Fake it Until You Become it
 

Fake it Until You Become it

By Daniel Seifert
Even the smallest of changes to how you move, smile and talk can supercharge your social interactions and make you more confident.

There’s an old saying that “clothes maketh the man.” But we believe confidence comes from something far more intrinsic: including the way you stand, speak and even look at someone.

For some of us, those behaviours don’t come easy.

For instance, 19% of Indians recently surveyed by Abbott felt that lack of confidence stands in their way of success. Yet with a few super-simple tweaks in behaviour, you too can have the tools to connect with anyone, and step confidently into any social interaction.

1. Stand confident, and you’ll act confident

We’ve discussed previously how posing confidently can trick your brain into releasing confidence-boosting testosterone. That’s the amazing finding of body language expert Amy Cuddy, who summarises her technique as “fake it until you become it.

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Here’s a power pose to play with. If you’re giving a presentation, try ending on a strong note with this stance — stand up, lean forward and plant your hands on the desk, which “shows others that you’re in a position of dominance.”

2. Power up your eye contact

Simply holding a steady gaze makes you appear far more intelligent to others, according to one psychological study. Scientists aren’t quite sure why — perhaps it’s because when someone’s eyes are locked on you, they are also perceived as a strong leader.

And for those who wear glasses, you can strengthen this high-IQ impression. Opt for glasses with thick frames — which have been proven to make people appear more intelligent, too. Maybe those thick-rimmed-spec wearing hipsters were onto something all along.

3. Connect with anyone by getting reflective

Take a look at yourself the next time you’re really enjoying a conversation with a close friend, particularly when you’re agreeing about something. You may find you’re mirroring each other’s posture, a common subconscious behaviour.

Remember this fact the next time you’re in a meeting with someone who’s opinion you wish to sway. Studies suggest that just by speaking slowly when they do, or speaking with your hands if they use a lot of gestures, you can in turn create rapport.

4. Grin and win

Our brains are primed to recognise smiles — it’s been proven we can spot one from 100 metres away. And researchers have learned that our brains remember smiling faces more easily.

Plus, the mirror effect is at work here too: when people grin at us, we tend to grin back — a small example of how easily you can spread a positive mood. So if you want to be more memorable and more likeable, flash those teeth.

5. Master the CEO’s baritone

Researchers also found something weird when they analysed the voices of 792 CEO’s: those with deeper voices ran bigger companies than those with high-pitched voices. They also earned US$187,000 more a year.

Biologically speaking, it makes sense — whether it is men or women, people with deeper voices are perceived as more dominant and trustworthy.

So play around with your own tone and see if you can develop a bit of bass. Here’s an uncanny trick: imagine yourself yawning before you speak, which accordingly, “opens up your deeper resonances.”

6. Don’t forget the basics

Quick question: What’s your posture like right now? We bet there’s a good chance you’re slumped over, rather than sitting up nice and straight. It’s a basic body language mistake most of us make, and one that can make you appear lazy and disinterested.

Amala Lodi, a lawyer, says, “I notice it particularly in my generation of Millennials. I think it’s all the hours that we spend sunk into our smartphones, head into our chest, interacting by text.”

Her solution? “Before an important meeting, I avoid my phone so I won’t slump into ‘smartphone posture’ — and so that I’m primed for face-to-face time.”

Caution: doing all of the above at once may well make you look slightly odd. But by trying out a couple of tips at a time, and becoming more aware of your body language and those around you, you’ll soon find that where your body goes, confidence follows.