How to Fake Confidence: Master the Art of Playing Pretend

How to Fake ConfidenceYour boss has just invited you to a huge company dinner.  You are elated!  This is the perfect opportunity for you to network, express your ideas, and consider asking for that window office you have been eyeing ever since John from accounting decided to retire.  But, wait – suddenly your palms start sweating, you develop a weird type of lump in your throat, and you can feel your shoulders tensing and curling inwards.  What is happening? Are you losing your confidence?  Actually, do you have any confidence?

No to worry—confidence does not come naturally or easily to most people.  Especially as we get older, we become more aware of our actions and how they have the ability to impact our lives.  Additionally, we become more aware that people judge us; mostly because judging is something that we probably ourselves.  In the spirit of “faking it until you’re making it”, we are going to give you some helpful tips and tricks on how to appear more confident, or, more precisely– how to fake your confidence.  Let’s get started!

Playing Pretend

Pretending that you’re better than you really are at something, though not always encouraged, has it’s proper place. This can be applied to so many things – happiness, an interest in something you might not like at all, and cooking – actually, maybe not the last one, but you get the idea.  Here are some ways to trick people (and maybe even yourself) into believing that you are confident:

  1. Walk Tall:  Holding your head up high is not just an expression, it is an actual thing that you can do to help you appear more confident.  Holding your head up high will help you elevate your height and make you appear taller and stronger than you might actually be.
  2. Eye Contact:  Maintaining and keeping eye contact with people is a great way to let them know that you are aware.  There is something about looking someone in the eye that is so powerful and deep that it can convey messages without even talking.  Imagine if you were trying to carry a conversation with someone while looking away, at your phone, or at another person.  They would probably lose interest, stop paying attention to you, or think that you are a joke.  Eye-contact helps you appear self-confident, sure of yourself, and knowledge.
  3. Firm Grips:  If you are meeting someone and are a ball of nerves, here is how not to show that – have a strong grip or handshake.  Even if you are petite or thin, get a good grasp and let them know that you mean business.  Being firm shows that you are confident and straight-forward, and proud.
  4. Clarity:  No one likes someone that mumbles.  Actually, no one can probably understand you if you are mumbling.  By speaking loudly and clearly, you will appear confident and demonstrate strength in your words.  You might be deathly afraid of public speaking, but talking in a slow and organized manner can make you appear calm, composed, and assured.
  5. Laugh:  Laughing shows happiness, and happy people naturally appear more confident than an unhappy person.  Say you make a mistake at work, or accidentally fall down the stairs in front of your crush – laugh at yourself!  This is a great way to make yourself feel better and let others know that you can lighten up an otherwise embarrassing or overly-serious situation.  Of course, remember to laugh when it is appropriate!
  6. Look busy:  Even if you might not be, being idle will make you appear like you do not have a goal, a purpose, or a function.  If you are at a gathering, do not stand in a corner – go around and introduce yourself to people – they will appreciate it.  Join some clubs and develop some hobbies.  All of these things will make you appear like you have a purpose in life, and it will make you appear more confident.
  7. Compliments:  If someone goes as far as to compliment you on your clothes, an achievement, or anything else, do not be shy about receiving their praise.  Stand firmly and erect and thank them for their kind words.  The worst thing that you can do when you receive a compliment is to put yourself down or insert a “no, no, no” somewhere in your conversation.  A simple “Thank you” will let people know that you are aware that you are aware of your abilities.
  8. Ask Questions:  You might think that asking questions will make you sound unaware or stupid, but asking questions will help you boost your confidence and show others that you have genuine interest.  It will also help you connect with people and show them that you have no fear or not knowing some things, because you are open to learning.  It does not matter what kind of questions they are: just ask.
  9. Honesty:  It might seem like goes completely out of line with “faking” confidence, but remember that honesty is the best policy.  Faking confidence is beneficial to the way that others view you and how you view yourself.  In terms of honesty, if you make a mistake or an error in an important situation – quickly apologize for it.  People admire someone who is able to own up to their mistakes and take full responsibility for something that they did, no matter how big or small.
  10. Appreciate You:  In the end, the best thing to do to be confident is to know yourself, your strengths, and what you find value in.  This awareness that you have of yourself will give you real confidence.  To think of all the wonderful things that make you, you, make a list of qualities that you like about yourself.  Also, it can be fun to buddy up with a friend and take turns making lists for each other.  This is a great way to know that you are appreciated as well.

Long-Term Self Confidence

Okay, so we went over how to fake confidence.  What about real, genuine confidence?  Faking confidence is great for the short-term, but what about the long term?  We are going to fill you in on that as well.  Here are some great ways as to how to gain long-term self confidence:

  1. Know your talents and skills: Like anyone else, you will have flaws – but do not let those flaws overcome you.  Everyone has their strengths and the things they do better than others.  Make a list of these things and focus on them every day.
  2. Take care of yourself: The better you take care of yourself, the better you will feel.  Remember the simple things, such as drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, keeping yourself clean, and exercising regularly to increase your self confidence and personal image.  Taking care of your health, especially, will improve your overall mood and mind.  Your brain will be clearer!
  3. Body language: This is a big one when it comes to confidence.  Of course you can do little things that will help you during situations, but practicing certain elements of body language will help improve your long-term self confidence.  Soon enough, you will be moving certain self-assured ways without even knowing it!
  4. Conversational skills: Even if you consider yourself an outgoing person, having proper confidence and speaking skills are some things that take everyone awhile to master.  Additionally, make sure that you listen to others just as much as you practice speaking.  Being a good listener can help you improve and develop relationships, which will lead to boosting your self confidence.  Everyone loves a good listener!
  5. Take risks: Sure, you are probably not going to hit a homerun with every risk you take, but taking risks in life and doing things outside of your normal routine will help you build confidence in yourself.  It will also show others that you are not afraid to experience new things and take on new ventures.  Normal routines can become boring and mundane, and taking risks is a good way to add some variety to your life.

Tips for the Road

Before we let you out there into the open to strut your stuff, here are some final points of advice for you to keep in mind:

  • Believe that you are beautiful, because you are, and it will help other people see it in you as well.
  • Do not be afraid to make mistakes.  If you slip up in the confident department or feel yourself still getting overwhelmed, do not let it get you down.  Every day will offer you a fresh start!
  • Try to join some new clubs and participate in social activities.  It is important to put yourself out there, and you will see yourself developing self confidence naturally overtime.
  • Be friendly, because having self confidence does not mean that you need to come across as obnoxious or full of yourself.  Self confidence is just being comfortable in your own skin and around others.

You Made It!

Now that we have given you the basic tips on how to fake it until you are able to develop your own long-standing self confidence, you are ready for the world!  Put on your best smile and get out there!  If you need to come back for advice, Udemy has some wonderful courses to keep your confidence intact.  Check out some innovation confidence-building courses here!