Ever find yourself at a bar, standing alone and wishing you could approach that cute girl?
Or maybe you're at a networking event and you really want to speak to a VIP, but you hesitate and eventually talk yourself out of it.
You think, what's the point? It won't go well. I'm not good enough.
Your biggest problem isn't that you're not good enough, it's that you don't know how to communicate with confidence.
In this article, I'm giving you 9 powerful ways to communicate with confidence and nail that first impression.
You'll discover how to:
- Practice Visualization
- Conduct A Mental “Double Check”
- Make Small Talk
- Master Your Personal Presentation
- Make Eye Contact
- Build Good Habits
- Master These Confidence Hacks
- Start Working Out
- Nail That First Impression
Communicate With Confidence Tip #1 Practice Visualization
You may think this is cheesy, but top athletes and performers use visualization to win Olympic events and perform at peak levels.
Visualizing in vivid detail is a great way to build motivation towards doing something you may find intimidating because you activate the same sensory and motor parts of the brain involved with the action you're visualizing.
Meaning that when you're visualizing, you're activating the parts of the brain as if you were ACTUALLY doing what you want to do.
So when you visualize communicating with confidence, your brain will trick you into ACTUALLY communicating with confidence.
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Tip #2 Conduct A “Mental Double Check”
When you feel the urge to approach someone, you may hear that inner-critic in your head that speaks up and tells you things about how you're not good enough or how the interaction will go wrong.
To convey confidence, you're going to have to control what is going on in your head. What goes on in your head is directly reflected in your verbal and nonverbal cues.
If you're distracted or nervous, you will find yourself fidgeting or using many “uhs” and “ums” when speaking.
To stay mindful and present, I recommend a practice called the “mental double-check.” I try to do this hourly each day or every few minutes if I'm speaking with someone.
Mental double checks are simply taking a moment to observe what is going on in your mind.
Change your story change your life
You'd be surprised about what you'll realize when you start mentally double-checking yourself.
You may find that that inner voice is beating yourself up over little things or causing self-doubt. Remember, the stories and narratives you tell yourself become who you are. To build your confidence, you have to master your story by gaining control over that inner voice.
Learning how to communicate with confidence takes time, energy, and effort. But it's essential to take the first step and begin identifying the types of stories you're telling yourself.
So set reminders every few hours to start to observe what is happening in your mind. Are you presently focused on something important, or is your mind adrift?
You can also make it a practice to do mental double checks when you're speaking to people. It's a great way to make sure you stay engaged with the person you're talking to, which is key when you're learning how to communicate with confidence.
If you double-check yourself and realize that your mind has wandered, don't beat yourself up about it. Just have a specific “Plan B” for this scenario.
The point is that to be “in control” of your mind, it's essential to stay present. Staying present means being in the moment versus ruminating about the laundry you have to do when you get home; or all the negative self-talk about how the person you're speaking with may be judging you.
Tip #3 Make Small Talk
As a communication coach, I always hear people complain about how small talk sucks, but guess what, guys? It's super important. Here's why:
When people make first impressions, they mainly look for two main characteristics that account for 80-90% of their impressions: trustworthiness and confidence. But trustworthiness is the most critical piece.
Most men make the mistake that they're so obsessed with showing power and confidence that they forget about the importance of trustworthiness.
Amy Cuddy, the Harvard social psychologist, recommends using small talk to build trust by genuinely trying to learn about someone else. It conveys trust and warmth.
Tip #4 Master Your Personal Presentation
Research has shown that clothing is another crucial factor when it comes to making first impressions.
But the most important thing to be aware of is your audience. How are people going to dress?
You don't want to be standing out like a sore thumb.
If you're going to an event, ask if there's a dress code. If it's a party, you can also ask the host what type of attire the guests will be wearing if you're unsure.
Here are some ways for you to make your appearance work for you:
- Get a great haircut – Research from Yale shows that ‘bad hair days' dramatically affect self-esteem and social insecurity.
- Pull your socks up – Sloppy socks are for little boys, not men. Walking around with messy clothes tells your brain that you are not a man who strives for high ideals or achieves excellence.
- Tuck in your shirt – Solid, put together, and you mean business. Tucking your shirt in sends the right messages.
- Shine your shoes – Looking down and seeing that perfect mirror shine reminds you that you live by the highest standards.
- Wet shave – Wet shaving with a metal razor gives you a closer, smoother shave, is better for your skin, and saves you about $300 a year over cartridge or electric razors. And it leaves you feeling powerful, stylish, and manly.
- Take care of your nails – Taking care of your nails isn't just for women. A gentleman's nails should be neatly filed short, cleaned, and buffed.
- Wear a watch – A good-looking timepiece makes you feel powerful and masculine. It can be a status symbol or a talking point.
Tip #5 Make Eye Contact
Since your goal is to make an effective first impression that conveys trust, one of the best ways to show that is to use eye contact.
It helps show someone that you're present and paying attention, thus making them feel important. Don't you hate when you're talking to someone, and they're glancing around the room or checking their phone?
Studies show that adults make eye contact between 30-60% of the time, but people should be making eye contact 60-70% of the time to create a sense of emotional connection which is what you're trying to build.
Start practicing your eye contact. If you don't feel comfortable doing it, here are a few tips:
- Lock both of your eyes on one eye of the other person if you feel uncomfortable having a direct gaze at both of their eyes.
- If you're still uncomfortable making direct eye contact, you can focus on one eyebrow of the other person; since it's close enough to their eyes, they'll assume you're looking in their eyes even though you aren't.
- Make eye contact a habit. You can do this by practicing making eye contact for a few seconds with strangers. The point is to make it a habit, so it becomes automatic.
Tip #6 Build Good Habits
Confidence for men is waning in this day and age. Expectations are high – whether in school, work, or in the bedroom. I get it; it can seem overwhelming at times.
But creating these 5 good habits will go a long way to boosting your ability to communicate with confidence:
- Comparison – We're surrounded by images of the so-called “perfect” man. He's a man with a perfect gym body. We see success stories involving guys achieving great things in their 20s while we're here still trying to figure out our own lives. Detox from social media.
- Change the way you look at yourself – Develop a support system with those closest to you. We're talking family, friends, and especially your significant other. Seek them out and ask them what makes you a fantastic guy.
- Get organized with micro-actions – Build confidence and momentum by accomplishing as many small tasks as you can each day.
- Be prepared – Savings account, first aid, self-defense – being prepared makes you feel like there's nothing you can't handle.
- Be grateful – Express your gratitude every time it occurs to you – don't hold back!
Tip #7 Try These Confidence Hacks
I'm sure you have heard the phrase, “Fake it 'til you make it.” There are a lot of ways that you can communicate with confidence even if you don't feel it.
Showing confidence to others gives them the impression that you have confidence. They then show you the faith that your confidence gave them, raising your confidence FOR REAL.
But there are some other unconventional hacks you can use to communicate with confidence:
- Duct tape your back – Fix your posture by using duct tape on your back. Stand up straight and run a long piece of duct tape down your back. Every time you slouch during the day, the tape will tug at your skin and remind you to keep your back vertical.
- Shock your system – Cold shower therapy was used to treat anxiety and depression and improve blood circulation and skin tone in ancient Ayurvedic medicine. Exposure to the cold reduces the incidence of colds by strengthening their immune system.
- Focus on your breathing – Focus on your breathing and take time out to concentrate on your inner state.
- Change your walk – When you walk into a room, walk purposely towards a person or a spot in the room. Having a focus makes you appear more confident.
- Get nude – Being confident in one's skin has a massive effect on self-esteem. If you struggle with your body image, your self-esteem and confidence take a pretty big hit. Of all the bizarre confidence boosters, getting naked does a lot to boost your confidence levels!
Tip #8 Start Working Out
A meta-analysis conducted in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology has a lot to say about men's confidence. The experiment indicated that regular exercise improves body image and confidence as a result.
Exercise mitigates the effects of cortisol – a stress hormone – and releases endorphins, improving your overall happiness.
Hit the gym, gents.
Build a routine for yourself and stick to it.
Tip #9 Nail That First Impression
Think about it, have you ever met someone and immediately formed a strong opinion about them? Snap judgments happen extremely quickly – studies have shown that these opinions form in one-tenth of a second.
Of all the characteristics we use to judge people, researchers found that attractiveness and trustworthiness are the characteristics we judge first.
Once you decide whether or not you like someone, it's pretty hard to change your mind.
Why? Humans are lazy, and after forming that opinion, there's a ton of cognitive processing (aka brain power) involved in figuring out whether your snap judgments are accurate or not.
Instead, confirmation bias gets the best of you so that you seek information that confirms what you already think about someone and that strengthens the initial judgment. As you can see, it becomes a vicious cycle.
Your social skills and confidence are intertwined; by actively working on improving these aspects of your life, you'll find yourself feeling naturally confident in social situations.
To improve your confidence, use the strategies we discussed like visualization, power poses and becoming aware of what is going on in your mind.
When it comes to approaching people, remember that first impressions matter. The goal of approaching people is to make them feel comfortable and meaningful. You can do this by using small talk, making sure you look presentable, and maintaining eye contact.
This is a guest post by communication coach Katrina Razavi, founder of CommunicationforNerds.com.
Click below to watch the video – 10 Powerful Signs Of A Confident Man