I've been training my replacement at the office these past few weeks, and it has shown me a lot about myself. I think the biggest thing is that I've become what one might call a "people person." Now, if you had told me that when I was in high school and the first few years of college, I don't think I'd have ever believed you. I preferred the company of computers and a very small group of close friends over meeting new people and getting outside of my comfort zone. I still have those moments, but they're much fewer and farther between nowadays.
I think a lot of that just comes from a natural building of confidence over the years. I found a beautiful girl who married me, so that was helpful. I figured out what I was good at, both in college (history) and in work (Infosec). But along the way I picked up a few tricks, too. Things that make you seem more like a people person, until all of a sudden you are. It's that whole "fake it until you make it" thing.
I often see posts on reddit and such where people ask how to have confidence. Most of the time, the top answer is just "act like you're confident, and one day you'll just find out that you are." And in my experience, that's exactly how it works. As a consultant, a lot of your success depends on the ability to tell the customer that you don't know something without making it appear that you don't know anything.
So, my tips for confidence and being a "people person":
Names names names names names. We're busy people. At any given time, we're thinking about a dozen different things most of the time. And as a result, when it comes time to meet someone, we're often not giving them our full attention.
I saw a talk by a memory expert, and that was one of the first examples he gave; we just don't pay attention when people are telling us their names. But it's so easy to do, and it makes a huge difference when you don't have to be told someone's name multiple times. Especially if it's people you're going to be working with. The ability to say "Oh yeah, Bob controls that, right?" and already know the answer shows that you're engaged with the environment/client/workplace/party/whatever. That goes an awful long way in shaping peoples' perception of you.
Posture and positioning. I can't count the number of times that my mom told me to stand up straight and look people in the eyes when I was growing up. I hit a growth spurt right when I turned 13 and grew to the height I am now in just a few months. As a result, I slouched a lot when I was younger because I was uncomfortable being taller than most of my friends at the time.
Now I've found that it's a habit that I've had to work really hard to break, and I wish I had listened more when I was younger. We as humans use posture subconsciously to determine if someone is interested in what we're talking about, and how you carry yourself when both sitting and standing goes a long way in showing that.
I could keep going, but this post is already getting longer than I'd like, so maybe I'll revisit this topic later. That said, do these tips make sense? Got other tips? I'd love to hear them.