile! It can be just the inviting look to spur on further conversation. Plus, a smile conveys more than just happiness — studies show it can also tell others you’re professional and successful. As long as you give those pearly whites a good brushing after the complimentary spinach dip, there’s no reason why a smile can’t fake it till you make it.
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