They have swagger, but they aren’t arrogant. They know nuance. They forego the strut. They have the magic “it” of quiet confidence. It seeps, not spews, and it seems to shine at just the right time.
Is quiet confidence a poise that’s purely natural, reserved for the born-that-way few, or is it something that anyone can develop?
Here are 7 things people with quiet confidence do. And you can learn to do them too.
Show up prepared.
Whether it’s a deal to close or a presentation to give, some people seem to slam dunk it every time. Sure, they dress smart. But there’s more to it. They come prepared. They don’t like to wing it. Though they probably could.
Do you get nervous about upcoming presentations? Good. So do they. Nothing lessens the nerves better than knowing you have great insights to share. In fact, it would still be great even if your voice shook the whole time. So, the next time you’re called upon to handle any nerve-inspiring situation, know that you’ll be better poised if you’re prepared.
Convey genuine interest in others.
Some people dominate the conversation. The only thing they seem to be listening to is the amazing sound of their own amazing voice. But people with the grace and poise of quiet confidence seem to be more interested in you than getting you interested in them. And it’s not fake. They seem genuinely interested because they are. The more they take interest in you, the more interesting they become to you.
Never speak ill of others.
Some years ago I worked in an environment where a certain person constantly pointed out the weaknesses of others. You’ve never met a person like that, have you? Even if she was right about some people on a few occasions, what do you think the general opinion of her became? Exactly.
Some people seem to have this basic idea that the way to look better is to make others look worse. However, they’re exposing their own insecurity. Quiet confidence chooses silence when given the opportunity to speak ill of others.
Understand social psychology.
It’s a soft science that makes sense and knowing even a little bit about it goes a long way. People with quiet confidence know the dynamics of a given group. They study the culture of the circles they influence.
They get to know the people. This way, they know what to say and when to say it. Or when to not say anything at all. They understand and take social cues. They use and understand body language — they speak and read it fluently.
Invest in the success of others.
We all want to be around people who are positive, speak well of others, and love to help. Don’t we? When people are confident in themselves, they lose nothing when they invest in others. A candle doesn’t lose any fire by lighting another candle. They close the deals and crush the presentations — but they want you to, too.
Stay in a lane.
They focus on their strengths because they’re in touch with their weaknesses. They can’t do it all so they stay where they shine and they seem to love it when others shine too. They decide to delegate and disappear if they aren’t as qualified as someone better qualified. They understand the power and benefits of teamwork and they’re satisfied to play their part to benefit the bigger picture.
Because they are lifelong learners, they soak it up. They aren’t threatened the words, “What if we tried it this way?” They seem enthusiastic about new ideas, even if those ideas didn’t originate with them.
So there you have it: seven things that people with quiet confidence do. And you can do them too.
Did you notice that most of these traits are others-focused? Did you notice the virtue of humility laced throughout these traits?
Moreover know this last thing: Confidence is mostly in your head. Everyone deals with some measure of self-doubt. But people with quiet confidence are able to relegate negative self-talk to the back. This is more than positive thinking, it’s rational positive thinking. All the traits of quiet confidence are rational, teachable, and doable.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Mark Jay Scott is the founder of Love Your Edge. Mark has been a writer and speaker for nearly 20 years, formerly as a radio personality for a major market FM station in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan region where he produced and hosted two weekly programs, Real Life Matters and Essential Radio; and excelled in copywriting and voiceover production for a wide variety of commercial advertisers. Mark loves to help people succeed by motivating them and showing them simple and practical ways to love and keep their productive edge in life and business. Connect with @markjayscott on Twitter.
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