Whether you want to excel in your career, have a voice in the boardroom, avoid office politics or go through a smooth career transition, the one factor that will help you achieve all these successfully is confidence.
Unfortunately though, sometimes women who are confident can be misinterpreted as arrogant or cocky as there is a fine line between the two and for many women this can prevent them from speaking up or showing initiative so as not to be viewed in a negative way.
You shouldn’t have to worry about how you’re interpreted when you are confident because at the end of the day it’s the other person/s problem or issue if they choose to see you in a negative light not yours (but that’s a whole different blog post).
So below I’ve come up with my own personal tips on how to be the confident woman that you are (and proud of it) without looking arrogant or cocky. All these tips I have personally used myself and they worked!!
Be sure to walk with a straight spine, shoulders back and head held high, this simple tip will immediately convey to those around you that you are a confident successful woman who has it all held together. Doesn’t always mean that you are these things but the quickest way to start believing it is by acting it and eventually it will come naturally to you. Also, when you have a straight back and chin up, you will automatically speak in a clearer manner. You try talking when your posture is hunched and head facing downward, you won’t sound the same and it will be harder for people to understand you.
Be well groomed
As superficial as it sounds this is an important one and may I stress it’s not about looks at all. It’s about looking the part and we want to appear confident and successful not frazzled and defeated. It’s as simple as your clothes being clean and pressed, shoes shined, no ladder in your stockings, wearing appropriate clothes for the industry you’re in and position you hold. Hair clean and neatly styled or if you don’t have the time, pull it back into a ponytail. This isn’t a beauty contest, it’s about you (and others) having confidence in yourself, you are capable. I’m not saying that this alone is enough, of course you need to have experience and expertise to go with it (more on that later) but that experience and expertise will be conveyed more successfully when you are also well groomed.
Speak at an acceptable speed (not too fast, not too slow) and be sure to speak up, you want to be heard. Practice by getting another person to stand at the far end of the room to ensure that you are speaking up or even record yourself on your phone and hear how you sound (cringey I know) but a very good indicator at not only whether you’re loud enough but also the speed at which you speak.
Just state what you want to say and leave it at that, be concise and to the point. If there is silence from your audience don’t try to fill it in by waffling (which is a very natural thing to do but just try not to, practice makes perfect). Let the silence be, it may seem to last forever but really is just usually a few seconds. This may be because your audience are gathering their thoughts or letting what you just said sink in. If you do feel really uncomfortable then simply ask if there are any questions or for any feedback.
Look people in the eye and smile while you’re speaking
By not meeting people’s eyes can make you come across as having something to hide or that you don’t really believe what you are saying.
Practice what you want to say in front of the mirror
This is a straightforward one but better yet as briefly mentioned before, video record yourself instead so that when you play it back you can observe your posture, body language etc and then if need be improve accordingly.
Be sure to have all your points thought out and the correct information before you address anyone.
A trait that goes hand in hand with confidence is knowledge. Knowing what you are talking about is key in helping you be and look confident. When you want to address your manager, staff, colleagues or a potential client, ensure that you know what you want to say and how you’re going to say it before you go for it. Have your facts straight and if possible, have answers prepared for possible questions or doubts the person or persons you are addressing may have. An example is a sales person, the best sales people are the ones that know their product inside out and who also know their competitors product just as well. So when they go in to see a potential client they’ll now what to say and be able to address any questions or doubts they may have. By knowing what you are talking about will automatically make you look confident without you even trying. But of course it is possible that people will not always agree with what you’re saying which brings me to my next tip.
Acknowledge and accept that people will not always agree with you.
Just because you are and appear confident doesn’t mean that others will always agree with you and that’s ok. It’s how you deal with it that matters. Simply acknowledge that while you still stand by your thoughts, you understand that they don’t agree. Well done you!
So there you have it, tried and true tips to being confident and not arrogant. As I’ve said before, if after using these tips people still view you in the negative, then it’s most likely more about them than it is about you.
I would love to know if you already use any of these tips or if you have others that work for you. Please include them in the comments below.
Till next time