What does it mean to put forth your best foot forward in the workplace? It all starts with confidence and owning the ways in which you present yourself, intellectually and personally. From what you say to how your style yourself, building your professional self-esteem can take your career to a new level, gaining you respect from your colleagues — and an increased sense of personal satisfaction — along the way.
If you’re trying to project authority and confidence in the workplace, you need to start with how you speak. Showing your knowledgeable starts with eliminating certain signal words and phrases from your vocabulary, such as “I think” or “sort of.” These are words that indicate uncertainty. Such language can undercut your arguments and reinforce your own low self-esteem. In a game of “fake it ’til you make it,” faking it starts with adjusting what you say.
It can be difficult to drop these words and phrases, sometimes referred to as crutch words, because they become a basic part of speech — they slip out of our mouths before we can even stop and think about it. Practice eliminating these vocal tics at home and don’t be afraid to use notes at work when presenting if you think it will help you speak with greater confidence. TV presenters and presidents have teleprompters, you can have notes.
How do you dress to go to work? Do you put on pressed clothes? Do you get regular haircuts? Though it may seem vain or unrelated to your professional confidence, how you physically present yourself in the workplace can really impact your overall performance.
There are two ways you can approach struggles with your physical appearance when it comes to self-esteem. First, you can try rethinking how you view yourself, focusing on the psychology of appearance and building your self-image around things you like about yourself. This is a cognitive behavioral approach to improved confidence and it can make a big difference in how you see yourself, even if nothing about your appearance actually changes. Changing how you think can transform how you feel.
The alternative to changing how you think about your appearance is changing how you look. That might mean getting your clothes tailored or joining a gym. Take the steps that will help you stand tall.
Just like the language you use or how you dress, how you naturally stand and sit when in professional settings can help you gain confidence in the workplace. For example, if you sit or stand in a slumped position, you’re closing yourself off to engagement and showing that you’re not an open, positive person. Good body language is everything in the office.
Not sure where to start beyond awkwardly shoving your shoulders back? Before your next meeting, take a moment out in the hallway to practice a power pose like the one Wonder Woman typically stands in. Put your hands on your hips, put your head and shoulders back, and take a deep breath. You can be your own superhero in the workplace with the simple stance.
Many people experience anxiety and low self-esteem in the workplace so if you walk into a meeting feeling less than your best, you’re probably not the only one. That alone should be enough to give you a little lift. Too many aspects of our world try to cut us down. Pick yourself up and own your professional presentation. It will make you a better leader and someone who’s happy to go to work each day.
Originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com