Confidence is not a fixed position which, once achieved, is permanently secured. It is a fluid mindset that constantly needs to be adjusted contingent upon the circumstance you happen to experience at any particular moment.
We can be confident in some aspects of our lives while being very insecure in others. For example, I have friends who are business professionals who can speak publicly in front of an audience of thousands of people, but experience anxiety on a “first date” in a quiet restaurant. This is a naturally occurring phenomenon that no one can escape; we simply cannot be comfortable with all things at all times.
As a result of societal pressure promoting the virtue of humility, the act of projecting your value and self-worth with confidence can be difficult. Unfortunately, if you’re not convinced of your value no one else will be convinced either.
Remember: you are the brand you’re selling, and an effective and confident delivery means everything. Use the following 6 tips as guide to achieve a balanced approach to confident interactions.
1. Always make eye contact. An insecure person will feel uneasy looking you in the eye, and an arrogant person will stare beyond you looking for the next captive audience that may prove to be more beneficial to their agenda. When you speak with someone, looking them in the eye projects confidence, attentiveness and assures them you have nothing to hide.
2. Don’t justify every action. If you've ever been in a group of people in which someone trips, bumps into someone or drops something it will usually be followed with a justification such as “I didn't see that, I must be tired” or “I've got so much on my mind, I’m not paying attention.” Confident people don’t need to justify their actions in this manner. Accidents happen, life goes on and excuses are unnecessary.
3. Don’t respond immediately to criticism. Confident people don’t need to aggressively defend themselves. If the criticism is constructive and accurate, they graciously accept and apply it. If it’s not they don’t let it bother them. Take the time to listen before you decide one way or another.
4. Don’t demand second opinions. Have you ever been witness to a verbal argument between two people in which at the conclusion of the argument, one of the participants asks you, “I was correct to say that, right?” Confident people don’t need second opinions that serve to justify their ego. They make their point and they stand by it without seeking approval of others.
5. Don’t constantly interrupt. In addition to being proper etiquette, confident people know that “talking over” someone doesn't make their argument more convincing. This habit projects arrogance and gives the impression you care more for your own voice than the opinions of others.
6. Don’t “One Up” your audience. Have you ever been in a group of people in which a person shares a story, and someone else feels compelled to immediately share a life event that’s “bigger and better”? Confident people have nothing to prove in this regard, and they understand the need to let others shine. In addition to appearing arrogant, does it really prove anything?
To have "bullet-proof" confidence is to have absolute faith and trust in your ability to accomplish a task successfully. Inhale confidence, exhale doubt and remember that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.