This is a special guest post by my good friend, Razwana Wahid. Please join me in giving Razwana a very warm and gracious welcome.

We all know the guy.

The one that glides into a room like he owns it already. Everyone thinks he rocks.  He stands tall. His attire is impeccable. And when he talks to you, you feel important.

It’s effortless.

You know that if we were under attack and he was leading the battle, we’d all survive.  And so would the neighbour’s dog.

You just know it.

Wouldn’t you love to have confidence like that?

The bad news is that you can’t. Not instantly. Not before taking some action.

And that’s the good news.

Whether you want to:

– Talk to the girl you’ve liked for months

– Ask your boss for a raise in salary

– Nail your next interview

Your confidence levels dictate how you approach each of these situations, and your likelihood of success.

Before we dive in, let’s get something straight.

Confidence is a facade.  Confident people do not *feel* confident before they do something.

And another thing.

Confidence comes after the act, not before.

I’ll repeat that:

Confidence comes after the act, and not before.

We will come back to this.

Being a confident person brings you better social skills. And better social skills means you are liked, recommended, and get what you want.

“But no!” I hear you whine.

“I don’t care if people don’t like me.”  Breaking news. It matters. A lot. How many people do you hang out with, or recommend, that you hate?

“It’s not what you know, but who you know.” Perhaps it is. But how do you get to know more people? That’s right, by increasing your confidence and improving your social skills.

“Who cares what people think? It’s how you feel about yourself that matters.” Yes, there’s a time and place for this. But when you’re at a job interview, how much do you care about what the interviewer thinks of you?

So how is this mysterious confidence built? You don’t wait to ‘just feel more confident’.

There’s a little bit of faking, and a little bit of practice.

The practice

First, do think about how you feel about yourself. Notice what you do that either comes across as confident, or not.

– Do you turn up your voice at the end of a sentence so it sounds like a question?

– Do you slouch or have bad posture?

– Do you talk too fast or not smile when you are listening to people (I’m guilty of both these and am adamant to improve).

Don’t just sit and ponder. Gather evidence. Ask a trusted friend to observe you and give you feedback. Audio / video record yourself and take note of what you want to change.

– If you do talk to fast, make it a conscious effort to slow down. Have you noticed how people that command authority talk slowly?

– If you don’t make eye contact, make the decision to. Start with your friends.

– Do you interrupt people when they are mid-sentence?  Practice patience and listening. People like people who listen to them.

The faking

Confidence doesn’t come naturally. So fake it until it starts to feel natural.

Fake it by doing things like:

– All of the above points you said you would improve

– Dress well and stand tall. When was the last time you made an effort with your appearance and felt crappy?

– Put yourself in situations where your skills are challenged. Walking up to a girl in a bar once is tough. The tenth time, not so much.

Over to you:

What have you done to improve your confidence? What worked? What didn’t?

About the Author:

Razwana Wahid is the founder of Your Work Is Your Life, a movement created around finding wildly wonderful work and a courageous career path you’re truly passionate about.  Read more at http://www.yourworkisyourlife.com and follow her on Twitter: @razwanawahid.

Photo Credit: OttoKristensen