By Matt Harris

If you treat confidence like a muscle and make sure it gets a regular workout even the most introverted, doubtful individual can grow strong and assured. Here are seven exercises to help you build confidence.

Remember times in your past that you managed to overcome your anxieties and insecurities. You don’t necessarily need to think of cases relating to business – perhaps you gave a speech at a wedding or simply managed to meet your partner’s parents without cracking under pressure. Remembering your successes will put you in a positive frame of mind. As you grow in confidence and have more occasions to look back on fondly you’ll gain confidence momentum.

Lead the discussion
Being able to lead a discussion will set you apart as someone confident enough to speak their mind. If you find it difficult making conversation start your day by listening to the morning news on the radio or glancing over the top stories on a leading news site. Remember that leading a conversation doesn’t mean dominating it – listen to what people have to say to you and respond in a way that shows that you’re interested in what they have to say. Practice making small talk with people you meet on the train or the checkout assistant at a supermarket till and you’ll have no trouble making conversation with people in a business setting.

Eye contact
Looking at the ground is a tell-tale sign that you’re low on confidence, but staring at someone will only make them feel uncomfortable. Looking just long enough to notice their eye colour is the best bet. Make a point of looking everyone in the eye – from your waiter at a restaurant to the courier deliver a parcel – to get used to eye contact.

Bonus tip: Have a sight problem? Numerous studies have been done into whether wearing contact lenses or glasses makes someone appear more confident, but your best bet is to just wear whatever you feel more comfortable in and let your personality shine.

Stand tall and proud
As well as being bad for your general health, slouching is a sign of disinterest. Standing tall with your shoulders back, or sitting up alert will instantly make you appear more confident, but studies show it will even affect your mood and performance. You don’t need to practice walking with a stack of books on your head to attain good posture; simply being aware of how you stand and sit is a good start, but there are plenty of detailed online resources to help if you need additional assistance.

Written by Matt Harris who works for Feel Good Contact Lenses, an online contact lens supplier stocking a wide range of leading brands.