As anyone who's spent any time in the business world knows, having confidence is a huge part of success. If you don't believe in yourself and your company so much that it oozes out of your pores, you'll never get the backing you need to get off the ground.
And unfortunately, you have a very short timespan to assert your fortitude. Research published in Cortex found that as early as 200 milliseconds after a person starts speaking, the listener has already begun to classify him as confident or not.
For those who struggle with their self-assuredness, that might be frightening. How can you ever persuade others to believe in you if you lack confidence? The trick is to remember that it's a skill you can learn if you're willing to take the necessary steps.
Here are seven tips to help you be more confident:
1. Stand up straight.
While it may have been annoying to have your mother constantly tell you to "sit up straight" when you were a kid, research shows that Mother knows best. A study from the University of Auckland found that having better posture helps you maintain self-esteem and a positive attitude.
Just as standing up straight signals composure to others, simply rolling your shoulders back and having your head held high tells your brain that you're in control. This helps you remain cool and collected when you're faced with difficult situations that otherwise might make you second-guess yourself.
2. Dress for success.
There's an old saying that you should dress for the job you want, not the one you have. The idea is that your appearance says a lot about your personal self-worth. If you can't take the time to present yourself properly, it shows a lack of respect for both you and those you're interacting with.
That doesn't necessarily mean you have to wear a three-piece suit to work every day, just that how you dress sends a message. Being unkempt or scruffy makes you seem less put together.
Also, know that the colors you choose to wear can speak volumes. A survey by the online clothing retailer Buytshirtsonline found that black is associated with confidence and intelligence, while red makes people think you're more likely to be arrogant or ignorant. Take that into consideration when you're picking out your power outfit.
3. Learn how to take a compliment.
For many of us, receiving a face-to-face compliment can be uncomfortable. While you appreciate the praise, you don't want your response to seem egotistical or conceited. However, brushing the compliment off or trying to pass it on to someone else doesn't help you in the long run.
Always be gracious when someone appreciates your hard work. Then take a moment to let the compliment sink in. Consider the source and what the words mean coming from that particular person. This will help you internalize the value that's being placed on your strengths and help you be more confident in your abilities.
4. Celebrate others' victories.
Along the same lines, a truly confident leader also needs to know when to step aside and give others the recognition they deserve. Celebrating other team members' hard work and accomplishments makes everyone stronger.
Never think that only one person can stand out or that if someone else is accomplishing something, it takes away from you. Your personal achievements will stand on their own, and nothing can devalue them but your own mind.
5. Seek out feedback.
One of the biggest barriers to confidence is self-doubt. You worry about the choices you make regarding your business, your leadership skills, and much more. One of the few ways to quell those uncertainties is to ask others for feedback.
By getting input from those you trust about your ideas and performance as a leader, you can reinforce what you're doing right. And if there are areas that need improvement, you can focus on finding ways to improve. That allows you to be the best businessperson you can be.
6. Surround yourself with the right people.
Entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn left us with an interesting perspective on self-improvement. He said that, based on the law of averages, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
This is especially important for an entrepreneur starting your business. There will be countless hours when it's just you and the small team you've assembled to get things going. If you're not with the right people, it'll start to affect you. As a serial entrepreneur, I've learned this. So when I launched my newest company, Pluto TV, I was very careful choosing who'd be involved. I needed people who would challenge and push me while keeping my optimism up.
If you surround yourself with self-assured, ambitious individuals, you in turn will be more confident. The idea is that those around you influence your mood and perception of the world. Spend your time with positive people who have the traits you'd like to exhibit, and it'll rub off on you.
7. Mean what you say.
It's a lot easier to speak with conviction than to act with it. You can go on and on about your vision and how much you believe in it. But unless what you do reflects those words, there's little value in them. Be faithful to your mission by tying every decision and action back to it.
This will show everyone how confident you are in both your company and your ability to make it a success. Not to mention, when someone says, "Why should I believe and invest in your company?" you can respond with a long list of ways you're walking the walk, instead of just talking the talk.
If being self-assured doesn't come naturally to you, it might seem impossible to be more confident. But the truth is that by simply making a few small changes in how you act and view yourself, you'll start exuding tenacity. And before you know it, there will be no stopping you or your business.
What are some more ways to be more confident? Share in the comments below!