Why is it so hard to be heard?  As I lay with my eyes closed and my face frozen in a half-smile during a photoshoot for a facial massage last week (#randomgig), I knew I had to leave at noon.  In fact, I had initially turned the job down for lack of time but was assured it wouldn’t be a problem.  So when 12 o’clock rolled around and no one else in the 6-person team seemed to notice, I mentioned to the photographer that I needed to go. The others exchanged surprised glances and shared that the director had told them they would have more time with me.  It was soon clear that this wasn’t an oversight; the director had intentionally been dishonest in order to be sure I’d be there. 

scream into micWithout trying to make this particular incident larger than it was, the fact that so many of us can relate to being taken advantage of is frustrating. As a genuinely kind, caring and confident woman, I realize that I still haven’t mastered allowing my confidence to shine through in certain situations (whereas on stage or while coaching it comes naturally).  This stereotypically feminine need to be polite, to avoid confrontation and to just ‘make everything okay’ is something none of us should be holding on to (eye roll, please).  If you are, it’s important to work on consciously letting go of this unnecessary and harmful weight, in order to reveal your true badass self to the world — even when it is a little uncomfortable.  The more you’re aware of it and practice, the easier it will become, until you naturally own who you really are in every circumstance.  (And I’m right there with you!) 

Convey Confidence.  No one wants to be the person others assume will just go with the flow and put others’ needs before his or her own.  So don’t be that person. If your natural way of being leaves you susceptible to being taken advantage of – and you want this pattern to end – you need to shift your behavior in a way that reflects your true strength and confidence.  This is especially important in business situations where the risk of not asserting yourself may lead to working more hours than were agreed to, receiving less compensation or both.  Avoid the risk of being misunderstood by keeping the following tips in mind during business interactions.

7 Ways To Make Sure Your Confidence Resonates

1/ Maintain eye contact.  Eye contact is one of the strongest indicators of self-confidence so be sure keep a steady gaze throughout the conversation.  

2/ Don’t fake smile.  Listen to the words being said and process them without using an inauthentic smile to make the other person feel appreciated or accepted (decreasing your strength in a business situation).

3/ Don’t nod in agreement while someone speaks.  Again, actively listen and engage in the conversation without passively agreeing to whatever is being said.

4/ Don’t self-touch. Resist fiddling with jewelry or tucking your hair behind your ears.  Fidgeting is a quick indicator of insecurity and low self-confidence. 

shoes leaves5/ Point your feet toward whomever you’re speaking with.  Doing this shows you are serious and an equal partner in the conversation.

6/ Take up space. Stand straight with your legs spread apart to show you aren’t afraid to take up space.

7/ Don’t lean in.  Listening intently and showing interest may cause you to lean in slightly, but doing this too much suggests you’re seeking  approval and decreases your strength in the conversation.  

This Ted Talk about power poses takes things a step further and shows that when we practice certain postures we can actually increase our self-confidence and how we are perceived by others, improving our chances for success.

* And for some great pointers on how to negotiate your salary at work, check out this article by Belma McCaffrey, founder of Work Bigger.

 

* Song For This Moment: “Express Yourself” by Labrinth.

Source Articles:

10 Ways Body Language Can Help You Convey Power at Work”, Huffington Post.

How Body Language Helps Shape Who You Are“, Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy.