First impressions are everything. The first few moments of meeting someone new can set the tone for the entirety of the relationship. This is especially true for women, who are often socialized to be accommodating and self-effacing.
But being confident doesn’t mean being rude or aloof. It simply means embodying your authentic self and owning your worthiness. Here are five tips to help you do just that.
1. Make Eye Contact and Smile
When you walk into a room full of people you don’t know, it can be tempting to lower your gaze and hope that no one notices you. But making eye contact and smiling is a nonverbal way of saying, “I’m approachable, and I’m happy to be here.” It’s also the first step in building rapport with someone new.
Making eye contact can be intimidating, especially if you’re not used to doing it. But here are a few tips:
- Make sure your gaze is steady.
- Look directly into the other person’s eyes.
- Hold the gaze for a few seconds, then break eye contact and look away.
- Repeat this process until the other person looks away or breaks eye contact first.
- Don’t stare; it can be overwhelming and creepy.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to make eye contact in a comfortable and natural way. Who knows, you might even enjoy it!
2. Perfect Your Smile
Smiling is another nonverbal way of indicating that you’re happy to be in the company of others. It’s also a sign of friendliness and approachability. So if you’re feeling nervous, take a deep breath and smile.
If you’re feeling particularly shy about your teeth due to aesthetic reasons, consider getting Invisalign clear aligners. Clear aligners can be a great way to achieve a straighter, more confident smile without anyone knowing you’re wearing braces. They are discreet and virtually invisible, so you can feel good about flashing your grin at social events.
Plus, clear aligners are comfortable and easy to wear. They won’t cause any irritation or soreness as traditional braces can. And since they’re removable, you can still enjoy your favorite foods and drinks.
3. Stand Up Straight
Your mother was right—standing up straight really does project confidence. When you walk into a room, imagine there is a string attached to the top of your head, gently pulling you upward. Not only will this make you appear more confident, but it will also make you feel more powerful—and who doesn’t want that?
But what if you don’t naturally have good posture? Here are a few tips to help train yourself to stand up straight:
- When you’re standing, pull your shoulders back and down.
- Keep your core engaged by imagining that you’re sucking your stomach in.
- Tuck your chin in slightly so your head is aligned with your spine.
- Make sure your weight is evenly distributed on both feet.
- Take deep breaths and hold them for a few seconds before exhaling.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to stand up tall and proud, no matter who’s watching.
4. Speak Up and Listen With Intent
Part of being confident is feeling like your voice matters. So when you’re in a group setting, make a point of contributing to the conversation instead of letting others do all the talking. This doesn’t mean you need to dominate the conversation (that’s not always fun for anyone involved). But by sharing your thoughts and feelings, you’re more likely to connect with others and feel like you’re part of the group.
On the other hand, there are conversations where you can tell that the other person isn’t really listening—they’re just waiting for their turn to speak. Don’t be that person! When someone is sharing something with you, give them your full attention. Not only will this make them feel valued, but it will also give you a chance to practice active listening skills, which come in handy in all sorts of situations.
5. Ask Questions
People love talking about themselves, so asking questions is an easy way to show interest in others and get them to warm up to you. And as a bonus, it gives you a chance to practice your listening skills! Just be sure to ask open-ended questions (ones that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no) so that the other person has a chance to really share their thoughts and feelings.
Some good openers are:
- What are some of your favorite books?
- What is your favorite thing to do on the weekends?
- If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
- What’s something that most people don’t know about you?
By asking questions, you’re showing that you care about getting to know the other person—and that’s a very confident thing to do.
Making a great first impression is important, but it doesn’t have to be difficult—or fake. By embodying your authentic self and owning your worthiness, you can project confidence without compromising who you are. Give these tips a try next time you’re meeting someone new—you might be surprised at how far they take you.