14 Ways to Develop Confidence at Work for Better Personal Branding


What are some resources for developing confidence at work (for me, or for my employees) for situations where you need to present, lead or even criticize?

The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Learn Authentic Body Language

“Body language extends your message, strengthening a presentation or softening criticism. It also affects how your mind works — Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy found that a confident pose could decrease stress hormones by around 25 percent and increase confidence hormones similarly. But like a business suit, different body language fits each person differently. So getting professional training in it could be a great investment.”

Alan Carniol, Interview Success Formula

2. Take an Improv Class

“Enrolling in an improv class is a great way to develop confidence in presenting or leading a discussion. Improv encourages you to be ready and respond to anything that may come your way. Classes like these can help develop public speaking skills, problem-solving and tact to move an idea along in a group setting. The common “Yes, and” language is also a fun addition to team brainstorms.”

Kim Kaupe, ZinePak

3. Hire a Speech Coach

“Even if you don’t intend to ever speak at conferences, learning to speak with confidence will make a difference in all parts of your life — business and personal. I’ve found lots of good material on Level Up Living. Of course, you need to go beyond the classroom. I found filming myself presenting (for example) was super helpful to my continued improvement. ”

Adam Steele,The Magistrate

4. Write Down Your Successes

“Before the big event, increase your confidence by jotting down all of your work-related accomplishments in the last year. You may be surprised by all of the achievements on the list. It’s easy to recall negative things but tougher to give yourself credit for your successes. That credit, however, is essential for combating the self-doubt that often comes with pressure-filled situations.”

Alexandra LevitInspiration at Work

5. Develop Closer Relationships

There are a lot of tricks to developing confidence, but they aren’t as necessary if you’re already at ease around the people you’re working with. It’s not usually a good sign if you feel intimidated about speaking with a co-worker. It’s a sign that the two of you don’t know or understand one another. For the best results, work on getting to know them while you’re working to develop confidence.   – Matt DoyleExcel Builders

6. Pair a Senior Employee With a Newer Employee

“Your senior employees have already experienced leading meetings hundreds of times, and they carry valuable insights into what works and what not to do. Building mentorship-type relationships within your organization lead to senior employees pushing the shyer employees out of their boxes and builds their courage to try new things.”

Simon Casuto, eLearning Mind

7. Create Opportunities to Speak

“Each quarter, we recruit five new “Huddle Masters” to run our daily “Huddle,” an “all-hands” meeting that occurs right before lunch. Their job is to kick-off the meeting, get through the agenda and end it on a positive note all in 10 minutes. Employees have told me that leading the huddle boosted their confidence when speaking before groups, and that they were grateful for the opportunity.”

David CiccarelliVoices.com

8. Realize It’s Not About You

“Feelings of insecurity often arise when we attach too much personal meaning to an outcome. We become so focused on proving our own adequacy that we forget it’s not even about us! The crowd you’re speaking to just wants to be inspired. Your potential client just wants to know if you really can fix her problem. They aren’t even thinking about you, and you shouldn’t be either.”

Jesse Lear, V.I.P. Waste Services, LLC

9. Practice

“Practice is the often forgotten yet most successful form of self-improvement. In this day and age, we all want an e-book, Wiki entry, YouTube video or gamified website learning tool to improve our skill set and become more confident in our daily routines. These are all fantastic resources, but the simple act of practicing for improvement is more rewarding and is more applicable in the real world.”

Blair Thomas, EMerchantBroker

10. Make the Best of Every Situation

“Every event presents itself for a reason, positive or negative. Take advantage of each situation and learn how to tackle situations that might cause discomfort at times. Being in control of the butterflies in your stomach is crucial. Channeling that nervous energy and using it to focus will help strengthen not only your confidence but your employees’ as well.”

Hank Ostholthoff, Mabbly

11. Put Yourself out There

“I think the best resources are natural, positive experiences gained through completing goals together. You have to put yourself and others in situations to succeed. After a couple of positive experiences in uncomfortable situations, individuals develop self-confidence that can’t be attained any other way. That confidence should then emanate in multiple aspects of office life.”

Chuck CohnVarsity Tutors

12. Education and Increased Responsibility

“Send your employees to a training course on something that will help improve your product, marketing, sales or customer success. Then have the people who took the course host a learning lunch for the rest of the department — or better yet, the entire company. This makes them visible to senior leadership and motivates their peers to do the same.”

Adam Root,SocialCentiv

13. Learn to Meditate

“I’m a naturally confident person. And as I navigate more high-pressure situations, I find my confidence gets tested. So, I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on what increases and decreases it. One of the best tools I’ve found is meditation. The simple act of paying attention to the present moment, unattached and with no judgment, helps put everything in perspective. Awareness builds confidence.”

Alexandra Skey, Rallyon

14. Show — Don’t Tell

“Lead by example. People will take your advice seriously if they see you live by what you preach. Give and receive advice. People will follow someone who is open to feedback. Openly share your ideas. Make a point, and people will follow you without doubts because you give them a sense of security.”

Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME