Gaining confidence and self-assurance
Crowds can be overwhelming for a lot of people, especially in situations where you’re expected to be social at a party, talk yourself up at a job conference, or give a presentation for work. When you’re self-conscious and anxious about being in crowds, becoming a smooth, confident talker can seem like a pipe dream. While you might not ever become the Pied Piper of social interactions, you can certainly reach a new level of confidence and self-assurance when you’re in a crowd. Here are 5 ways you can do just that!
Rely on old-fashioned manners
Manners provide us with a road map of how to act in different social situations, so falling back on old-fashioned manners is usually a great way to handle social situations. After all, manners will ensure that you don’t start off on the wrong foot, instead helping you to come off as friendly and considerate. Once you’ve broken the ice a little, connecting with and talking to the people around you tends to be a lot easier. You can also try focusing on the needs of the people around you instead of yourself. This helps you come off as even more considerate, but it also provides an outlet for your nervous energy.
Make eye contact
When you’re speaking to others, whether it’s a casual conversation or a formal presentation for work, making eye contact is a vital recipe for appearing confident—even if you don’t feel that way. Maintaining eye contact can be difficult at first for many people, but it gets easier the more you work at it, and it’s certainly worth it to put in that extra practice. It helps you connect to the people you’re speaking to and conveys that you’re mentally present in the interaction. You’ll begin to get compliments on the way you carry yourself, especially if you’re giving presentations. Hearing that you look confident, even if you didn’t feel confident at the time, actually goes a long way towards building your confidence; eventually, you’ll feel as confident as you look.
If you’re still having trouble making eye contact, don’t worry! There are a few tricks you can use to make it look like you’re making eye contact even when you aren’t. One trick is simply to pick an area close to someone’s eyes, such as a point just behind them at eye level or the bridge of their nose. They won’t notice the difference, so you’ll still project that air of confidence. This trick works for casual conversations and presentations; just remember not to spend an entire presentation looking at the same person. Another trick that works during presentations if you have difficulty holding eye contact is to flit from person to person, holding eye contact with each individual for a few seconds at a time—this ensures you’re not staring at one person throughout the presentation and it gives off that same sense of confidence.
Respect your own boundaries
There’s a fine line between challenging yourself and pushing yourself well beyond your limits. A challenge can be very good for you, helping you to increase your skills and enabling you to grow as a person, but pushing yourself beyond your limits can be disastrous and may even make you hesitant to take on challenges in the future. So be kind to yourself and respect your limits and your personality. If you’re an introvert or crowds make you nervous, plan time for yourself to decompress after a big social event or a work presentation. You’ll feel better—and, if you’re going back to work, you’ll be more productive—after a few minutes alone.
Read up on attendees beforehand to discover topics of interest
If you’re attending a conference, whether it’s for work or fun, you may want to look up the interests of attendees beforehand. Think of it as a little “recon” that’ll help you make a good impression and connect to the people you’re speaking with. This can be particularly useful for job fairs or work conventions since it can actually be a good thing if someone catches on that you’ve done a little research. It shows genuine interest in that individual, job, or company, backed up with effort. Even if they don’t notice, it helps you feel confident and prepared going into the conversation, breaks the ice, and keeps people engaged and interested.
Focus on your appearance
The clever phrase, “dress for success” has a lot of truth to it, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Your appearance has a lot to do with the first impressions that others form of you and can impact your self-confidence—but it involves more than just the way you’re dressed. Your smile is also a huge part of the way you present yourself, so you should take care of it just as carefully as you would your clothing. Whether you’re hoping to make a few friends or land a job interview, bad breath and yellow, crooked, or missing teeth can all cause people to form a negative impression of you.
If you’re not confident in your own smile, it can also impact the way you carry yourself by making you more reserved and limiting how much you smile, which can make you seem aloof, upset, or less competent. Even the best elevator pitch doesn’t have as much of a punch if it’s delivered without confidence. Just like you’d feel more confident giving your elevator pitch in your best outfit instead of in a sweatshirt and sweatpants, you’re likely to feel more confident if you can punctuate your speech with a confident grin. If there’s an aspect of your smile you’re not confident in, invest in yourself by getting it repaired; that might mean simply getting a teeth whitening treatment, veneers, or having your teeth straightened. The investment will pay off in a major way by helping you to be more confident and to feel better about the way you look—whether you’re in a crowd or not.
While you may not ever take to a crowd like a fish takes to water, you don’t have to feel like you’re drowning when you’re in a crowd. Just like professional swimmers train themselves until they can swim astonishing distances, you can improve your confidence and train yourself to exude it—even when you’re not quite as confident as you might appear. If you’re ready to get started by regaining confidence in your smile, you can call our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Alhadef at any time.