We could all use a confidence booster. When dealing with clientele, colleagues, or superiors, pretty much everyone struggles from time to time with their confidence. While we hope that our words and intentions will win out in the end, presentation is important in the professional world. If we expect others to have confidence in us — our business, our ideas, our input — we need to display confidence in ourselves.
Even if you have that confidence, there are subtle elements to professional confidence that don’t have to do with your thoughts and feeling about what you’re saying. No, many important keys to boosting your confidence and professional self-improvement are in learning good habits and unlearning the bad ones.
6 Self-Improvement Tips for Professional Confidence
Practice Positive Self-Talk
No, it’s not as cheesy as it sounds. Too many times we listen to the voices in our heads that aren’t confident. Sometimes we don’t even realize we’re being self-deprecating, let alone realize that we’re damaging our confidence. Remember that you’re likely harder on yourself than anyone else will be. When you look in the mirror, psych yourself up. You have good ideas, you have the ability, you can. Work on building up your self-confidence. It’ll spill over into the professional world.
Identify Your Nervous Habits
Nail biting, neck rubbing, head scratching, foot tapping. Nervous ticks and twitches. Do you have bad habits when you’re nervous? Too often we don’t even realize we’re doing it. In order to portray the utmost confidence, we have to identify and eliminate our nervous habits. It all starts with a little extra self-awareness. Be intentional about cutting out all those nervous quirks.
Adjust How You Speak
Are you speaking confidently? How you talk (and not necessarily your actual voice) can be factors in whether or not you present yourself with strong professional confidence. As with other nervous habits, identify silence-fillers that many of us use when we speak. “Like” and “um” are fairly common. Be comfortable with beats of silence and curb the need to fill every second with words.
Also pay attention to your inflection. Do you sound like you’re asking questions at the end of sentences because your inflection goes up? Alter your tone. Speak loudly and clearly and at lower tones to appear more confident, particularly in public speaking.
Mind Your Posture
Though many of us have been told by our mothers to “stand up straight,” not everyone has carried on habits of good posture. Do you carry yourself well with a straight, confident stance? Avoid slumping your shoulders or shrinking back. Good posture makes a good impression.
Nervous people do things too fast. They move too quickly and speak too quickly. Being perceived as inactive is seen as a vulnerability or a threat. Let go of empty spaces and slow down. Not only will you appear more confident, but you’ll seem less on the offensive and more willing to engage in a professional dialogue.
In the immortal words of renowned fashion designer Tom Ford, “Dressing well is a form of good manners.” Whether your business adheres to more traditional views of business attire or follows a business casual model, dressing well is an important part of professional confidence. Make sure, first of all, that your clothes are clean and that they fit. Have suits and pants tailored, wrinkles pressed, and put your best foot forward. While we’d like to say looks don’t matter...looks matter.
Do you have any great tips for boosting your professional confidence? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.