6 Tips to Develop Self-Confidence with Others

Self-Condidence

Are you the kind of person who struggles in social settings? Are you shy and tend to stand in the background? Do you run from social situations because they are scary and uncomfortable for you?

You may have seen other people that seem to project self-confidence. They appear to have no problem in any social situation. They make friends easily and seem to be able to connect with others. How do they do it?

Today I’m going to share 6 ways to help you develop confidence with others. If you follow these six simple tips you will begin to feel more confident with yourself and more comfortable in social settings. There is no magic here, just six simple tips. Here they are:

Tip Number 1: Be a Front-Row-Seater

When you attend any function such as a meeting, seminar, or class where there is a large group of people, what is the first row of seats that fill up? The back row! It seems like most everyone wants to be in the back, out of the way, unobtrusive, and unnoticed. They want to just slide into the back unobserved. You need to change that attitude. You need to be a front-row-seater.

Let’s face it; outgoing, confident people don’t sit on the back row. You will find those people sitting on the front row and that’s where you should be also. It’s a signal of your willingness to jump in and be a part of the situation. Sitting on the front row may be uncomfortable at first but it puts you right up there with the important people. Another benefit isthat you are better able to contribute to the meeting or discussion than if you are sitting in the back. So that’s my first suggestion is to be a front-row-seater.

Tip Number 2: Make eye contact

Have you noticed that shy people rarely look you in the eye? When you walk past them they tend to avoid you and look the other way. It’s very uncomfortable for them to look you in the eye. This usually happens because they are afraid to engage you, meaning if they acknowledge you in any way then they may have to actually say something to you. It’s easier and safer to pretend they don’t see you.

Maybe you are that kind of person and have that same problem. Maybe you don’t even notice it. Pay attention to how you react when you pass someone on the sidewalk or in the hallway at work. Do you look the other person in the eye and make eye contact? If not then you have some work to do.

If you want to convey the message that you are a self-assured and confident person then you need to practice looking others in the eye. Don’t be afraid of the other person. Acknowledge that you see they are there. I’m not saying you should stare them down or that it should be some sort of confrontation, but that it should be a friendly gaze into the other person’s eye.

Tip Number 3: Walk 25% faster

I’ve noticed that there are some people who walk extremely slow. It’s amazing how slow some people walk. I don’t even know how they can walk so slowly. My body doesn’t even go that slow. They just sort of plod along as if they were pulling a 200 pound weight behind them, dragging from one place to the next. It’s frustrating sometimes to get stuck behind slow moving people! When a snail has to tell you to get out of road, then you know you’re going too slow!

When you see someone like this, what are your thoughts? I don’t know about you but I have a hard time not thinking of them in negative terms, like they are aimlessly going nowhere. I’m ashamed to admit that the term “loser” crosses my mind a time or two.

But when you see someone walking briskly with their shoulders straight, their head up and they are moving forward as if nothing is going to stop them, you get the impression that they are a person that has confidence in themselves and are going places in life.

So my tip is to walk 25% faster than you normally walk. When I say 25% faster, I don’t mean that you should get a pedometer and measure exactly your walking speed and then increase it by 25 %. What I mean is for you to make sure you walk briskly with confidence, like you have somewhere important to be. Walk like you have meaning and direction in your life.

Tip Number 4: Speak Up!

You may not be aware of it but many times when we speak to each other we speak in barely audible tones. Have you noticed that people who are confident and seem to be going somewhere speak up, speak clearly and speak loudly? Again it’s a message of confidence. It’s a message of “I’m not afraid to speak up. I have a healthy self-image. I have something important to say and I’m not just going to mumble it or say something under my breath, but I’m going to speak up and be heard!” So speak up!

Tip Number 5: Smile and smile big

There are some people who seem to carry the whole world on their shoulders. They have a perpetual cloud over their head and a sour expression on their face. They make you wonder what kind of sad, miserable life they live.

Then there are those who go around with a permanent smile on their face. They are friendly and confident and cheerful. They look you in the eye and say “Hello!”

Think about which kind of people you like to be around. Are they the ones that always have a grim look on their face or those that have a smile? Let’s face it, who wants to hang around a grump? We would much rather be around those that are happy and cheerful. It’s normal and natural.

So smile and smile big! Show others that you are happy and that you are glad to see them. Show them that you are pleased with who you are and where you are going in life.

Tip Number 6: Call the other person by name

It’s been said many times that the sweetest word in the English language is a person’s own name. People love it when somebody uses their name.

Let’s be honest. When someone takes the time to learn your name and remembers it the next time they meet you, aren’t you impressed? Don’t you instantly like that person? And when someone who should know your name can’t seem to recall it, doesn’t your opinion of them drop by about 1000 percent? The non-verbal message is that you are not important enough for them to learn your name. We are all human and have a need to feel important. When someone remembers your name you feel more important than when someone can’t remember your name.

We can have impact and power with other people when we take the trouble to learn their name and use it then next time we see them.

So that’s my message for today. If you want to develop more confidence with others and feel more comfortable in social settings, follow these 6 simple tips.

Marketing Yourself, Part 4 – Improve Your Message

 

Your marketing message

(Note: This is Part 4 of a four-part series on Marketing Yourself)

Communicate your verbal message with care

People not only judge you by how you look but also by what you say and how you say it. How you talk about yourself, your work, your boss or even your competition sends a message about you. If you aren’t careful, your verbal communication can undo any other self-marketing efforts you may have made.

What kind of message are you communicating?

When you are around others, what kind of message do you bring to them? Is it positive or negative? Are you someone who continually complains about life, rarely having anything good to say? Do people like to have you around or do they cringe when they see you coming? Are you the storm cloud that goes around raining on everyone’s parade or are you the type of person that spreads cheer and sunshine? How you communicate is critical to building a positive reputation.

How you judge others will be how others judge you

We read a verse in the Bible that says, “Judge not that ye be not judged.” This is good advice for human relations too! Whenever you are in the process of judging others it gives other people a clue of how to judge you.

I have had the opportunity to counsel a number of married couples on the verge of divorce. I have noticed that whenever a husband or wife starts to tell me all the horrible, mean and nasty things the other partner has done, I learn more about the person who is doing the talking than the person they are talking about.

The repelling nature of complaining and criticizing

Complaining and criticizing give a bad impression. Have you ever noticed how uncomfortable and unpleasant it is to be in the presence of a chronic complainer? For me, to be around someone like that is like listening to fingernails dragged across a chalkboard. I just want it to stop or to get away from it. No only do people not like it but they are smart enough to subconsciously reason that if you are so negative about life and everyone around you then you must also think the same about yourself. If that’s the case then why would I want to associate with you?

Be of good cheer

We are told eight times in the Bible to “be of good cheer.” Usually this was told to people facing fairly dire circumstances. Proverbs 17:22 teaches: “A merry heart doeth good like medicine.” Let the message from your mouth be positive and cheerful and it too can be like medicine to others.

A wise man made this statement:

“In my lifetime I have seen two world wars plus Korea plus Vietnam and all that you are currently witnessing. I have worked my way through the depression and managed to go to law school while starting a young family at the same time. I have seen stock markets and world economics go crazy and have seen a few despots and tyrants go crazy, all of which causes quite a bit of trouble around the world in the process.

“So I am frank to say tonight that I hope you won’t believe all the world’s difficulties have been wedged into your decade, or that things have never been worse than they are for you personally, or that they will never get better. I reassure you that things have been worse and they will always get better. They always do…” – Howard W. Hunter (The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter p. 202)

Upgrade your personal marketing message

Things may seem bad and even if they are you don’t need to go around continually telling everyone just how terrible things are. Every cloud has a silver lining. Look for it. Find it and focus on the good and positive things in life. Make the message you communicate to everyone around you be one that is pleasant and uplifting. You are judged by it. Your reputation is built on it. Create a positive self-marketing message and people will want to be around you, help you and do business with you.

Marketing Yourself, Part 2 – Name Recognition

Name Recognition

(Note: This is Part 2 of a four part series on Marketing Yourself)

Part of any marketing campaign is developing name recognition. Professional marketers do this by getting their product name in front of people as often as possible and in as many ways as possible. Think of how many ways the Coca-Cola Company gets the name Coke in front of you. It’s everywhere it seems. I remember being in a small village in China, in the middle of nowhere, and there was the Coke logo on a sign outside a small shop. Coca-Cola has done a great job of developing name recognition.

In a similar way you need to develop name recognition. You need to get your name and face out there in front of people on a regular basis. My tips today are slanted more to the corporate world but the ideas can be applied to other situations. Here are three simple ways to do develop name recognition:

1. Step Outside of the Box (physically and mentally)

We’ve all heard the term, “Think Outside the Box.” Well, we also need to Step Outside the Box, mentally and physically. You can no longer hide behind your PCs or camp out in your cubicles or offices. It’s easy to spend the entire day at our desks. Get out of the office. Be seen and be heard. Attend meetings.Visit other people in their environment and see what exactly it is they do. Find out what their concerns and frustrations are. You will be amazed at what you learn.

2. Communicate Regularly

Communicate regularly with your boss and with your bosses’ boss.  This means more than just memos. Use the phone or meet one-on-one with them. Try to arrange to meet with each of them each month.  Do this by having something to report or show them.  Show them you are interested in two things – making their jobs easier and increasing the bottom line of the business. This face-time with them is extremely important when it comes to building name recognition.

3. Participate in Company Events

Many organizations have events such as annual picnics, Christmas parties or golf tournaments. Make it a point to be to these events and actively participate. They sometimes seem like insignificant activities but that’s not the case. What these activities provide are opportunities to rub shoulders with and get to know people of all levels of the organization. You get to know them and they get to know you. Plus you are seen as a team player, as part of the corporate culture.

Each of these techniques help you build name recognition within your group or organization. When your name is recognized in a positive light by the decision makers, this can only be for your benefit.

(Look for the next two articles in this four-part series on Marketing Yourself)

Marketing Yourself, Part 1 – Why You Need It

Marketing Yourself

(Note: This is Part 1 of a four part series on Marketing Yourself)

“If you think marketing doesn’t work, consider the millions of Americans who now think that yogurt tastes good.”     Joe L. Whitley, management consultant

What does Marketing Yourself have to do with People Skills?

You may wonder what marketing yourself has to do with people skills. Is marketing yourself really part of people skills? I say definitely yes! Why do you want to improve people skills in the first place? One of the goals of improved people skills is to influence and persuade others. Another goal is to put yourself across to others in the best light. Marketing yourself helps you do this.

What is Marketing?

What is marketing anyway? Marketing is simply creating an awareness of value. If you’re marketing a product then you’re putting that product forward in the most favorable light. You’re exposing it to people and showing the benefits of it; why someone would want it, why it would be something of value to them.

Why do you need Marketing?

The same thing goes with marketing yourself. You can compare yourself to a product. You need to be creating an awareness of your value. You need to be tooting your own horn, bragging a little! You need to help the captain of your ship see you as part of the crew, not as useless cargo. Marketing yourself is using various means and methods to communicate to others your value.

Like it or Not – You Are Already Marketing Yourself

You might think it’s not your job to do marketing. Well guess what, you’re already doing marketing every day. What you say in meetings, in the elevator, at the water cooler, the way you look and dress – it’s all marketing! If you’re not paying attention to how you’re doing your marketing you may be in trouble. It doesn’t matter how much you know or how much you contribute to your organization if no one knows about it. What does upper management know about you? What does the rest of the company know or think about you? Marketing really can make a difference.

What are some of the benefits?

What are some of the benefits? Let’s say your company is in the process of choosing someone to fill a key position and they have a choice between several people, including you. If you have been successfully marketing yourself you will be looked at in a more favorable light because of the way you look, they way you act and the way you talk. With all things being equal they will choose you over the other candidates.

This doesn’t just apply to the corporate or business world but also to your personal life. When you have successfully marketed yourself to your family, your neighbors and your community, they will see you and think about you in a more positive light. They will see you as a person who is friendly and kind, who they want to be around. The relationship you have with your neighbors, your family or your book club will be a positive experience. This can then open up many other opportunities for your future success and happiness.

Truth in Advertising

All the marketing in the world isn’t going to make a bad product good. Marketing will only get you so far. You need to walk your talk. Your performance needs to match your marketing for it to be effective. There must be substance behind the marketing. Be good at what you do and then market the heck out of it!

(Look for the next three articles in this four-part series on Marketing Yourself)

What is Your Personal Brand?

My Personal Brand

What is Branding?

One thing that companies do to promote a product is what is called “branding” or “building the brand.” Whenever you think of a brand such as Coca Cola, Apple, or Nike, certain thoughts and ideas run through your mind. You have an image of what these companies represent and what their products are like. Companies spend millions of dollars building and developing their brand.

For example, when you hear the name Apple, what comes to your mind? My first thought is of the Apple logo. Then thoughts and images of some of Apple’s products run through my mind such as the iPhone, iPod, iPad and iMac. Then I think of Apple’s reputation of making beautifully designed, high quality products that anybody can use. This is what “branding” does – it creates thoughts, feelings, perceptions and images that are linked to a specific product or company.

Your Own Personal Brand

Like it or not, you are creating your own personal brand on a daily basis. Your personal brand is made up of the thoughts, feelings, perceptions and images that people think of when they think of you. The corporate world spends a ton of money managing and building their individual brands. What have you done lately to build your brand?For that matter, do you even know what your brand is? When someone thinks of you, what do they think?

Everyone Has a Brand

I have three friends that each have unique personal brands. My friend Mat is known for being just about the nicest guy around. He is always helping people and would give you the shirt off his back if you asked him. My friend Travis is known as a go-getter, very motivated and business-like. He also loves the outdoors and gives the impression of a rugged, strong man. My third friend, Colin, has a much different personal brand. Everything he owns, uses or is involved with is of extreme high quality and also very expensive. Everything he does, he does with class.

Think for a moment about some of the people that you know. You’ll see that there are certain traits about each person that immediately come to mind. They may be a pain to be around. Maybe they are fun or funny or pleasant or self-centered or giving. Whatever comes to mind is their personal brand. It’s who they are to you and others.

You Are Creating Your Brand Every Day

The same thing happens when people think about you. What is your brand? When someone thinks of you, what do they think of? People who know you have already sized you up and judged you. You are developing your personal brand every day by the way you deal with and interact with others. Writer Howard Hodgson said, “Whatever business you are in, you are in a business of relationships. That’s why your reputation is your greatest asset.”

You need to understand what your personal brand is and make sure it’s what you want it to be. Is it the brand you want? Are there things about you that you need to work on and change?

Protect and Manage Your Brand

Corporations are very concerned with building, managing and controlling their brands. They will go to great lengths to make sure nothing taints or damages their brand. How are you doing with your own brand? Are you careful with it? Do you make sure you don’t damage it by doing stupid things or being inconsistent in your life? Your personal brand is what others perceive who you are. Is it what you want it to be? If not, then I encourage you to take the steps you need to repair, protect and manage your brand.