There’s more than one way to show confidence, but a new study says you should focus on this one.
Guest Post By Nora Battelle
Confidence is the key to success, according to new research from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology — especially if expressed nonverbally.
Nathan Meikle, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research and teaching associate at the University of Notre Dame, led the research. His team found that study participants consistently choose to work with confident potential collaborators or advisors over cautious ones. That shows, exuding confidence makes people want to work with you. This has been documented before: Research has shown that confidence increases our belief in someone’s competence.
What this new study reveals, however, is that confidence can backfire if it turns out to be overconfidence, or confidence lacking real basis. The revelation of someone’s overconfidence (when communicated verbally by the overconfident person) actually reversed study participants’ preferences to favor more cautious but realistic collaborators.
But interestingly, when confidence — even if it turned out to be overconfidence — was communicated through nonverbal cues, rather than verbal ones, participants did not reverse their preferences towards a cautious collaborator. The confident collaborators won out, whether or not their confidence was founded.
The study authors suggest this result stems from the plausible deniability of nonverbally expressed confidence. Nonverbal indicators of confidence, unlike verbal ones, don’t make exact promises. This makes them an ideal way for getting the benefits of displayed confidence, while avoiding displaying overconfidence.
These results have deeply practical implications. Expressing your confidence nonverbally can make colleagues and collaborators more likely to want to work with you – even when your confidence isn’t as rock-solid as it appears.
Below are some helpful tips on the kinds of nonverbal tactics that are good indicators of confidence. While far from the only forms of nonverbal confidence, these suggestions provide some excellent steps to take in the pursuit of exuding trustworthy confidence.
Adopt an expansive posture
Meikle explained this as postures like “hands behind head, legs/knees/feet spread apart, shoulders spread out” and similar poses. Showing you are comfortable taking up space physically means projecting confidence before you even open your mouth.
Make eye contact
Another nonverbal confidence indicator is eye contact. Older research has also found eye contact can project sincerity, facilitate trust and even increase perception of intelligence. It’s a powerful step to take when you are looking to build positive professional relationships.
Give a firm handshake
A firm handshake is a key indicator of confidence. It’s simple, silent and effective.
Speak in a strong voice
An “assertive/loud/confident voice,” according to Meikle, is another powerful means of expressing confidence. Speaking audibly and clearly, avoiding mumbling or trailing conclusions to your sentences will help communicate you are the one for the job / project.
Now you can use these confidence tips and our Resources to approach your boss about switching to remote work, or to level up in your business.
Originally posted on Thrive Global.
Written by Nora Battelle, Multimedia Staff Writer at Thrive Global.