Studies have shown that improved self-confidence can help boost self-esteem and mental health, and it may also lead to a higher social status. This, in turn, can allow one to be taken more seriously and have access to better resources. Who doesn’t want that?
Even if you’re not naturally a confident person, there are several aspects of your body language that you can modify in order to project that confident je ne sais quoi.
Here’s a head-to-toe breakdown of body language tips that will help you seem confident (even if you’re not!):
Head and Neck
Keep your chin up—pretending there’s a string holding up the crown of your head can help. This puts you into a very vulnerable position by exposing your throat, but the gesture serves to show that you are confident and relaxed despite that.
On the flip side, lowering your head may be viewed as a sign of weakness and submission since you are guarding your throat. Try to avoid this.
Lips and Eyes
Your lips and eyes are responsible for about 80% of your facial expressions and may be one of the greatest indicators of confidence. The good news is that they are the easiest body parts to control.
Maintaining eye contact while engaging with someone is key to appearing confident. If you’re unable to lock your stare try the follow trick recommended by Lillian Glass, a body language expert and author of The Body Language Advantage:
“Try looking at the other person’s eyes for two seconds, looking at their nose for two seconds, looking at their mouth for two seconds, and then looking at their face as a whole for two seconds. Continue this rotation throughout your conversation.”
With this trick, Glass says the other person won’t be able to tell that you’re not looking directly at their eyes the entire time.
You also want to make sure that you keep a semi-smile on your lips. It helps you appear engaged and interesting, and people will more likely to gravitate to you.
Besides having a ton of health implications, perfect posture can go a long way in terms of how people perceive you. An upright torso projects confidence, while a twisting or slouching torso may mean that you are uncomfortable or trying to guard yourself (at least subconsciously). Stand up straight!
Hands and Arms
If you’re a big hand-talker, make sure that you gesture with your palms facing up, as it gives the illusion of honesty. Broad, smooth motions will reflect composure, and the more expansive your arms are, the more relaxed you’ll seem.
Crossing your arms or keeping them tucked close to your side may signal stress and insecurity, and you may also come off as closed or unreceptive. Also, never put your hands in your pocket. As humans, we tend to hide our hands when we get nervous.
Plant your feet firmly on the ground and aim for a stance that’s in-line with your hips and shoulders, about one foot apart. This stance will balance you physically and also makes you appear more mentally stable and capable as well.
If you can, try angling your feet in the direction of the person you are addressing. It shows trust and receptiveness. Pointing away from them gives off the signal that you are disinterested and ready to bolt at a moment’s notice.
Things to keep in mind:
Body language is not black and white. What is acceptable or normal in one culture may not be universal throughout others. Also, as an individual, you may have some funny quirks like tapping your toes or drumming your fingers. And there’s nothing wrong with that! These tips are merely suggestions to put into practice: Do them often enough, and eventually they will become second-nature.