One. Plan Ahead
Whether you're in a private conversation or at a company-wide town hall,
the most important thing you can do is make yourself heard, loud and clear.
This can be daunting for an introvert—and for the rest of us. The key: preparation.
If you're interviewing for a job, review the posting and take advantage of the whole Googleplex of information about your prospective company.
If you're attending a staff meeting, check the agenda. Going on a date?
Plan some talking points, even if they're just about some favorite TV shows or movies.
Feeling prepared will put you at ease, and that will boost your confidence.
Two. Make Eye Contact
If someone looks at you while you're talking, you're more likely to think he or she is smart.
"Good eye contact means the other person is responsive to what you are doing or saying,"
says Bogdan Wojciszke, PhD, a professor of social psychology at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Poland.
"If he is not responsive, this means that either you are dull or he is dumb.
No wonder that, having such a choice, most of us prefer to think that he is dumb."
This perception may be grounded in truth: Researchers at Brandeis University found that
conversationalists who maintained eye contact scored higher on IQ tests than those who avoided someone's gaze.
Three. Strike a Power Pose
Here's a telling bit of business science:
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab concluded that
they could accurately predict the outcome of any negotiation, sales call, or business pitch 87 percent of the time without hearing the conversation.
How? By observing the speaking-listening ratio, interruption patterns, and body language.
How open or closed your posture is conveys how open or closed you are to the physical, mental, and emotional advances of others.
Openness can convey confidence. To project self-assurance in a meeting, adapt an open, expansive pose.
Sit up straight and leave your arms widely spread on the table or at your sides.
(This also works if you're trying to attract someone's eye.)
If you're worried about projecting confidence, run through a couple of power poses—
such as standing with your hands on your hips or using them to lean on your desk—in your office or the bathroom before your event.
Research from social psychologist Amy Cuddy, PhD, has shown that holding these postures for just two minutes can lower stress and increase feelings of power.