How to Appear Powerful at Work even if you don't feel like it.

Career coach Barbara Pachter from Cherry Hill, N.J in her new book " The Power of Positive Confrontation," recommends that you cut out words like "kinda", "sorta", and "maybe" from your conversations. These words undermined what you say and make you look weak and unsure. Talking too softly is also a no no because you can end up appearing nearly invisible and easy to overlook. Stand tall. A passive stance, slouching with your arms folded over your chest will tell others that you'd rather be hiding under your desk. "Don't appear passive," says Pachter.

How do you overcome unassertive behavior? The ideal situation is to find a mentor, someone to bounce your ideas off of and from whom you can get good advice.  If there is someone successful in an organization  with whom you can talk   over your problems, do it. Don't be afraid to reveal your shyness to this person. Another suggestion is to watch people who act like you'd like to act and copy them. Look at those who are getting good assignments and  are held in high esteem. Exposure and experience are key to developing confidence. For those just graduating from college, internships are a great way to test the water. Once you realize that your ideas are valued, you can overcome your shyness and fears.

Abstracted from an article in the Washington Post entitled "At Work, Fear Strikes Out," by Amy Joyce.