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Proven Confidence Building Exercises for Better Performance

Have you ever had to face rejection? Or deal with social anxiety right before a client meeting?

You've heard your peers say, "Be more confident!"

But they don't tell you how to be confident and how to stay that way.

Building self-confidence is tricky. For one, several factors impact your confidence level. Additionally, you build your confidence based on a variety of things. This includes your choices and accomplishments.

Lucky for you, we've listed the top proven confidence building exercises.

These techniques will…

  • Lead to better performance
  • Help you become more successful in life

But before that, we'll first talk about what self-confidence is all about.

What Is Self-Confidence?

Simply put, self-confidence is faith in your capabilities. It's trusting your self and knowing your value.

In Amy Adkin's TED Talk, she shares that confidence is knowing you're valuable and capable. It’s a combination of self-esteem and certainty of your abilities, plus feeling empowered to face and accept difficult challenges.

So does self-esteem and confidence mean the same thing?

Although they are sometimes used interchangeably, these two terms mean different things.

Confidence is how you feel about your abilities. Self-esteem, on the other hand, is how you feel about yourself - how you see your worth.

It's important to note this difference. Because people who have low esteem often also have low confidence. But those with high self-morale can still lack confidence.

It's also possible to have low esteem but be very confident with certain skills.

So do you feel valuable and capable?

We compared confident behavior versus behaviors associated with low self-confidence. Can you see yourself having certain behaviors that are linked to low self-confidence?

Confident Behavior

Low Self-Confidence Behavior

Listen more than you speak. Listen to others so you'll learn and grow.

Talk more to prove that you're an expert in a certain subject or topic.

You don't feel the need to seek attention or prove that you're important.

You crave the approval or praise of your peers or colleagues.

Going after what you believe is right for you, even if others question or criticize you.

You make your decisions based on what other people think.

You are willing to take risks and learn from them.

You refuse to go out of your comfort zone so you don't take risks.

Not afraid to ask for help.

Refuse to seek help for fear of seeming incapable and weak.

Placing these behaviors side by side allows us to recognize unhealthy behaviors. In fact, low confidence can lead to self-destruction.

But how do you change these behaviors?

In a minute, we'll give you confidence building exercises. But before that, here are a few "hacks" to give you an immediate confidence boost.

Tricks To Appear More Confident Than You Feel

Building self-confidence takes time. It doesn't happen overnight. But what if you need an immediate confidence boost?

You're familiar with the "fake it till you make it" advice, right?

Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, found that it's possible that pretending to be powerful will make you actually feel powerful.

So what's the first step?

Be Mindful Of Your Body Language

First, you need to change your body language. Have you been slouching? Do you have the tendency to make yourself seem smaller?

In Amy Cuddy's TED Talk, she said to make yourself big. Adopt an open posture. Stretch out and take up space.

Here are a few quick fixes:

  • Do a power pose with your hands on your hips.
  • Plant your feet in a wide, open stance.
  • Sit or stand upright.
  • Keep your head upright and level. Don't slouch!
  • Don't keep your hands in your pockets.
confidence building exercises

Make Eye Contact

Engaging with people is inevitable. Especially for those who are in the sales or marketing industry. So when meeting with people, remember to maintain eye contact.

Good eye contact shows that you're comfortable and interested in what they're saying. It makes you appear unafraid and confident.

Is this too intimidating for you?

Try this quick fix: Look at a spot close to the other person's eyes. For instance, you can look between their eyebrows. This creates the illusion that you're looking directly into their eyes.

But don't stare too hard as it may intimidate them.

Dress For Success

Another trick for an immediate confidence boost is to dress smartly. In fact, based on the case studies by Dr. Galinsky, the way you dress affects your performance.

Wearing clothes that make you feel intelligent, will also change the way you interact with others.

So put on your best suit or dress.

When you look good, you feel good about yourself. In fact, you'll observe that you carry yourself differently when you dress sharply.

"Clothes put the wearer into a different psychological state", Dr. Galisnky said.

So how do you dress for success and boost your self-confidence?

  • Wear clothes that fit
  • Dress appropriately for the season and occasion
  • Choose a dress style that is appropriate for your industry
  • Consider wearing simple yet classic clothing
self confidence

Be Genuinely Interested In Other People

Get out of your own head. Don't try too hard to be interesting. Instead, be interested in other people.

To appear more confident, focus on other people. Be interested in what they have to say. In doing so, you're able to get past your self-consciousness.

It's entirely possible to make people think you're more confident than what you actually feel. But these quick fixes are just that - quick fixes. They don't address the root of the problem.

Despite the immediate boost in confidence, you still suffer from social anxiety. You still have that gut-wrenching feeling whenever you have a conference or a client meeting.

Later, we'll give you a list of confidence building techniques that will help you stay confident in the long run. But first, here are a few tips for dealing with social anxiety.

Confidence Building Exercises For Social Anxiety

What if no one will talk to me?

I'm not an expert. What makes me think I can do this?

They will find out that I know nothing!

Have you ever had these thoughts run through your mind right before a conference? Then your heart starts to race and your hands become clammy.

This is what social anxiety feels like.

Many people experienced this at some point. The important thing is to not let anxiety stop you from being successful.

You need to learn to control your fears. And be comfortable with engaging with people.

Read on to find out how to manage your inner critic and control your fears.

Start Small

Don't immediately take on the challenge of a huge conference.

  • Start meeting with one or two people.
  • Attend small events, preferably within your comfort zone.
  • Slowly expand your network as you become more confident.

Prepare A Script

Not everyone has the ability to do an impromptu speech. So try creating a script.

For example, you're trying to pitch a proposal. First, you need to create a script to introduce yourself. Then prepare an elevator pitch.

Practice your script before the meeting. This gives you an idea of what to say. Additionally, it reduces any initial awkwardness.

In your script, also take into account possible questions. This helps you be more prepared.

Be Prepared

Besides preparing a script, you also need to plan ahead.

  • How are you going to get there?
  • What are you going to wear?
  • Do you need to bring additional documents?

Here's a tip: Visualize how the conference or meeting will turn out. Imagine the events so you're more familiar with them.

Understand the root of your anxiety

Practice self-awareness. Be mindful of your feelings. Understand what triggers your social anxiety. This allows you to effectively address the root cause.

Once you pinpoint your triggers, create an action plan. This may involve trial-and-error. Suppose your trigger is being in an unfamiliar location.

Then consider doing an ocular inspection before the date. In doing so, you'll be more familiar with the place. Nothing spikes social anxiety than being out of your comfort zone.

Feeling more confident about overcoming low self-confidence?

Confidence Building Exercises For Long-Term Success

We've all had bouts of insecurity. But it's up to us whether to let these insecurities hold us back.

The following techniques aren't going to magically make you self-confident. But making them a habit improves your confidence. In the long run, you're better equipped to address negative thoughts and self-talk.

Know When You're Being Self-Critical

One way to address your insecurities is to increase self-awareness. What does this mean?

You need to realize when your inner critic is doing the talking in your head. Pay attention to this negative voice. Once you're aware that you're criticizing yourself, try thinking of positive responses.

Having a hard time being self-compassionate?

Then think about what you would say to a loved one. How will you make them feel better if they are the ones struggling?

One thing you can do is to keep a list of your strengths.

In this list, you can write…

  • What you're good at.
  • Your accomplishments.
  • The things that need improvement.

By keeping your strengths in mind, you can easily come up with positive responses when negative situations arise.

Have A Growth Mindset

Having a hard time accepting criticism?

Think of criticism as someone's opinion. Don’t react defensively and don't let it affect how you view your abilities.

Take the criticism and use it to learn and improve.

Remember, you can continue to improve your abilities and talents.

Having a growth mindset means knowing that your abilities can improve. So don't be discouraged by setbacks. These are opportunities to grow.

In fact, according to neuroscience, connections in our brain get stronger with practice.

So the next time someone criticizes you, think of it as an opportunity to be better.

Practice Speaking

Have you ever listened to a TED Talk? The speakers always sound so confident and self-assured.

But do you think this comes naturally for most of them?

The secret to being able to project your voice with confidence is practice. Practice any speech or discussion beforehand.

You can practice with a buddy or alone in front of a mirror. Don't worry if you sound terrible the first time.

Want to know which parts need improvement? Try recording your voice.

You might discover that you've been saying a lot of "ums". Or maybe you've been speaking too fast. Recording your voice allows you to address problems.

With practice, you'll be able to project your voice confidently.

Be Prepared To Fail

Face it, you're not going to succeed in every task. So the trick is to be prepared to fail and keep trying anyway.

Take J.K Rowling as an example. Her manuscript was rejected twelve times before one publisher decided to pick it up.

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse was rejected over 300 times before one said yes. We wouldn’t have known the famous mouse if he stopped trying.

With every failure, you're better equipped to face challenges. For one, you can ask others for advice. More importantly, you can come up with new and more effective strategies.

Accepting that you're going to make mistakes allows you to give yourself space to grow.

So the next time you fail, think of it as a temporary setback. Take a deep breath and face the new challenge.

Seek A Strong Support System

According to Psychology Today, seeking social support helps deal with stress and low confidence. This reinforces the belief that you have people who care about you.

Surround yourself with family or friends who see your worth. Be with people who are understanding and compassionate. The next time you need a boost, let your support system know. And do the same for them.

In Conclusion

Building self-confidence takes time and effort. But it's not impossible. With these exercises, you can build your self-esteem and overcome challenges.

So think of your next client meeting or conference or any challenge you want to take on.

Know that it won't be easy. You will make mistakes. So be kind to yourself.

Give yourself a pep talk and go for it!