Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Learn how to project confidence

A good article to learn from and to forward to your kids.

When discussing face-to-face interactions, confidence -- not power -- may be the ultimate aphrodisiac or relationship-builder because of the way it so smoothly puts others at ease, often without them even knowing it.

When people perceive confidence in another person, it is rarely because the person projecting confidence is deliberately drawing attention to himself by, for example, talking about himself in some fashion. Gloating is usually perceived as arrogance , not confidence. Rather, a confident person feels no need to assert himself or his qualities unnecessarily; he projects confidence by directing his focus and attention outward.

This is the impression we are going for in the following four steps on how to project confidence. These steps were designed to be used in situations that demand you to appear confident, such as during a job interview, when giving a presentation at work or when you’re simply approaching a woman.

step 1

Spruce up your appearance

Go beyond simply being presentable. Take the necessary steps to make yourself feel like you look completely tip-top for the occasion -- and leave no room for feeling self-conscious about something, such as pit odor, that could throw you off.

Situations that demand you to project confidence are never the best times to take chances with how you look. This is an instance in which the odds are not justified by the potential payoff. Confidence does not overtly draw attention to itself, but this is precisely what would happen if you gamble on your appearance.

Bottom line: Craft your appearance so that, once you leave home, you never think about it again and are able to fully project confidence.

step 2

Keep your hands below "the line"

How many people project confidence while they incessantly fidget? This is the kind of superfluous behavior that draws negative attention to you.

To keep this unstrung fidgeting to a minimum, establish an invisible line somewhere around your torso and keep your hands below it. The line shouldn't be so low that you have to act unnatural; the point is to prevent yourself from touching your face, fiddling with your tie or exhibiting other evidence of nervousness.

Be careful not to become too preoccupied with remaining vigilant about this line. The point is to appear relaxed and unaffected, not rigid or self-conscious. If it means folding your hands together, do it -- unless it feels emasculating.

Bottom line: Keeping your hands tied down contributes to a calm, cool and collected poise.

step 3

Establish a focal point

Making eye contact is an excellent way to project confidence, but you might be uncomfortable doing so. When you speak or listen to another person, choose a spot on their face to focus on, somewhere near their eyes. You want to mimic looking in their eyes and appear to do it with consistency, without actually doing so. This point can be the eyebrows or between the eyes.

We all know that an inability to look someone in the eye projects a variety of negative responses -- namely distrust -- and we also know that looking someone too intensely in the eye can inspire a bit of creepiness . You want to strike a balance between being unafraid to look others square in the eye and being aware that overdoing it will garner absolutely no favors.

Bottom line: Our eyes transmit a myriad of emotions and intentions, sometimes when we're not aware of it. The goal here is to try to control those transmissions.

step 4

Stand by what you say

As soon as you make a declaration, internally resolve to stand by it. In other words, when the period appears at the end of your statement, cut yourself off from making any additions, amendments, corrections, or qualifying conditions. Self-assured people project confidence when their statements are said with conviction.

There is a fine line between conviction and stubbornness, so this shouldn't be taken to mean that you will defend whatever you say to the death . There are plenty of virtues in keeping an open mind, however, few things can eliminate our efforts to project confidence like waffling on the things we say, whether through backtracking, succumbing to outside disagreements, or simply buckling to your own lack of confidence. After speaking, you do not want to start humming and hawing and appearing generally indecisive, unless your goal is to rob yourself of credibility. In that case, congratulations -- you've achieved that dubious goal.

Bottom line: At the very least, this step will teach you to be discreet about the kinds of things that fly out of your mouth.

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