What I Learned From Faking Confidence At Work

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Most of us are constantly using our voices at work. Asking for help, asking for clarification, gossiping about the weekend. But some people find it more difficult to speak up at work than others. And that’s not a bad thing at all. If you prefer to just get on with it, you’ll go just as far as your extroverted colleagues.

I find it difficult to ask for what I want. I won’t lie. Speaking up and getting to the point aren’t easy. It’s not that I’m an introvert, just that I lack that little push of confidence to cut to the chase. I watch my colleagues banter and go for drinks and I wonder if I should try harder to speak up and fit in. I’m new, so everything is a little scary. But I decided to fake it for a week. Here’s what I learned…

#1 Speaking up helps people figure you out

Even the best manager won’t be able to help you out if you aren’t speaking up. People probably thought I was the new girl that was shy. After I joined in with a few jokes and told my manager about the things I struggled with, people seemed to greet me with a smile.

My job got a lot easier. People now had a better idea of what kind of person I was, and what my strengths were.

#2 You won’t get what you don’t ask for

Nobody is a mind reader. Even if you’re just hoping for an invite to the after-work drinks, they probably think you have better things to do.

Be explicit about the work that you want, and be ready to back up your request with reasons why you’re the best person for the task. It’s hard, but if you’re in the ‘fake it’ mindset, it’s easier. Sasha Fierce it.

#3 It’s not easy to fake it

No, it’s not. Especially when you’re second guessing your every move. But, if you just start with ten minutes of ‘faking it’ a day, it becomes easier to talk openly. In the office, you need to forget the fact that you don’t know anybody because you’ll need to talk to them and ask them questions and might even get into disagreements sometimes.

Faking my confidence was a hit. Co-workers were saying there was something different about me. And I actually felt more positive. I started to think I wasn’t faking it anymore.

#4 You’ll be surprised by how much you grow

No, I’m not saying you won’t go far if you’re not confident. And I certainly wasn’t, but I gave it a good go. And nothing terrible happened. I stumbled over my words the first few times I was doing something outrageous like asking my boss why we were doing what we were doing. But by the end of the ‘fake it’ week, I feel like a much stronger part of the team.

I haven’t stepped on anybody’s toes and…guess what. I am going for after-work drinks!

 

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  • Elishia Chave

    This is a great article! I used to be super confident when I was younger, but I only now do I realise that I was just good at acting (I even had myself fooled). I’ve spent the last couple of years being terrified but I’ve put my ‘fake it’ hat back on and it feels better. Soon, when I get to know people better, it won’t be faking it!

    http://www.englishgirlinnewyork.org

    • Imaan

      That was exactly like me! When I was younger I used to do all the drama productions and speak to everyone and smile all the time and now I honestly can’t do it anymore. I’m trying to; but I’m finding it quite difficult. What helped you? :-)

      • Elishia Chave

        I just put myself in a position where I had to take charge or fail (as a performing arts teacher). It was super scary and I had sleepless nights in the lead up but I found that once I forced myself into that position I didn’t freak out and although I was second guessing my every move for weeks, I soon realised that others weren’t. I’m not sure that helps!

  • I did not fake it at work, I did it all the time and the results were surprising. It does take a lot of time and courage to do it, but it is so much worth it.

    Cristina

  • Imaan

    I’m trying to be more confident through my conversational skills and speaking to people but I always overthink before I say something and I’m just so nervous and I end up not being able to keep the convo flowing. Any tips? :-)

    • Mel Thomas

      I’m similar in that I find small talk difficult, especially if it’s an important networking occasion! One thing that really helps is to be prepared. If you know you have a networking event coming up, then jot down 2 or 3 conversation starters and save them in your phone. You can always have a quick check on your phone during the event. Also it can be helpful to think about space when you’re nervous – areas like your desk at work, or even spaces as large as your own home, office etc. can be seen as ‘your territory’. Reminding yourself of that can help you feel comfortable and secure. When you are out, think about your personal space around you – 1-3 feet away, plant your feet firmly on the floor and stand tall – if you stand confidently, you will feel more confident :) If you get any more tips it would be great to hear them :)

  • I get it when Lady Gaga famously put it “Confidence is key. If you don’t have it, fake it!” This post explains it some more. Great post!

  • Claudia Glam

    So true! Is important to speak up!

    http://www.claudiaglamone.com/