We shop for clothes, we buy new shoes, we style our hair, we apply mascara….we look in the mirror and see a decent reflection, ready to face the day. That’s great, because how you look matters, what you wear does send a message – but it doesn’t end there. You can destroy your image as soon as you open your mouth, or if you show a lack of confidence….yes, confidence is highly attractive – even when you don’t look your best! What to do if you aren’t naturally confident? Fake it till you make it! Be aware of subtle ways you come across to others in your daily interactions – awareness is a good first step, then you can work on certain habits one at a time until it feels more natural….5 areas to watch:
- Posture – In my youth, I remember Ginger telling my sister and I, “stand up straight, put your shoulders back, be sure of yourself!”…..slouching is a sign of meekness. Whether you are in a chair, standing, or walking, pay attention to being as upright as possible……avoid crossing your arms in front of you which can be interpreted as nervousness or being on guard.
- Show expression – Another Ginger lesson: “Smile!” How true – a smile shows warmth and kindness in addition to confidence. Just because you are having a bad day does not mean you need to show it on your face. We all have seen individuals that rarely show expression at all (in the nursing industry we call that ‘flat affect’) – aside from it not showing confidence, it sends a message of coldness, of not caring, and that is never attractive.
- Speak up – Your voice should be loud and clear, and you should speak at a relatively slow pace so words are easily understood….it is not sweet or demure to speak in a whisper, it can easily be perceived as a lack of intelligence and self consciousness. Also pay attention to phrases you might be overusing: “like, ya know”…….
- No Fidgeting – Yes, many of us have nervous habits, identifying them is the first step to eliminating them…leg shaking, rocking back and forth in a chair, playing with your hair, pencil tapping…..Once you recognize what yours is, it will be easier than you think to catch yourself.
- Handshake – Regardless of your age, whether you are a student, a socialite or a working woman – don’t give out a limp noodle handshake….equally bad is using just your fingers. Ewww. Even if you are wearing Manolos that is just yucky.