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How to Fake Confidence (and Eventually Develop It for Real)

Topics: Career Advice
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Confidence can help you close a deal, make a sale, or land the job of your dreams. But, it doesn’t necessarily come naturally to all of us, especially at the beginning of our careers or during a big transition.

The good news is that you can appear more confident — and eventually cultivate actual confidence — by “faking it till you make it.” These quick tips can help you get started.

1. Watch Your Language

No, I don’t mean cursing. I’m talking about the kind of strong language that’s actually good for your career. Practice using confident words, and dropping the less-than-confident ones. Purge your speech of those “ums” and ahs” that dilute your message and make you seem less powerful. Saying “I’m sorry…” before you make a statement or provide a counterargument isn’t a very confident way to express your thoughts. Don’t apologize!

2. Straighten Up

When you hear the phrase “shrinking violet,” you get the visual impression of a person’s body hunched over as they make themselves small. Not a very powerful image, right? Instead of shrinking, work at keeping your posture strong and tall. Sit up, push your shoulders back, and keep your chin held high. Your back will thank you for better posture (as will your circulation, shoulders and joints) and you’ll instantly feel more confident, as well.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

3. Dress the Part

Yes, they say “dress for the job you want” but you should also wear what makes you feel good and confident, too. Wear your “kick-ass heels” when you need extra confidence. Don that awesome jacket that everyone compliments you on. Put on that shade of lipstick that makes you feel like a warrior. Feeling good about how you look will make you feel good about how you are.

4. Don’t Hesitate

Yes, you’re afraid, but holding back will do exactly nothing for your career. Leave the safe path, and take some chances. Speak up in meetings, ask for a raise or promotion, volunteer for projects that will force you to stretch and learn new skills. Embrace being a little uncomfortable.

5. Know Your Value

Getting your confidence running in high gear is often a matter of knowing how awesome you are at your job, and how much value you’re bringing to the company (and we do mean the big, green, $$$ value). If you need confidence to ace that interview for a job, or negotiate a raise during your annual review, go into that meeting knowing exactly what you’re worth. Take PayScale’s Salary Survey to see exactly what someone with your experience, in your city, at your job should be paid.

Don’t worry. You got this.

Tell Us What You Think

What are your best tricks to feel more confident? Share your tips in the comments or come talk to us on Twitter.

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