Though there is no quick-fix or instant solution for developing self-confidence, it helps practicing and living the salient ingredients that boosts the process.
The simplest thing to do when you’re feeling nervous and unconfident is smile! We don’t just smile because we are happy and confident – we can smile to make yourself and people around you feel better. The act of smiling is so strongly associated with positive feelings that it’s almost impossible to feel bad while smiling.
2. Make eye contact
Like smiling, eye contact shows people that you’re confident. Staring at your shoes or at the table reinforces your feelings of self-doubt and shyness.
This tip is particularly useful for work-related situations – make eye contact with interviewers, or with the audience for your presentation. Eye-contact with a gentle smile is a go-go in any conversation.
3. Find ally in your inner voice
The best judge of your weaknesses is you yourself. Your conscious reminds you of your short-comings. Rather than being intimidated by it, find an ally in your inner voice. Change for good and your inner voice speak of your strengths more than your weaknesses.
4. Set your own standards
Set your own targets and achieve them. You may refer others for inspiration but never benchmark yourself against other's standards. Other people have different values from you, and however hard you try, you’ll never please everyone all of the time. Don’t worry that people will think you’re too overweight, lean, awkward, opinionated, etc. Remember that commonly-held values and standards vary from society to society: you don’t have to accept them just because the people around you do. In time become the benchmark.
5. Make the most of your appearance
Looks matter. For your own kicks, even if you’ve only got a minute or two, duck into the bathroom to make sure you’re looking your best. Brushing your hair, giving your face a good wash, Shave the stubble, retouching your makeup, straightening your collar… all of these can make the difference between feeling confident in your physical appearance and feeling anxious about an imagined flaw.
6. Believe in the greater force
Occasionally sit back and pray / meditate. This helps you to take a step back from your immediate situation, to see the wider picture and to seek help from something or someone greater than yourself. It works wonder for inner peace and confidence.
7. Re-frame and re-live
If something unexpected happens, it’s easy to let it knock your fledgling self-confidence. Perhaps you spill your drink on someone, you arrive late for the big meeting because of traffic problems, or someone who you wanted to speak to gives you a cold brush-off. Try to “reframe” the situation; put it in the best possible light: often, events are only negative because of the meaning we attach to them.
8. Find the next step
Keep your self-confidence up by taking gradual steps forwards, rather than freezing when faced with what seems like a giant leap. If you’re not sure what to do, look for one simple step that you can take to make progress. It is also ok to ask for help. That might mean making eye contact at a party, introducing yourself to a stranger, breaking the ice in a meeting, or asking a question of your interviewers that shows your knowledge of their industry and company. Remember all great journeys begin with the first step.
9. Speak slowly
An easy tip for both seeming and being more self-confidence is to speak slowly. If you gabble, you’ll end up feeling worse as you know you’re being unclear to your audience or to the person you’re in a conversation with. Speaking slowly gives you the chance to think about what you’re going to say next. If you’re giving a talk or presentation, pause at the end of phrases and sentences to help your audience take in what you’ve said.
10. Contribute something
Have you ever sat through an entire class at college or meeting at work without saying a word? Have you had an evening out where friends chatted happily while you sat and stared silently at your drink? Chances are, you weren’t feeling very self-confident at the time – and you probably felt even worse afterwards. Whatever the situation you’re in, make an effort to contribute. Even if you don’t think you have much to say, your thoughts and perspective are valuable to those around you.