How to tell if you’re confident

It often surprises my clients that they actually come across confidently when speaking.

As they were standing in front of the group they felt nervous and they were sure they came across this way. Some who feel nervous but don’t look that way are shocked to hear listeners report they didn’t see their nerves. Could this be? How could they feel so nervous but not look it?

Or are listeners just being kind in their feedback?

External feedback is a huge predictor of speaking confidence, as the Irish Times suggests in its article, How Self-Confidence Can Nurture Your Mental Health. Although the article is positioned to support youth, we adults do well to learn from it also.

How we view feedback (difficult to listen to, afraid to hear it, crave it, etc.) is commonly tied to how we feel about performance evaluations, let alone how we feel about social approval with online involvement. (see above article for details) All of these activities feed our confidence.

But as in the introductory example, sometimes we come across differently than we feel. How can this be?

Although there are times our external feedback may be flawed or biased (someone doesn’t wish to hurt our feelings or can’t see past our value), often the contrast in reactions is tied to our experience with getting feedback. If we aren’t used to hearing others speak about our confidence, we rely only on our feelings. If we aren’t used to reflecting on our own thoughts about how well we perform, we may allow external feedback to be the only indicator.

Fauzia Burke, in How to Project Confidence without Seeming Arrogant, suggests 4 tips for any of us to develop confidence. In my opinion, 3 of her tips rely on self-reflection – on being adult and self-aware.

How do you know if you’re confident?

  1. You’re willing to ask for feedback from others
  2. You’re willing to assess yourself, objectively

Leaders, speakers and careerists who exercise the 2 above tips will find more peace of mind, more pride and much more purpose in their work.

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On September 1st, 2015, posted in: affirmation, anxiety, confidence, feedback by