Job Interviews can be very stressful. Your resume has probably been filtered from hundreds of applicants and successfully passed a few sets of scrutinizing eyes before you get the awaited interview call.
But now what? You have the goods, you know the subject matter but there is still something missing, something that you cannot lay your finger on…
That thing is confidence. While most would argue that as long as you know what you are talking about (i.e. subject matter), you should have the confidence, the truth is that knowledge is just one of the factors that confidence is dependent on.
Personality development is a science, an art, but confidence is a state of mind. There is a lot you can do externally to look confident and create a good impression, but for you to be able to project confidence you have to believe it inside.
It’s hard to explain how or why, but there are some who are born confident (let’s call them BC). You may have come across BCs who will take on the hardest of tasks and face the most uncertain situations feeling confident that they will succeed. What happens to a lot of such people?
If you said, ‘they fail’ think again… a lot of times other people are surprised how these BCs succeed at must-fail situations. And to tell you the truth, sometimes even they are themselves amazed at the results. Did you spot the trick here???
We’ll get to the trick in a bit. Let’s first figure out where we may need this elusive confidence – Going for a job interview, negotiating for a raise, asking that cute guy out to lunch, impressing the hottest girl in class, talking to a group of people… in short, you need it everywhere.
So if you are like me and not one of the blessed BCs, what do you do?
Here’s the trick – you FAKE it. Yes, you read it right – fake it until you make it. And it won’t take very long. The great thing about confidence is that it comes to those who seek – the challenge is not being scared to want it.
Here are some good tips from the experts, confident experts –
Sit straight: I must have heard that at least once every day when at school. Sitting erect and not slouching displays a sense of alertness and interest.
Eye contact: Look at the person but don’t stare. What’s the difference – not continuously gazing and maintaining cordial facial expressions. If it gets uncomfortable, it’s too much.
Nod: A gentle shake of the head lets everyone know that you are attentive.
No twitching / fiddling: Don’t play with your fingers, hair, dress or objects around you. Confidence means being comfortable with your surrounding – do you fidget when you are all alone in your room? No, right.
Be open: A confident person has strong beliefs which are open to suggestions and change if needed. Keeping your arms crossed across your chest or your legs tightly crossed (unless in a short skirt) is viewed as characteristics of a ‘closed person’.
“I look great” can work wonders.
Try this – look at yourself in the mirror and say these words ten times “I look great!”
Sharp dressing: There is a reason for not wearing night clothes to work. What you wear affects how you feel and makes a statement about your personality to others.
Business attire (formal shirt, trousers, suits) show that a person means business even before the verbal communication begins.
Shorts and a t-shirt create a casual environment, one of laziness and relaxation.
The condition of the clothing makes a big impression too. Creased business attire shows inefficiency and non-competence while a neat, well-ironed t-shirt draws respect.
Make up: Simple is effective but if you need to hide those dark circles and spruce up with a little lipstick – do it.
Making good eye contact is very important and making your eyes talk right helps to a great extent. Use suitable makeup for well defined eyes.
Lip color is another important part of makeup. A heavy color indicates flamboyancy so use this to make an impression you really want to create.
Manicures and pedicures: They are always advised and in any event, keeping those nails groomed says, “I take myself seriously, you should too”.
Waxing yourself properly always creates a positive impression.
Smelling good: It builds your confidence and makes you pleasant company to have. Be careful not to overdo it.
Crowning glory: The way you style your hair speaks volumes about your mood. Un-kept hair can easily undo all other efforts you take to show confidence. Well brushed, neat tresses can boost your confidence manifold.
Words are all I have, to …
You can complete that sentence in any way you want, it depends on what words you use.
If you are nervous, your words will show it first. It is far easier to give the illusion of confidence through your attire and body language, but once you start talking, you have to keep your guards on high alert.
Talk slowly: This is the most common pitfall for most people. When we are nervous we talk very fast hoping that others will not hear our under-confident words.
Stammering / stuttering: These come in as fillers as we hope to find the right word during our ummms and uhhhs. Use pauses effectively to sort out your thoughts; they work much better.
You know…: “You know what I mean”, “You get my point” are some of the many affirmations we seek out in our speech when we are not confident of what we are saying – discard them.
Just like you have seen how creating an illusion or faking certain things can actually transform into you really feeling confident, it works the same way for an important event.
You want to ask that person out on a date? Picture success. Close your eyes, visualize how you will confidently walk up to the person, use confident impressive words, smile and display positive body language, take control of the conversation and sweetly ask the person out.
Believe me – chances are that it will happen that way!
So you aren’t a BC (that’s born confident, in case you forgot) but you don’t need to be. Want it, practice it, and you will transform into a confident person who can take charge of any situation!
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