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Do you need to look confident right now, but don’t you feel it? Or would empathy be called for, but you are just so distracted? In other words, you need a prompt change of mood. Here’s a little trick to help you. 

You have to do a presentation in a moment, but you feel insecure inside. What to do? Some people say, “Fake it, until you make it”. And I think there’s a true core to that saying. I’ll tell you why. 

How you feel inside affects how you look outside. If you feel confident and strong, you probably have more body tension and therefore stand straighter. You might look other people in the eyes and your voice is slightly deeper. If you are in empathic listening mode, you may turn towards the person you are talking to, open your eyes a little more and breathe deeper. 

But the connection between feeling and body reaction also works the other way around.If you stand up as if you were self-confident at the moment, your inner attitude will also change.  At first not quite as much, but enough to get you through the beginning of your presentation. If it is going well, real self-confidence comes into the game and you no longer have to pretend. 

So you can “fake” an inner attitude for a short period of time in order to evoke it. The important thing is that it has to be something that you know about yourself. Then the body calls up the feeling that is usually associated with it. Since the combination of posture and feeling is connected in your brain, one follows the other. If you were to mimic someone else’s self-conscious attitude instead, nothing would happen, except that you would seem quite unnatural.

And one more point: If the thoughts, that, for example, cause the uncertainty, are too strong, it doesn’t work either. And since you can only keep up your acting for a short period of time, the “fake” eventually becomes apparent. In such a case, you do yourself the biggest favour by opening up. Just admit that you are nervous. Then it’s out in the open and you don’t have to pretend anymore.Your openness will take the pressure off you and your audience. 

In the second example it works exactly the same way. Act as if you are listening carefully until it works. However, if you are too distracted, it is more honest to say, “Sorry, I realize I have too much on my mind today. I can’t really concentrate.”

But in my experience, this “body to soul” tip works well in most situations. Give it a try. And feel free to comment on your experience with it. 

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