Like in almost all areas of life, you want to convey how confident you are to those around you. In relationships, you’ll want to have healthy self-esteem because that will help improve your relationship as a whole. In business, if you have great ideas, you need to know how to communicate them and project them with confidence.
Some challenges that women specifically face in the workplace are bad speech habits that have been conditioned in us over the years. Even if we aren’t consciously aware of it, these tendencies can potentially damage our confidence levels, which can ultimately negatively impact how we’re perceived by our coworkers.
“Body language is a great way to assert control and communicate strength and power, but it can also tell the opposite story.” While far more subconscious than anything else, your body language can have a huge impact on how you’re viewed by others, particularly in a professional setting.
Next time you’re in the office, notice how you’re carrying and expressing yourself to others. Watch out for these subliminal body movements and learn how to adjust yourself so that you can convey nothing but confidence.
- Crossed arms
- While crossing your arms is usually out of habit, your boss may see this as cynical, distrustful and sometimes even angry. Instead, stand with your arms straight down by your side to show openness and confidence to those around you.
- Seeming disinterested
- Nonverbal communication actually speaks very loudly! The way that your body is angled toward someone tells a lot; when engaging in conversation, you want to have your whole body angled toward them to show that you’re listening and actively engaged in what they’re saying. If angled away from them, it shows disinterest.
- In order to avoid not seeming distracted, subtly mimic their gestures and nod for reassurance.
- Nervous gestures
- I’m guilty of these myself and I know that it’s a habit I must break. These gestures are motions that you do when you’re bored or just nervous, including touching your hair, touching your face, biting your nails and shaking your leg/foot.
- Eye contact
- Maintaining eye contact shows that you’re confident and certain. Eye contact is one of the most important nonverbal gestures to show that your respect, appreciation and interest.
- I love to smile! Smiling not only makes us feel better and more confident, but it makes those around us feel comfortable with us. If you don’t already, make a habit of smiling at the beginning and end of every conversation you have.
- A handshake is an example of appropriate touch in the workplace. When you have a strong handshake, there’s a sense of confidence and trustworthiness.
With social media and smart phones becoming so predominant in our lives, face-to-face communication is becoming rare, so it’s crucial to make the most out of it when it does occur. Spoken communication also has the ability to be misconstrued to emit lack of authority and low confidence, so your nonverbals can help make up for that.
It’s not about “acting like a man” or being aggressive, it’s all about tapping into your inner courage and channeling it for more confident communication.
Body language is just as valuable as verbal communication and it’s important to understand that your subtle gestures and motions can impact the way others see you. Body language can make or break how you’re seen in a professional atmosphere.
Phrases to Avoid to Sound Confident
If you want to sound more confident, you’ll also have to eliminate some words from your vocabulary. Here’s a few to look out for:
- “I can’t”
- This phrase sacrifices control over your own actions. “Can’t” means that you don’t have a particular skill to do something, which in most cases, isn’t true. Usually when someone says this phrase they really mean that they don’t want to do something.
- “I can’t” implies fear of failure or lack of your will to try, so it ultimately limits you and allows fear to win. In the workplace and in all areas of life, you want to try and give something your all before deciding you “cant” do it.
- Using this word can damage your credibility. “I’m just following up on…” or “I just wanted to check in,” can be code for “Sorry for bugging you” and “Sorry for taking up your time.” To avoid feeling like we’re asking for too much we use this word. It’s not a good idea to use this word too often in the workplace.
- “I’m no expert, but…”
- Because some women feel they’re treated differently than men in professional settings, we come up with qualifiers in order to avoid sounding arrogant or to cover up our fear of being wrong. Saying “I’m no expert, but…” undermines your position before you even had the chance to state your opinion.
- “What if we tried…?”
- It’s a good idea to state your ideas and be straightforward instead of asking them in the form of a question. Masking your ideas as questions is a way of polling, which indicates that you don’t think your ideas are valid unless someone else thinks so.
There are so many ways to feel more confident in the workplace and convey that to those around you. Be careful of subtle language cues that can belittle people’s perceptions of you, your confidence and professionalism. By paying close attention to your body language and word choice, you can sound more confident every single day!