Focus on the positives
“Try to focus on your skills and talents as much as possible,” Jane says. “Make a list of all your good qualities and don’t dwell on what you perceive as your weaknesses. Building self esteem is about finding out what your strengths are and then developing and building on them. Sometimes, finding a mentor, either within or outside your organisation, can be really helpful in giving you a broader perspective on both your qualities and career.”
Stand up and be counted
“When you do something well or achieve something, acknowledge it and give yourself praise, even if is just a small achievement,” Jane suggests. “Also, make sure that your boss knows about any good work that you’ve done.”
Act with confidence
Jane’s last word of advice is to be aware of the way you present yourself to others, and the signals that your body language is sending out. “Think about your posture. Stand up straight, and when you move around a room, move with purpose.”
Alter your body language
If you hunch a lot and tend to drag your feet when you walk, consider adopting a more confidence-boosting stance – stand tall with your shoulders back, lift your chin slightly, and move briskly with a spring in your step.
Want to project confidence for that big meeting? First, get into the right mind-set. Think of a past achievement that fills you with pride (it doesn’t matter whether it’s work-related or not). Now try to recall how good and powerful you felt at that moment. If you can “turn on” this same emotion every time you walk into the boardroom or the boss’ office, you will feel more empowered, and before long you’ll be oozing self-confidence.
Make eye contact
Strong eye contact is a good indicator of confidence. It helps to establish a connection between two people, and it communicates a sense of honesty, sincerity and trust. Merely glancing at others, on the other hand, or looking all over the place during a conversation indicates shiftiness, a lack of confidence, and low self-esteem. The next time you’re in a discussion with your co-worker, client or boss, look into their eyes and try to hold their gaze for a few seconds. Repeat this move until you feel like you’re in control of the conversation. The more you do it the easier it becomes.
Mind your manners
Well-mannered people are often perceived as confident and self-assured. When you treat your co-workers and bosses with respect, you earn their admiration, and they’re likely to treat you with respect, too. Having good manners encompasses many things, from saying “please”, thank you” and “good morning”, to knowing when to say “I’m sorry”, and expressing concern for others. It also means not gossiping, being able to keep confidential information a secret, and always considering others’ feelings and opinions.
It’s in the way you talk
Sounding confident is a skill, but it’s one that anyone can easily learn. First of all, it’s important to speak slowly and clearly – speaking too fast or mumbling indicates that you’re not sure about what you’re saying. Second, don’t articulate your statements as questions – if you want to share a thought, just tell it like it is and make sure that it sounds definitive. Third, avoid using filler phrases like “well”, “like”, “okay” and “you know”, or caveats like “This is just my opinion”, as these can disrupt a confident tone.