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7 Simple Steps to Improve Confidence at Work

Today’s corporate environment is a tough one. Amid generational differences (let’s face it, Boomers and Millennials don’t always see eye-to-eye), a recovering economy in which every dollar counts, and fancy new technology, it can seem almost impossible to keep up… much less get ahead.

If the tough workplace has dented your confidence, despair not: there are countless ways to strengthen your self-esteem and get noticed by superiors. To learn how to be more confident at work, read on for our 7 helpful tips.

Tip #1: Get Personal

It’s difficult to project confidence in a room full of strangers. So, make them not strangers. Each week, aim to chit-chat with one or two colleagues (or better yet, bosses.)

Keep it light, too: don’t waste precious time talking about project deadlines or fiscal year end budgets. Ask about hobbies, pets, how they like their coffee…anything to break down those walls.

As you reach a more intimate level with your colleagues, you’ll find it much easier to present in meetings and broach new ideas. You’ll find that others begin to look up to you, as you’re their new friend who showed interest in them.

Tip #2: How to Be More Confident at Work? Dress & Act the Part

No matter what you’re feeling inside, no one will take you seriously if your shoulders are slumped or your clothes look sloppy. You must dress and act the part in order to gain approval.

Consider investing in wardrobe enhancements; a black blazer is classic and professional. If your hair tends to look wild, by all means, pin it back. When speaking in meetings or with superiors, look them in the eye and project your voice.

The workplace is one place where outside appearances do make a difference. You’ll feel better about yourself, and that confidence will radiate outwards.

Tip #3: Humble-Brag About Your Accomplishments

Trust us: everyone else is bragging about themselves, so why shouldn’t you? The key is to be charming about it. Don’t stand around the break room and boast about the money you just saved the firm.

Instead, consider a weekly or monthly recap to the right people – your boss, for one – highlighting your biggest achievements in recent days. This will come in handy for year-end performance reviews, anyway, and it gives you a chance to ponder and record all the reasons you should feel accomplished (and confident!)

Tip #4: Chin Up, Dear

If you’re worried about how to be more confident at work, listen closely: the way you take, and implement, constructive criticism, is crucial to the way you’re perceived in the workplace.

Let’s say your boss pulls you into her office and says, “Great work on that marketing plan, but I think slide 3 leaves a lot to be desired. The data isn’t convincing. Let’s revamp it by end of today, okay?”

So you leave her office a bit wounded, and you have two options: the non-confident approach is to sit at your desk, shoulders slumped, stressed that you’re getting demoted, and stare at slide 3 for thirty minutes in a pit of despair.

The very confident approach? Take a deep breath, realize you’re not perfect, grab a cup of coffee, and fix slide 3. See the criticism from her point of view, and look at it with another set of eyes.

We can guarantee your superiors recognize this type of behavior, and it won’t go unnoticed when they think about your performance at year-end.

Tip #5: Build Your Skillset

To build confidence at work, build your skill toolkit, too! This means the active pursuit of certifications or academic degrees; conferences and CPE (continuing professional education); or even online skill-building classes, like a new data analytics tool.

Start by identifying both your weaknesses (public speaking, anyone?) and your future career interests. Outline those areas where you want or need development, and try to tackle a few.

The best part? Many companies reimburse employees for certifications and classes that relate to their daily job functions. That’s a benefit not to be overlooked!

Tip #6: And Then Put Those Skills on Display

What use is a toolkit of killer skills if you don’t demonstrate them? Remember, we encouraged you to humble brag, and this is the perfect time to do it.

Once you’ve taken that new data analytics course, take the initiative to set up a “lunch and learn” or other training opportunities for your colleagues. Stand tall, and proudly demonstrate all that you’ve learned.

The benefits are multi-faceted: not only will the company benefit by your sharing knowledge with others, but your confidence at work will skyrocket because suddenly, you’ll be a subject matter expert. Which is to say, a pro.

Tip #7: Lead Before You’re Asked

Don’t expect a confidence-building promotion to come at you by surprise. Many organizations expect employees to act like leaders before they get the official designation (and the pay raise!)

Ask your boss if there are training opportunities you can lead (for example, interns or new hires) or if there are additional projects that you can spearhead in your free time. This might be as simple as an Excel macro to automate a calculation, or a team outing so everyone can get to know the new joiner.

The extra leadership might require a bit of overtime here or there, but you’re working to build your future career, right? That takes hustle.

You Do Have the Power to Increase Your Confidence at Work

No matter your background or circumstances, you have the necessary resources to improve your self-esteem at work. Why? Because you are the only resource needed.

Take initiative, share your accomplishments, build your skill set, look the part: it’s all key to standing out (in a good way!) in the workplace.

For more tips on staying confident at work and home, check out the rest of our site. One day at a time, you can overcome the self-esteem and learn how to be more confident at work. We’re here to help!

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