Which of these ten tips do you already do consistently? Which do you need to start doing?
As a young child, I was outgoing, confident, and friendly. I would approach strangers without a second thought (much to my parents’ dismay), boss my friends and siblings around, easily make new friends on the playground, and join every speech contest, play, talent show, dance performance, and singing competition I could.
As I edged out of elementary school and into my teen years though, my confidence and my body language began to collapse. This is not uncommon, especially for girls, as body language expert Amy Cuddy mentioned in an interview with Susan Cain. Many teens grow out of their awkward, anxious stages and regain confidence as they near adulthood. For me though, I got smaller and smaller.
The wonderful and terrible thing about body language is that it creates a feedback loop. The way you hold and present yourself sends a message to others and they respond accordingly. Let’s say you project that you’re shy or nervous or unsure of yourself… people then treat you as if that’s true. If it happens frequently, the message gets reinforced and you start to believe that you are a shy or nervous or unsure person, instead of someone who occasionally feels that way as happens to everyone. Additionally, the way you hold and present yourself also sends a message directly to your very own brain. Before long, you define yourself in terms of feelings and behavior, instead of in terms of aspirational values and beliefs.
This feedback loop also applies to confidence. If you believe you have value, even if you’re feeling shy or nervous or unsure, you can present yourself with confidence. You send a totally different message. People treat you as if you are confident and valuable, and you send that message to your brain as well. Eventually you will look and feel more confident.
Communicating with respectful confidence — not arrogance or dogmatism, but reality-based confidence—improves your ability to connect with others, get your point across, and achieve success. It’s good for you — good for your mental health, your relationships, and your career.
Here are ten ways you can communicate confidence nonverbally to others and your own brain, in…