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Everyone can afford to feel a little more confident. If you’re going into a job interview, confidence will make you seem like a more professional, experienced candidate. If you’re on a date, greater confidence will make you more desirable and easier to talk to. If you’re making a sale, confidence will speak volumes about the products and services you offer. And if you’re involved in a negotiation, your confidence will help you win a more favorable bargain.
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The problem is, most of us have a “natural” confidence level, depending on the situation. You might be naturally confident when you’re competing in a sporting event, or naturally unconfident when meeting new people for the first time. There’s virtually no way to make yourself more “naturally” confident (short of getting more practice), but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a few tricks to give yourself an edge.
Confidence is a feeling, and like any feeling, it can be manipulated to a degree. These tricks are designed to force yourself to feel more confident –even if you don’t “naturally” feel that way:
1. Listen to bass-heavy music.
It might annoy you when you hear it blasting from the car driving down your street, but bass-heavy music can actually trick your mind into feeling more confident. In a recent study, job-interview candidates who listened to bass-heavy rap music ended up exhibiting more confidence and performing better than those who didn’t.
Presumably, this effect is not limited to rap music; any music with prominent, heavy bass tones can aid you in achieving this effect. Before your next interview (or meeting, or any event, really), pop on some headphones and listen to your heaviest playlist.
2. Groom yourself.
This one might be obvious, but read into the mechanics here. When you need some extra confidence, head to a mirror and apply some makeup, fix your hair and otherwise nitpick your appearance a bit.
This isn’t about looking better to other people (though it can help); it’s about looking better to yourself. Making yourself more pleasing to your own eyes can make you feel more confident, giving you the boost you need to navigate your next course of action successfully. All it takes is a few minutes and a minimal investment of effort.
3. Take a “power posture.”
We generally think about our body language as being a reflection of our thoughts and feelings, but as it turns out, the opposite is also true. Our posture can have a significant effect on our internal dialogue; and if harnessed properly, it can be used to trick yourself into feeling more confident.
Related: 8 Ways to Boost Your Confidence
According to a TED talk by psychologist Amy Cuddy, a “power posture” pose, held for several seconds to several minutes, can increase your confidence in almost any situation. What is this “power posture”?
It’s a stance that makes you feel bigger, such as one where you extend your arms over your head in a victory stance or put your hands on your hips with your elbows flared out. Try it in private the next time you get anxious about something.
4. Do something you’re good at.
You probably already realize that confidence is rarely confined to one isolated event. If you have a job interview in the morning and you nail it, you might end up feeling confident the rest of the day.
On the other hand, if you drop the ball on a sales presentation, you might feel unconfident for a while. Get ahead of this process by doing something ahead of the event that you know you’re good at.
For example, you could play some guitar before driving into work, do some shadow-boxing in the bathroom before an interview or perform a magic trick for one of your coworkers before going on that sales call. This will help you walk in with much greater confidence.
5. Remember a powerful moment.
This trick stems from the same idea as the previous one; your mental state isn’t limited to being a result of the here and now. If you need an extra boost of confidence, visualize yourself in a past moment where you actually did have confidence, or you felt powerful.
For example, imagine yourself hitting that high note in the karaoke bar, or putting your foot down when negotiating the price of your car. Let yourself feel embedded in that moment; even if it’s only a visualization, the residual effects on your confidence will be powerful.
Try these confidence tricks the next time you have a nerve-wracking presentation coming up, or a hard sales call scheduled or an awkward social encounter to worry about. You’ll be amazed at what a difference such a simple set of actions can make.
Also keep in mind that these are short-term solutions to help you feel more confident in the moment; if you’re interested in increasing your long-term confidence (or your “natural” confidence), there are ways to accomplish that too. Unfortunately, the long-term effort will likely be more difficult and intensive, but the premise is simple: Take whatever situation you want to be more confident in, and rehearse it, over and over, until you start to feel more comfortable.
Related: 10 Things Confident People Don’t Do
It really is that simple. In the meantime, use these tricks to close the gap between how confident you are and how confident you want to be.