Fake it Till You Make It: How Confidence Goes a Long Way in the Legal Profession

Whether you’re in the courtroom or you’re in the break room, confidence is a key component to your career as a legal professional. At the same time, confidence isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone, especially if you’re fresh out of law school or stepping into your first internship. Regardless, you’ve got to talk the talk if you’re going to walk the walk — so you better get used to finding ways around the problem.

Why Confidence is Important

Being involved in the practice of law involves being able to communicate clearly. While in many instances this can take the place of the written word, ranging from legal briefs to court documents and beyond, you’re going to have to open your mouth sooner or later.

This can be an exceedingly difficult task for anyone struggling with confidence issues — and it’s readily apparent in a number of ways. Whether it’s stuttering, a querulous tone of voice, an abundance of “um”s and “ah”s, or any combination of these, a lack of confidence in interactions with clients, colleagues, and courtroom officials is going to sink your chances of having a successful career.

Meanwhile, there are even non-verbal ways that you can betray yourself when it comes to a lack of confidence. Body language can be very telling. Slouching, poor posture, keeping your limbs close to yourself, avoiding eye contact, and other non-verbal tells scream “I am not confident in my abilities” loud and clear, again sabotaging your chances of career success.

Faking Confidence for Fun and Profit

Lucky for you, there are methods and techniques for erecting a veneer of confidence by changing the way you talk and move. Called the “fake it until you make it” technique, it involves making conscious changes to your outward presentation that simulate confidence, even if you don’t feel that way.

It begins by identifying the specific outward symptoms of your lack of confidence and then, for the most part, doing the opposite. Are you restless and fidgety when you’re speaking? Root yourself to the spot instead. Can’t meet the gaze of who you’re talking to? Force yourself to make eye contact — or at least focus on the bridge of their nose. Stumbling over your words? Slow down and take your time. If you feel like you’re talking too slow, you’re likely just right.

Become What You Desire

When you devote yourself to acting more confident, even at times that you don’t feel that way, you’re likely to see the fruits of your labor almost immediately. It’s likely that your professional interactions will resolve themselves more advantageously, which will lead to higher overall levels of success and achievement. Truth be told, adjusting your behavior like this is going to be exhausting at first. However, as you become more accustomed to doing so, you’ll notice that adopting your more confident persona will become like second nature. In time, you might even become that confident person you wanted to be so badly in the first place.