Image: Showbit

1. Dress the part.

Even if you don’t feel confident on the inside, you can still project an air of confidence with your wardrobe: Replace your usual sloppy, mismatched work outfits with sharper, more polished styles, and, if your everyday workbag and shoes are looking a little worn or just don’t channel a professional vibe, it’s time to ditch them for new ones. Of course, the outfits you choose should feel comfortable, but if you’re not sure about what looks good, stick to classic styles (think sleek shift dresses and tailored pant-suits).  

2. Smile, a lot.

Yes, even if you are having a tough day or consider yourself shy. Smiling not only improves your attitude and lifts your self-esteem (it’s that brain-body connection); it also conveys assertiveness, confidence and professionalism. The more you smile, the more positive and approachable you’ll come across – and you’ll find that other people want to be around you.

3. Alter your body language.

If you hunch a lot and tend to drag your feet when you walk, consider adopting a more confidence-boosting stance – stand tall with your shoulders back, lift your chin slightly, and move briskly with a spring in your step.

Want to project confidence for that big meeting? First, get into the right mind-set. Think of a past achievement that fills you with pride (it doesn’t matter whether it’s work-related or not). Now try to recall how good and powerful you felt at that moment. If you can “turn on” this same emotion every time you walk into the boardroom or the boss’ office, you will feel more empowered, and before long you’ll be oozing self-confidence.

4. Make eye contact.

Strong eye contact is a good indicator of confidence. It helps to establish a connection between two people, and it communicates a sense of honesty, sincerity and trust. Merely glancing at others, on the other hand, or looking all over the place during a conversation indicates shiftiness, a lack of confidence, and low self-esteem. The next time you’re in a discussion with your co-worker, client or boss, look into their eyes and try to hold their gaze for a few seconds. Repeat this move until you feel like you’re in control of the conversation. The more you do it the easier it becomes.

5. Mind your manners.

Well-mannered people are often perceived as confident and self-assured. When you treat your co-workers and bosses with respect, you earn their admiration, and they’re likely to treat you with respect, too. Having good manners encompasses many things, from saying “please”, thank you” and “good morning”, to knowing when to say “I’m sorry”, and expressing concern for others. It also means not gossiping, being able to keep confidential information a secret, and always considering others’ feelings and opinions.    

6. It’s in the way you talk.

Sounding confident is a skill, but it’s one that anyone can easily learn. First of all, it’s important to speak slowly and clearly – speaking too fast or mumbling indicates that you’re not sure about what you’re saying. Second, don’t articulate your statements as questions – if you want to share a thought, just tell it like it is and make sure that it sounds definitive. Third, avoid using filler phrases like “well”, “like”, “okay” and “you know”, or caveats like “This is just my opinion”, as these can disrupt a confident tone.

Want more advice? Read our story on 3 tips young Singapore women must know to advance in their new careers and 3 ways to practice mindfulness in the office. For more tips, head over to our lifestyle section.