5 Effortless Ways to Appear More Confident, Even When You're Struggling

How confident would you say you are? Here's a second question: How confident would you say you look?

Confidence is an incredibly important skill because research tells us that at work, people who come across as more confident are also perceived to be more competent. They're more likely to be noticed and considered for promotion or leadership opportunities. But the thing with confidence is it's not just how you feel. Actually, a really large part of it is also how you look and how you appear to others. This is why I asked you that second question.

In this article, I'm going to share with you five research-backed and effortless tricks to help you look more confident in how you present yourself, which will make you appear more confident to others and, ultimately, make you feel more confident and powerful at work.

Some people say that confidence is something you're either born with or you don't have at all, but that's just not true. Confidence is a skill that can be learned, and one aspect of this skill is how confident you truly feel. 

Studies show that confidence increases productivity and encourages risk-taking, which is essential for career advancement. Confident people are also more likely to secure a promotion than those who are doing the work but aren't perceived as confident.

The Power of Appearing Confident

Here's where the second part of the equation comes in. It's not just about how confident you feel; it's also about how confident you appear. In fact, appearing confident is probably even more important than feeling confident. Even if you feel confident, if you come across as timid, it won't project the confidence needed to get you noticed.

Five Research-Backed Tricks to Exude Confidence

1. Posture

When you're feeling insecure, your body naturally takes on a position of low power; you feel like shrinking, and your body does too. The first tip is to make sure that you have a tall and powerful posture. Here's how you can get started:

  • Stand up as tall as you can.
  • Pull your shoulder blades down and back.
  • Lift your chin and look straight ahead.

A 2010 study by researchers from Harvard and Columbia universities found that closed body language like slouching lowers testosterone, raises cortisol (the stress hormone), and makes you feel less powerful. Open body language, as described, does the opposite and makes you exude confidence, authority, and poise.

2. Smile More

Studies have shown that smiling can make you happier and immediately uplift your mood. Smiling activates the muscles in your face that release endorphins, the happy hormones. Smiling also conveys confidence, making you appear friendly, approachable, and composed.

3. Speak Slowly and Clearly

Speaking too fast reflects nerves, insecurity, and a lack of self-control. Speaking in a controlled, relaxed, and composed manner, with strategic pauses when appropriate, makes people see you as confident and helps them follow what you're saying.

4. Walk with Confidence

Your walk can project confidence. Walking faster leads to a perception of higher status. If you're a slow walker, consider adjusting your pace and stride. Walking with slightly longer steps shows purpose and confidence.

5. Eye Contact

Strong eye contact is the single greatest indicator of confidence. It establishes a connection, shows sincerity, and projects self-esteem, assertiveness, and confidence. Effective use of eye contact can also make you appear more likable, attractive, trustworthy, and memorable.

By incorporating these five research-backed and effortless tricks into your daily routine, you can exude self-assuredness and project confidence, ultimately enhancing your professional competence. Remember, confidence is not a fixed trait – it's a dynamic skill that can be developed over time.

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