“Low self-confidence isn’t a life sentence. Self-confidence can be learned, practiced, and mastered–just like any other skill. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better.” Barrie Davenport
What message do you project when you walk into a room? What is your body saying? What information can somebody gather from you before you have even spoken?
Our poses, postures, hand positions, shoulders etc. are a great source of information which most people read without even thinking. For example, if we are feeling confident we will stand a certain way and another way if we feel nervous or intimidated.
In many areas of our lives, confidence is the key to success. Many studies have demonstrated that people who appear confident achieve greater success than their peers. For some, confidence comes naturally, but for most people appearing confident, especially in social situations, is difficult. Luckily, we can learn techniques to alter our body language so that we always appear cool, calm and self-assured. And as an added and very important bonus, when you practice a positive body language, you actually send messages to your brain which reinforce confident feelings. Yes, you read that correctly, practicing a confident body language can actually make you feel more confident!
If you would like to project a more confident image, here are 10 ways on how to modify your body language so that you always appear self-assured, relaxed and in control.
1. Stand Up Straight
Standing up straight is probably the most powerful technique to projecting confidence through body language. Keeping your back straight, your shoulders back and your head held high displays status, power and that you are in control of your life. It can be tiring at first, especially if you have spent a lifetime slouching or bending over a computer, but it will become easier over time and you’ll soon be walking tall without even trying.
2. Keep Your Chin And Head Up
Confident people are always looking ahead, never down at the ground. Looking down communicates that you are insecure or shy. Whether you are standing in a crowd or walking down a street, always keep your head up and your eyes looking straight ahead.
3. Keep Your Hands Out Of Your Pockets
We naturally tend to hide or cover our hands by putting them in our trouser pockets when we are feeling nervous, uncomfortable or unsure of ourselves. If you keep your hands securely in your pockets then that’s how other people will view you. Keeping your hands visible indicates you feel confident in yourself, your current situation and ready to handle anything. If you really want to keep your hands in your pockets, make sure to keep your thumbs out and pointing upwards. This signals not only confidence but also cockiness.
4. Gesture With Your Palms Upwards
Gesturing with your palms facing up will make you appear more confident as it gives the impression of honesty and trustworthiness.
5. Don’t Fidget
A common habit that is a major sign of low self-confidence is fidgeting. Fidgeting is a clear sign of nervousness, worry or anxiety and most of us fidget without even realizing it. People fidget in many different ways, some jiggle their legs, some drum or tap their fingers or others play or fiddle with small items. Try to stand or sit still and only move when needed, although this can be difficult, particularly when you aren’t aware of some of your fidgeting habits. With a little practice it will become easier for you to assume a calm, relaxed position.
6. Maintain Eye Contact
Good eye contact is probably the most important technique to practise if you wish to appear calm and confident. Steady eye contact suggests you’re honest and friendly and makes the other person feel much more connected to you. If you are speaking to several people alternate between them. However, it is important to be aware that too much eye contact can make you appear aggressive.
7. Stand In An Open Stance
Try to stand with your feet in a wide stance as this shows confidence. Standing with your feet too close together can give the impression that you are shy and timid. Aim to have your feet in line with your shoulders with your feet pointing outward.
Smiling has a powerful effect, a genuine smile communicates to those around you that you are friendly, honest and trustworthy and makes you more attractive. Studies have proven that smiling directly influences how other people respond to you as facial expressions trigger corresponding feelings in the person who is receiving the smile.
9. Develop A Firm Handshake
A firm, solid handshake can give you an immediate impression of confidence while a limp handshake can communicate weakness. You handshake should be strong but not crushing and delivered with a few seconds of friendly eye contact.
10. Take Big Steps.
Try making your stride longer than normal. Take long purposeful steps, rather than short, quick or hurried steps. A slower, deliberate walk will make you appear confident and in control of your life.
As I mentioned earlier, the greatest benefit of practising a positive body language is that you can trick yourself into becoming confident. Don’t try to implement all these techniques at once, just start with one of the techniques and when it has become a habit, add another. The more you practise, the more comfortable you’ll appear and more importantly, you’ll actually start feeling more confident.