5 Ways to Instantly Appear More Confident

Today I’m going to teach how you to appear more confident.

Why?  Because confidence is one of the most important skills in life that you can acquire (other than learning to use the Force, obviously).

Now, I’m not teaching you this stuff just so you can become some sleazy pickup artist. I’m teaching you because I know how important even a little bit of confidence can be in everyday situations, whether it’s negotiating with your boss for a raise, buying a car, giving a presentation, or meeting your fiance’s parents.

We’re naturally attracted to and will have our opinions swayed by those who have (or appear to have) a lot of confidence.  Nerds usually get the short end of the stick in the “naturally confident” department, but that doesn’t mean we can’t acquire it like a new skill, Matrix-style!  If you’ve started losing weight, I’m sure part of you still feels like the old you, even if you’ve changed physically – it’s time to take pride in yourself and truly be comfortable in your own skin.

Here are five steps that you can take to start seeing a difference immediately.

Stop slouching

If you can develop good posture, a trait that always seems to bypass nerds, you’ll appear approximately 145% more confident within seconds (I definitely made up that stat, by the way).

I used to have awful posture through most of my life (which caused lots of lower back pain). It wasn’t until I made a conscious effort to focus on standing up straight and strengthening my lower back that the pain went away.  In order to stay on target, I actually hung a “POSTURE!” post-it on my bedroom door so I wouldn’t forget each morning.  Here’s how you can get started:

  1. Stand up as TALL as you can, like you’re a puppet and somebody just pulled the string that’s attached to the top of your noggin
  2. Pull your shoulder blades down and back as far as possible – This will feel really weird if you spend a lot of time hunched over a desk
  3. Pick your chin up and look straight ahead – stop looking down while walking around, there’s a whole world out there for you to see

If you have trouble pulling your shoulder blades back, try doing two back exercises (say, lat pull downs and dumbbell rows) for every one chest exercise in your workout.  This will build up the muscles in your upper back and allow you to actually pull those shoulder blades back together.  Want something easier?  Try standing with your heels, butt, and head against a wall, and then pull your shoulder blades back until they’re touching the wall too.  Do this daily and increase the length of the stretch each time.

If you spend all day in a chair, try this: sit down in your chair, and then stand back up WITHOUT having to rock forward.  If you have to lean forward even slightly, you’re doing it wrong. Sit straight up like you’re always ready to stand without having to lean forward.  Your lower back will probably get tired as hell sitting like this because it’s not used to the new position – work on it.  Do planks every other day (working your way up to two minutes), and you’ll have a rock-solid core and incredibly strong lower back.

This is probably the hardest step of all, as you’ve probably spent years and years developing poor posture without even thinking about it.  Spend a month making a concerted effort to have better posture however, and you’ll be well on your way to a more confident appearance.  Pretty soon you won’t even have to think about it!

Slow down

I am terrified of public speaking. Seriously, I hate being in front of even a small crowd.  However, at my old job I was put on stage in front of thousands of people to introduce bands and I sounded like I belonged up there.  You know how I did it?  By taking a deep breath, slowing down, and practicing.  I still get really nervous, but I’ve learned to manage it so well that nobody notices.

What’s the importance of slowing down?  When you get nervous, your voice tends to go up a few notes and you’ll talk faster than you realize.  These are two dead ringers for “scaredy cat.”

I’ll never forget presenting my senior business proposal back in college. About thirty seconds into my presentation – which I thought was going well – I noticed my friend Deepa in the back of the room frantically waiving her arms at me, mouthing “SLOOOWWW DOWNNNN.”  I quickly readjusted my speech, talked WAY slower than I thought I needed to, and took longer breaths between sentences.  She later told me that she couldn’t understand the beginning at all but the rest of it came out perfectly.  The rest of that class was molded by that presentation, so thanks Deepa for saving my ass!

If you get nervous in front of people no matter how big or small the group, talk slower than you think you need to, and don’t forget to breathe.  In your head it might seem way too slow, but out loud it’s just right.

Smile

People don’t smile enough these days, so we’re bringing it back.  When dealing with any situation or scenario where you’re uncomfortable, it’s easy to get caught up in your head, which means you probably have a stupidly sad look on your face.  Pretty soon, you’ll develop the reputation of “that creepy guy in the corner who smells like cheese.”  Now, if you don’t smell like cheese, you’re already halfway home!

We’ll just work on the other half: smile.

Not a fake smile, not a creepy smile, but a genuine smile.

Don’t know how to smile correctly?  Stand in front of a mirror, close your eyes, and look down.  Look up, smile, and open your eyes at the same time.  See that smile right there?  THAT’S a genuine smile.  Just like Butters.

Win the staring contest

Unless you work at home in your underwear and only interact with your cat (my day is way different than that – shut up), you probably have quite a few conversations with people on a daily basis:

  • Your coworkers at the water cooler
  • The lady behind the counter at CVS
  • Your waitress at lunch
  • Random strangers that you pass on the street.

When was the last time you looked somebody in the eye until THEY looked away first?  If you’re like me, you’ve probably always been the first to “flinch.”

I say no more!

Starting right now, you’re going to be the person that doesn’t look away.  Think of each interaction as a mini-battle – your eyes against theirs.  As long as you’re smiling and blinking, you won’t come across as creepy…unless, of course, you’re actually a creep.  If you’ve always been shy, the first few times doing this will be absolutely nerve-wracking – power through it.  Once you start to be the non-flincher consistently, you’ll quickly learn that everybody else is nervous as hell too and will quickly look away given enough time.

Get out of your head

After going through some physical changes, it’s going to take time for you to adjust how you feel on the inside versus how you look on the outside. I sometimes still feel like the 5-foot, 100-pound high-school sophomore with braces even though I haven’t looked like that for over a decade.  I have friends who used to be fat guys who still feel huge even though they have a single digit body fat percentage.

It’s time to stop living inside your head.

If you feel out of place in a situation, everybody around you probably does too. We all have our own insecurities; it’s those of us that can exist outside of our brains and project confidence that usually get what we’re chasing.  As a fellow nerd and chronic over-thinker, I know this is tough to do: stop thinking so damn much and just go for it.

  • Once you spot somebody you’re interested in, don’t give yourself more than three seconds before approaching him/her.  Anything beyond that will cause you to over-analyze the situation in your head and probably end up doing nothing.  You’ll quickly learn that “if you don’t ask, the answer is always no,” so you have nothing to lose.
  • Introduce yourself immediately to strangers at a party – get the awkward out of the way immediately, and you’ll come across as cool and collected.
  • Once you have your speech or presentation prepared, don’t give yourself hours to get nervous – concentrate on something else to occupy your mind until it’s time to present.  Don’t over-think, just follow the plan and talk slowly.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.”

I bet those three things listed above seem scary to 95% of the population (they all scare the bajeezus out of me, which is precisely why I force myself to do them).  Part of building confidence is taking risks and having the ability (and the guts) to do stuff that scares you.

Your mission

As you follow these five steps, you’ll start to appear more confident, which will make some of your encounters more successful, which will instill more confidence in you, which will then make even MORE of your encounters successful, and so on.  Think of your confidence like a giant snowball with lots of inertia – tough to get started, but once it’s rolling the momentum will take over.

Your homework for today - while walking down the street with your head held high, shoulders back, and a big smile on your face, make direct eye contact with at least five strangers that walk by and give them a simple “hi.”  Remember, they have to be the ones to look away first, not you.

The first few times will feel really awkward, but who cares – you’ll never see them again.  As you get more “missions” under your belt, you can progress to other more challenging objectives, like striking up a conversation with a stranger, giving a speech, robbing a bank, etc.

One last thing: with great power comes great responsibility. There is a fine line between having confidence and being cocky – nobody likes the cocky guy who is full of himself, so cool it with the cheesy pick up lines, stories proclaiming your awesomeness, and creepy seduction techniques.  Fear and nervousness are easy to detect, but so is being transparently fake.

Don’t change what you are, just learn to be more confident in who you are.

So, what tips did I miss or mess up? Any other words of wisdom to pass along?  Us nerds need all the help we can get!

-Steve

###

photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo

Get The Rebel Starter Kit

Enter your email and we’ll send it right over.

  • The 15 mistakes you don’t want to make.
  • The most effective diet and why it works.
  • Complete your first workout today, no gym required.
  • These are the tools you need to start your quest.
  • Pingback: Hope + Action = Win | Nerd Fitness

  • Pingback: How to Conquer Any Fear You Have | Nerd Fitness

  • Pingback: Be Prepared for Everything, Do Anything | Nerd Fitness

  • Pingback: How to Live and Train Like a Spartan Warrior | Nerd Fitness

  • Pingback: 20 Ways to Be Better at Life TODAY | Nerd Fitness

  • Aaron

    i think the reason i havent been so confident, among other things, is i hate cocky people, i have always tried to be humble and i am so much that it results in lack of confidence, i really want to change that though

  • Pingback: Get Off Your Ass: It Could Save Your Life! | Nerd Fitness

  • nick

    When driving, I always put my car seat bolt upright, so I have no choice but to have good posture. It becomes quite comfortable after a while, and helps with posture elsewhere.

  • Pingback: Nerd Fitness: How to conquer your fears - TNW Lifehacks

  • Pingback: Nerd Fitness: How to conquer your fears | Aechmedia1 Every Day Fresh news for You

  • Pingback: Nerd Fitness: How to live & train like Spartan warrior - TNW Lifehacks

  • Pingback: Nerd Fitness: How to live and train like a Spartan warrior | Aechmedia1 Every Day Fresh news for You

  • Porkyporky000

    they seem to be more feasible than the other articles I have read on being more confident. Its so true that until and unless u present urself and be the first one to speak everyone else will think that he/she is such a socially awkward person with no stint of confidence in oneself. Thanks for the tips!

  • Bobmarley

    Hey thanks, really good tips, I think I’ll try the “homework” today lol.

  • Janedoe

    THANKS STEVE I WILL TRY YOUR TIPS I AM A HAIRSTYLIST AND I GET REALLY NERVOUS TALKING TO PEOPLE BUT I DO TRY EVERYONE TELLS ME THAT I Do Not APPEAR CONFIDENT AND I REALLY AM CONFIDENT BECAUSE I LOVE MY JOB AND DO ALOT OF RESEARCH SO I CAN HELP PEOPLE properly Take care of their care but know i can show it

  • Gothicotaku26

    Can you please help me out appearing more cheerful? I got denied a job opportunity because I seemed uninterested/not into it or cheerful. My self esteem is pretty low and I’m dealing with alot right now… I’m 20 years old >_< I just want to put on a pokerface so I can finally get a job even if I don't like it I just need the income please help me. My email is [email protected] please give me your advice.

  • Babyboom

    OMG! I enjoy reading your text a lot.
    It fires me up and it’s practical cuz I can imagine everybody who believe in yourself can do. :))

    Big thanks!

  • Pingback: How To Be More Confident | Stellar Beam

  • Insecure Dude.

    Great article!! It all rings true, and I have to wonder why I never thought of it before. lol. Can’t wait to give it a go.

  • http://modernseducer.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/how-to-be-more-confident-article-series-1-the-concepts-of-just-being-yourself-and-failure/ Mark Armstrong

    It is interesting how simply posture changes, standing up straight and intentionally manipulating your body language can actually have a physiological impact on ones ability to learn how to be more confident. Good article

  • Someone

    LOVE THIS!!!!!!!! I don’t think i will succeed, but i will definately try.

  • Neely

    Dear Steve
    I happened to read your article exactly when I needed it most .By just smiling and eye contacting, it has changed things in days I know I have to practice it  and do more things but at least you get me started. 
    .Thanks for this great job.

  • Subas

    I hope you would be fit and confident at the same time!

  • Dynastick

    Im a scarycat everyone knw me @ work oh tht African guy shy hes crazy no confidence always cut conversion short pls help..very nerds.

  • Pingback: A Newbie’s Guide To Nerd Fitness | Nerd Fitness

  • Buyondo Henry24

    It works It works! Thanks!!!!

  • Kaitlyn

    Hello, I am in middle school right now, and I am struggling to be more “out going”. This article just put a smile on my face. I was sitting outside waiting for my mom to pick me up. My boyfriend, still a crush then, took a glance at me while I was sitting on the concrete, knees folded, head tucked into my arms. He later had asked me why I looked so sad. Its just terrible that I have become this self-concious person. If ANYONE has any further advice for me, please reply. :)

  • Pingback: Are You Collecting a Pile of Underpants? | Nerd Fitness

  • Pingback: Confident Female Breadwinners « rockingyourrole

  • Pingback: A Brand New Site, Time Travel, and a Mega Sale | Nerd Fitness

  • Jasmine

    THANK YOU!!!!!

  • http://subliminalcd.net/ Dave Cleary

    Self negative talk is something which can destroy our confidence on a daily basis. If we can stop this negative talk then we stand a good chance of becoming more confident in the long run. I think we can access the subconscious by using affirmations http://subliminalcd.net/build-self-confidence/ and these can change the way we think and so improve our confidence in the near future.

  • Emofromidis

    Dude you are genious (Y)

  • jason

    Thank you so mush steve :) im gona practice this everyday xD

  • Martin_2012

    Hi guys

    I’ve just spent the last 15 to 20 minutes reading all the comments, after the articles. I totally understand what you mean, about the eye contact. This is going to sound stupid, but I feel like making eye contact too much with anyone makes you come across as liking them, regardless of sex. That sounds stupid right? Many people have less self esteem and no confidence due to the fact that they have had knock backs in the past or the way they were brought up. Your article is full of inspiration, and I can guarantee anyone who tries this and follows these tips. Will not just become more confident and outgoing in their job…but will also appear 10 times more appealing to the opposite sex. Many guys seem to forget that women aren’t as bothered about looks as we all think, and that confidence prevails the winner. To do this though, i’d say you need to take a good hard, long look at yourself and stop putting yourself down. I got told by my ex that I had really nice eyes…reflecting on that statement it has made me realise that I have not been showing off my best features (as I have not been making much eye contact in the past). The reason i’m telling you this, that we all have a good feature. By showing off that feature you can captivate that persons attention, and become distinctly more appealing to the opposite sex. Apologies for babbling on…i’m like you guys I over analyse…I don’t know if its a nerdy trait or not. You are completely right about over analysing the situation and not doing anything about it. You can make it a challenge for yourself, to prove that you can fight your fears. Hope that helps guys ;)

  • Zee_aquariush

    awesome post……gonna start implementing these tips soon….thank u :)) 

  • Pingback: 5 Ways to Instantly Appear More Confident | Nerd Fitness | Coconut and Steak

  • arjun

    great post i really loved it but you have not said about body language ie about hands movement etc this should be included …………. any way thank u…………

  • Joy Ann

    Thanks a lot for the advice ! it was just the kick in the butt i needed !

  • Pingback: A Hobbit's Guide to Walking | Nerd Fitness

  • Celidah

    Might I chip in and add a suggestion? Get rid of filler words & phrases in your daily conversation. I’m talking about “um,” “you know,” “like,” and so on. It’s Speech Class 101, I know, but since I’ve started cutting back on the filler in my own conversation, the effect has been striking. I feel more well-spoken, and in turn more confident in public situations, both social and in public speaking situations.

    It does take a lot of practice and self-awareness–I still hear an “um” or “you know” slip into my own speech–but it’s a good habit to develop for boosting confidence. And if you need more motivation than that, watch this awesome video to be inspired to speak well. (link is SFW)

  • Christy

    Where was this when i needed it most!?? (My whole life, so far). I’ve no confidence. I don’t believe in myself, says my husband, and overanalyze way too much. I get compliments left and right-even from complete strangers- on how pretty i am, but I honestly never can allow myself to believe them. I am talented, and I know this, but constantly doubt myself when confronted with strangers or just people in general. Hence I feel like I’m a 25 year-old who is unaccomplished. Anyway, enough with the whining and negativity, THANKS SO MUCH FOR THIS and I’m definitely going to try this and make it a habit in my every day life!

  • Confetticasey

    Ehmagawd!
    That was ah-mazing!
    I am gonna try to do each step one at a time..
    And hopefully I won’t seem like the ivy little mouse that I usually seem like. This really helped me:) Thanks so much :D

  • Kat

    Thanks for the article! Loved your sense of humor :D

  • Pingback: Doug Funnie and the Inspiring Life | Nerd Fitness

  • Shanilla

    Awesome :D loved the staring contest- part!
    I think that….
    Shyness = being socially slow
    Since it takes a bit of time to trust other people… in order to show the something about yourself (opinions, your humour etc) Since you fear how others will react. So, you may fear to reveal your best jokes … or even open your mouth! When you are talking to your friends, you know that you can trust them and you are funny and clever -as always ;)
    BUT! When you are with strangers, skip the fear! You can just assume that the other people are nice and funny and they want to be your friends. Lie to yourself, if necessary! -> You are going to be much better company when you are not afraid and you are confident and smiling :)
    People are like mirrors, when you smile, they will smile back :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/ldrichel Leah Drichel

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this!!!! I JUST posted a blog on my page about how I feel so confident now because of my new healthy lifestyle…but I haven’t yet figured out how to translate this to business interactions. This is EXACTLY the sort of help I needed.

  • Pingback: Well Lived, Well Loved, Well Played | Nerd Fitness

  • Pingback: Lost and Found: Ryan’s 115 Pound Weight Loss Journey | Nerd Fitness

  • http://www.facebook.com/irving.chris Chris B-Loq Irving

    This is a really good suggestion, and the simple act of slowing down will make this easier. A timely pause will project more gravitas than “um”s and “er”s. On a related note, I’d strongly recommend taking a few improv (improvised theatre/theatresports) classes, if you can find one in your area. It’s a superb way of building your confidence in a safe environment (everyone else there feels just as silly) – I’ve been doing it for years, but noticed a difference in myself after only a session or two. It’s great fun too!