Recently I organized a promotional photo contest. Among the selections an image was titled ‘Confidence’. Overwhelmingly that photograph was chosen and ultimately became the winner. This made me stop and think about how most of us are influenced by the air of confidence.
Look around you; think about it. What is it that makes you want to emulate someone else? More than likely you are drawn to people who project confidence. Would you apply the principles gained at a conference or training session if the spokesperson didn't impress you? When you attend a function is it the individual that meekly offers their hand to you that you wish to befriend or do you seek out the recognized leaders in the group? Of course, you should introduce yourself to all types of people, but how do you draw them to you? Confidence is the key!
How do you reach the point where you too possess the confidence that causes others to actively seek you out? There is a fine line between success and mediocrity and confidence can serve to bridge that gap.
So how do you develop your confidence? Knowing everything about your product or service certainly helps, but waiting until you ‘know it all’ can cost you valuable business building time. Begin with the basics. Practice. Yes the simple act of standing in front of a mirror and practicing what you want to say will allow you to improve your speaking ability.
Alternately, if you happen not to “know everything about your product or service" an excellent option is to show a sincere interest in the other person's area of expertise. This will typically serve as a great icebreaker and make them more comfortable and sympathetic to your points when you get around to them.
Once you are comfortable with what you have to say it is time to begin looking in the mirror at how you present yourself. Take a good look. Is the person looking back at you someone you would like to get to know? How are you standing? Are you standing up straight and tall or are you just standing there looking back at yourself? Pull those shoulders back, think and act positively.
You have certainly heard it said, ‘Dress for success’. The style you dress in can either enhance your feeling of confidence or it can detract from it. When you wear clothes that are wrinkled and the wrong size you tell the world you are lazy, unsure of yourself and generally to be avoided. However, just the opposite is true of the individual that is well dressed, neatly pressed and groomed. You don't have to wear Armani suits or fine jewelry, just dress in a neat, clean, attractive fashion. Ladies, that mini-skirt or suit that is just the teensiest small in the obvious places is not the way to portray your winning personality. Some of the best dressed women I have ever seen were office assistants in Santiago, the capital of Chile. None of them had much money nor were they dressed in expensive clothes, but they all fit trim figures into tastefully chosen clothes. After 30 years I still remember them.
Now that you have the posture and the right outfit you need to look at your unspoken language. Body language is the subtle art of communicating without speaking. What is your body language communicating to others? Are you telling them with the look in your eye or the way your posture that you are worth knowing? If not, I have a couple of simple suggestions for you.
Always look the person you are speaking to directly in the eyes. This tells them that you believe in what you are saying and that you respect them. Another skill you might develop is the ability to create a connection by the simple act of conforming posture. As an illustration; if the person you desire to speak with is sitting with their right leg over their left, you do exactly the same. Allow them to become comfortable in that position and then ever so subtly switch your position. If they follow suit they are unconsciously bringing themselves into agreement with you. If they don't, switch back to their position and try again.
There are numerous reference materials on the art of body language. I urge you to incorporate at least a few of these methods into your daily communication.
These simple practices will aid you in developing the confidence you desire. An air of confidence is not something that most of us are born with. It is a talent that successful people have learned and aptly utilize every day. Practice and begin developing your confidence with these simple techniques; then, go forth and win friends and influence people!
© Copyright 2005 Ginger Marks Ginger Marks is the founder of DocUmeant, Your writing assistant. For more information, visit her website at http://www.documeant.net. She is also the Copy Editor for Ladies First Magazine. Ladies First Magazine online is your first stop for business articles, profiles and resources for and by female entrepreneurs, http://www.ladiesfirstmag.biz.