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Sometimes you just don’t have the confidence or capability in a social situation to comfortably see it through. More often than not you’ll instinctively disengage so as not to fail. However, sometimes having the courage to ‘ Fake It Till You Make It ‘ and appear both supremely capable and confident will get you the result you want. What is actually happening is that you are commanding your own brain to think what you want it to think – that you are confident and you are more than capable. Over time thinking this technique can rewire your brain to think more positively more often which will then become a habit.

Here are some ‘ Fake It Till You Make It ‘ strategies that might work for you:

1   Body Language 101 – Stand up straight, walk tall and maintain eye contact.

Improving your posture gives you confidence and creates confidence in you amongst the people you are with. So, sit up straight, stand up straight and don’t slouch.  Walk tall and with purpose. These actions convey confidence and others will unconsciously respect you more.

You have heard this a thousand times before and here it is again – maintain eye contact! When you meet someone focus on their eye colour and smile. This extra second’s glance to notice their eye colour together with your smile demonstrates that you are relaxed and at ease with yourself with the situation and interested in them. You are confident.

In contrast if you look away too quickly when you meet someone then it suggests that you are not confident. It is a technique to practice though, a constant stare will be creepy and suggest something other than confidence.

2. When you are having an argument or a difficult conversation with someone stand or sit next to them and not in front of them.

Conversations that get out of hand can escalate and become confrontational if you are facing each other and one or both of you can feel threatened. If you know you are susceptible to adrenalin taking over and losing control, then you can regain your control and confidence by sitting next to the person and continuing the conversation. You immediately appear less of a threat to them and the emotion usually then disappears from the situation. You come across as calm and in control and by implication confident.

3.  Maintain your cool if someone insults you.

This is similar to the ‘sideways’ conversation above in that inside, your heart is quite possibly pumping and you feel angry and primed to react physically or verbally. Managing your emotion by responding rather than reacting, usually with the help of a ‘circuit breaker’ phrase or action ensures you stay calm and in control. This makes you appear confident.

4.  If you want to be persuasive, reduce the use of the words like  ‘I think’ and ‘I believe.’

Although using words like ‘I think’ and ‘I believe’ help make your statements and conversations sound less forceful, rude and direct; they can also make you sound less emphatic. Without the qualification, other people will assume you are very sure and confident in your opinion.

5.  Engage in some stretching and deep breathing before a potentially stressful event.

While some of the experimental evidence into ‘power posing‘ as advocated by Harvard Business School social psychologist Amy Cuddy has been disputed, there is no doubt that a few minutes deep breathing and stretching can steady your nerves and make you feel more confident. This also makes your posture more expansive which in itself portrays your confidence to those around you, no matter how you feel inside.

6.  Stop Apologising.

For some people apologising becomes a habit and the default phrase to use in any situation that may approximately warrant an apology, or even those that don’t. Once in the routine it is hard to escape using the phrase. This can often give the other person in the conversation the false impression that you lack confidence and that they have the upper hand.

Instead use the phrase ‘thank you’ which is an altogether stronger and more positive phrase and implies confidence and gratitude, not subservience and guilt. An example might be to use “thank you for waiting” rather than “I’m sorry I’m late”. This small change in a phrase adds to the perception of you being confident.

7.  Assume the feeling of comfort in any situation or interaction even if you feel uncomfortable.

Our brain tries to protect us from exposure to danger by making us feel uncomfortable when we’re in new situations. We can often yield to that feeling and move away from the potential danger or discomfort even when logic tells us everything will be fine. However, in those situations if we can assume the feeling of comfort and reassure our brain that everything is fine, ie overriding the brains natural warning signs, then we feel calm, in control …… and confident.

8.  If you need a favour, open your request with “can I ask your advice?”

Most people are conditioned to want to help, so if you open a sentence with a request for help or advice then they are immediately more likely to accept your request and help you out. This is even if what you actually need is a big favour or you are trying to sell them something. Both those scenarios need a lot of confidence but by taking the easier route you can often get what you want and feel happier and more confident as a result.

9.  Don’t rush to fill the space when someone only partially answers your question.

When this situation of another person in a conversation not fully answering your question happens, most people try and help them out in some way by accepting the partially complete answer or asking another question. Instead stay silent and keep eye contact. If the silence continues raise your eyebrows which puts some pressure on them. This also communicates that you have the self-confidence to put pressure on them (even if you don’t).

10.  Nod whilst you are talking if you want to get a positive response from someone

This conversational technique is also a bit manipulative with the double benefit of you getting your own way and showing that you are a confident person. Nodding whilst you are making a point or selling a concept is a powerful way to get the other person to agree with you. People usually subconsciously mimic the other person and so will often nod back while you talk. This communicates to their brains that they have to agree with you.

Original Post from Mental Toughness Partners