I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can tell you the way I am:
In my comfort zone – which is with my friends, my close co-workers and with my family, I’m this confident, bubbly, funny and bit strange yet endearing character (or so I’m told). I crack jokes, I make people smile, I’m a bit dizzy and silly.
Put me in front of a group of people I don’t know and bloody Nora, I am a totally different person.
I struggle to make small talk. I become very aware of my own voice, how I sound and I hate it. It makes me mess up my sentences, mumble, not make sense and sound almost monotone. I lose my sense of humour. I smile for too long, I don’t smile for long enough. I make awkward silences even awkwarder by avoiding interaction by looking at my phone or giving yes/no answers.
I don’t speak out and I certainly don’t stand out.
I would love to be once of those people who can confidently go up to anyone, introduce themselves, shake hands and really hold.. no, really LEAD a conversation with a confident smile.
Since I’ve got my new job, I decided I’m going to be that person.
I’d been in my old role for almost 4 years, so it was easy to be perceived as fun, happy and confidenct. But in a new surroundings with new people, I was worried about how much I would be able to let go.
It’s a clean slate and all, so I’ve made a few changes.
Some of these following things I’ve been doing and I feel like I’ve made a substantial improvement. Some of these things have not been as easy and I’m still working on them. So let’s go:
How to be confident around new people.
- Smile and say hello first.
- Go in for a handshake when you meet someone and when you say goodbye.
- Learn to make some key phrases part of everyday life. ‘Did you find us okay?’ might be a good starter if you’re holding some form of meet and great/interview, for example. I’ll always say ‘it was lovely to meet you’ or ‘thank you for your time’ dependant on the situation.
- Remember that most people want to be accepted by new people and tend to think of their own flaws over your flaws.
- Always make eye contact when talking.
- Speak clearly and loudly.
- LISTEN to what the other person is saying. I often find myself thinking more about what I’m going to say next, or what I should say, or how I should be standing that I zone out and don’t listen to the whole conversation, then have to just smile and nod rather than give a good, solid response that can keep the conversation going.
- Smile. Again.
- Smile some more and greet everyone you see – make eye contact and say good morning to everyone in the office/shop/place you are working. Do not walk around with your head down, with your eyes on your phone or generally trying to do anything to avoid that awkward moment where you lock eyes with one of those human beings and don’t know what to do about it.
- Compliment people. I find it hard to accept and give compliments, but I’ve found it easier with a bit of practice. If you think someone has lovely thick hair, tell them! If you love the colour of someones eyes, tell them! It’s not creepy, unless you’re forever commenting one person constantly!
- If someone asks how you are, always reply positively! Smile and say I’m great thanks, how are you?’. Although it might be tempting to sigh and say ‘I’ve been better’, positivity and confidence go hand in hand!
Ok, I realise these are a lot of points to try and remember and think about, but try to pick at least 4 and work on them. When you’ve got them down, pick the next four.
Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and don’t make excuses as to why you can’t do any of the above.
It’s so easy to talk yourself out of doing something you don’t want to do.
Get a hold of yourself and try to figure out what the barriers are to making any of the above next steps a habit.
Tell me, what characteristics do you think makes a person confident?