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How can we look and feel more confident?

Posted in Communication skills,Featured,Personal Effectiveness by Rashmi Datt on October 23rd, 2011

Appearing confident starts with posture. Body language is the first thing people read about you. A hunched position conveys insecurity or fear. Straight shoulders, holding the head high with shoulders pushed back makes others perceive us as more confident.

 There are times when we are unsure of ourselves. Particularly before people who intimidate us-like super cool friends, or before entering the interview room, or a party full of people you don’t know. And we want to come across as assured and confident.

 When Nelson Mandela was imprisoned in Robben Island for eighteen years, he was confined to a small cell, with the floor as his bed, and a bucket for a toilet. He performed hard labour in a lime quarry. He was allowed one visitor and one letter every six months. One can imagine this would be enough to make a person feel insignificant and depressed. But when Mandela walked across the courtyard, he was always upright and proud. The prisoners who were with him said that Mandela’s presence was so inspiring that  it kept them going for days.

 Mandela later admitted to his biographer Richard Stengel that the reality was he was often afraid, but knowing that others were watching him, he was conscious that his bearing and image needed to send signals that he was fearless and determined. It was during his prison term that he became widely known as the most significant black leader in South Africa. He thus succeeded in not only reassuring others’ faith in him as their leader, it must have also given him the resolve to continue his mission of challenging apartheid.

 So here is an easy thing to do. When you feel unsure or nervous, stretch your chest and imagine a string on the top of the head pulling your upper body towards the ceiling. And remember what Muhammad Ali once said, ‘To become a champion, you must first look and act like a champion.

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