What Is Confidence and How Is It Communicated?
Self-confidence is essential for your personal and professional life. It also plays a vital role in your mental health and overall well-being. But when it comes to communicating at work, there’s a fine line between appearing arrogant and insecure. The key is to find the sweet spot in the middle!
Keep reading if you’ve been wondering how confident you are in meetings, presentations, and collaborative sessions. Poised will explain some of the common indicators of confidence levels and show you how to believe in yourself while communicating.
What Is Confidence?
The definition of confidence is a feeling of self-assurance and belief that you can conquer work and life challenges.
It’s possible to have high self-confidence in one area and less confidence in others. For example, you might feel like you’re a competent communicator but don’t trust in your own abilities to make critical decisions outside your area of expertise.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of self-confidence because it can help you excel in your professional and personal life. Confident individuals are more likely to succeed in academics, professional pursuits, and relationships. They aren’t threatened by hard work but instead, view this as a chance to up their confidence game by gathering new skills and life lessons.
When you are confident, it can also motivate you to challenge yourself. As you achieve your goals, it boosts your confidence even more. In other words, self-confidence can inspire you and enable you to constantly improve at work and in life.
5 Key Signs of Confidence
Confident individuals operate on a different wavelength than those who are unsure about themselves. They often live with a motivation and a general fulfillment that helps them succeed at specific tasks and life.
Sometimes it’s challenging to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy confidence. After all, you don’t want to project confidence when it’s unwarranted. The key is to show confidence when you have a reason!
Here are five signs of genuine confidence:
1. Confident People Listen, Then Talk
Someone who is truly confident doesn’t feel like they need everyone to know it. They are secure in their ability, life experiences, and knowledge. They understand there’s a right time to speak up.
A confident person will actively listen to others by waiting until the other person has stated their opinion or ideas before talking. If someone feels the urge to talk over people or consume most of the conversation, it’s typically a sign of insecurity or arrogance. Neither of these will help the person communicate effectively.
Another reason confident people actively listen and speak less is that they see interactions as an opportunity to resolve challenges and build a feeling of trust. They cherish a platform to learn, grow, and become more productive. In other words, conversations hold great value for those who are confident.
2. Confident People Aren’t Overbearing
Arrogant individuals can be overbearing. They believe others cannot teach them anything new, and they behave like no-it-alls with those around them. Arrogant people will also go out of their way to prove others wrong, and they’ll fight hard to be heard whether or not they are correct. When someone is overbearing, it is difficult for other people to listen to them.
Truly confident individuals, on the other hand, don't pretend to know it all. They have self-awareness of what they do and do not know and look for opportunities to learn from others. They also love to highlight the achievements of their colleagues and encourage teamwork and collaboration.
Moreover, confident individuals tend to welcome others with open arms, allowing for different viewpoints and accepting people for who they are. Since they love and accept themselves, insecurity doesn't drive them to force their opinions or knowledge on anyone. Their high self-esteem helps others become more confident through affirmations and encouragement.
3. Confidence Shows in Your Body Language
You can also demonstrate self-assurance through your body language, especially regarding posture. Keeping a closed posture can suggest that you don't want people to approach you or that you don't trust them. An open posture indicates that you welcome conversation, opinions, and ideas from others.
The next time you’re around a confident person, see if you don't feel more at ease than when a person is racked with self-doubt. Confidence and self-belief are contagious, and people often lower their guard in the presence of confident individuals!
If you want to appear more confident in your online and in-person interactions, pay attention to your body posture. Be sure to lean into conversations instead of leaning back. Keep consistent eye contact with your listeners and other people speaking, and keep your arms apart instead of crossing them.
Don't be afraid to smile, and when you do, commit to it. A genuine smile makes you appear confident, and it can go a long way in building rapport with your colleagues.
4. Confident People Don’t Need To Brag
Bragging is often a sign of insecurity. Confident individuals know what they know and what they’re good at, and they have no need to tell everyone around them about it.
When someone knows they don’t know a lot about a topic, bragging is a way to help them feel better in the moment. It also indicates that the person is seeking the spotlight. Someone confident and experienced understands the spotlight is as fickle as it is pleasant.
Confident individuals tend to focus on bringing attention to their colleagues. They see the team's success as more important than receiving the credit themselves.
5. Confidence Equals Calmness
Composure essentially means that you control your emotions in stressful or otherwise troubling situations. To display composure is to choose reason over emotions. This control makes confident individuals the last ones in the room to panic (or the only ones who don’t panic).
Insecure people often act irrationally and allow their emotions to dictate their actions and words. But when you have a healthy self-confidence, you stay calm even though you feel pain and face challenges like anyone else. Instead of breaking down or giving up, your confidence drives you to take action and control whatever aspects of the situation you can control.
If you find yourself in a tough spot, ask yourself how a confident individual would handle it. Pretend like you've been in the situation before and keep cool, calm, and collected.
How To Communicate With Confidence: 3 Ways
If you communicate with self-efficacy, assertiveness, and poise, you'll stand out at work and in other group settings. Confidence can lead to you wielding more influence, speaking with authority, and having access to better resources throughout your career and personal life.
Here are some tips for building confidence:
1. Adjust Your Body Language
You might be surprised how much a slight modification to your body language can impact your self-confidence and influence. For example, keeping your chin and head up at all times in meetings and during other interactions will make you appear confident.
Standing up straight can also project confidence, poise, and authority. On the other hand, a slouching individual may appear disengaged or simply unprofessional.
If you talk with your hands — which can be an excellent way to engage listeners — do so with your palms facing up. This can suggest you’re speaking honestly and are confident in your message.
Never put your hands in your pockets or behind your back. People hide their hands when they’re nervous; keeping your hands visible will indicate that you are certain and comfortable.
2. Eliminate Filler Words
It's essential to take note of your tone and mannerisms when speaking. The key is to be as articulate as possible and to deliver your message in a way your audience will receive it. Using filler words like "um" and "like" too frequently can distract listeners from absorbing your message.
Many communicators struggle with fillers, so don't think you’re alone if it's a problem for you. The next time you’re preparing for a presentation or meeting, record yourself going through some of your talking points. Then, listen back to evaluate your usage of filler words.
That way, you can identify your triggers (e.g., distractions, stress management, lack of preparation, etc.). As you speak, you’ll be more aware of when you typically use fillers and can take a brief pause to collect your thoughts.
Using software like Poised can also help you cut down on fillers. Our AI-powered communication coach gives you personalized feedback during your online meetings and presentations and helps you analyze your performance over the long term.
3. Practice Active Listening
Lastly, don't give people a fraction of your attention. Make a conscious effort to hear, comprehend, and retain the message and information individuals are relaying to you.
To actively listen, you must pay attention and avoid distractions. Maintain eye contact, give speakers verbal acknowledgment, and ask insightful questions at the appropriate time. Being interested rather than interesting will indicate your self-confidence as a communicator.
Earning a Vote of Confidence
Self-confidence plays a vital role in every aspect of your life. If you want to succeed professionally, academically, and relationally, now is the time to assess your confidence and take steps to improve it.
Sure, you may have to fake it before you make it now and then. But by being self-aware and following the tips above, you'll quickly notice yourself becoming more confident in your communication. Remember to be humble and eager to learn from others, and you’ll build rapport with your colleagues in no time.