Gain Confidence by Writing Down Your Ambitions
The next time you're feeling a bit down on yourself, you can regain your confidence — and make a good impression on others — if you take time to write down your aspirations and ambitions, a new study reveals.
Writing about two paragraphs outlining your goals will help you feel more confident and energetic, Gavin Kilduff, an assistant professor of management and organization at New York University, says his research shows. That can be especially critical before entering a new group.
Individuals who used such an exercise to pump themselves up showed greater initiative during initial group discussions and appeared more competent to teammates, experiments with Adam Galinsky, a psychologist and professor at Columbia Business School, showed. In addition, that competence gave them a higher rank within the group.
Once you project confidence to the group and its members perceive you well, the effect can be lasting, they found.
Specifically, individuals who initially acted more confidently with the group set up patterns of assertive communications that continued and became self-reinforcing, they say.
"We thought the effect would be more fleeting," Kilduff says. "I was a bit surprised that it worked consistently."
Piera Palazzolo, senior vice president of Dale Carnegie Training, says that the experiment demonstrates how critical it is to show confidence when communicating if you want to be successful in your career.
"No one wants to admit that they're not confident," she says. "But you can improve it by mentally talking to yourself."
If you don't have time to write down your ambitions before going before a group, then mentally review your achievements and goals. That should help to boost your confidence level and help you not appear timid, she says.
Palazzolo has other tips to show off your confidence:
• Be prepared. "Confidence comes from knowing you've done your homework. You have to come into a group like you own it," she says.
That means whether you're networking for a new job or entering a weekly meeting, make sure you have done research so you're up on the latest news and prepared to discuss the issues thoroughly.
• Look the part. Keep your back straight, make eye contact and dress appropriately so others see you're confident before you say your first "hello."
• Show interest. "People love to talk about themselves, so ask questions," she says.
You can use the office break room as a chance to interact (read more here)