We all want to look confident, right? It inspires people to follow our lead, feel comfortable around us, and even be attracted to us (depending on the situation of course!)
You’ve probably read about some of the most obvious body language tips, so here are some you might not know about.
1) Poised stability with your hands
So this one is a little more obvious than the rest, but it’s really important, and it’s a good place to start.
But what do I mean? So for example, when seated in a group, lean your torso slightly back and calmly place your hands on your lap, or perhaps nest them on your lap – something like this – but more relaxed.
You could also face your palms downwards like this, this gesture is a little less open and welcoming but also shows confidence.
I would recommend avoiding a steepled hand gesture, as it reminds me of Mr Burns from The Simpsons, or some other scheming character.
The opposite to poised stability would be sitting rigidly and clinging to your chair, playing with your hair, or biting your nails. Neurodivergent people like me may find this tricky since nail biting and hair fiddling are ‘stimming’ behaviors that can be calming.
This is where finding a comforting position such as hand nesting can work well.
2) Hands on hips
While we’re talking about hands, how about the ‘hands akimbo’ position? This posture can exude confidence – you’re ready for action! But it can also display a type of confrontational dominance as well. Think about an angry cat that is trying to make itself look all big with its fur up and back arched up.
So it really depends on what kind of situation you are in and what kind of confidence you need.
Dealing with people who are trying to undermine or talk down to you? Put your hands on your hips, perhaps with fists as the picture linked above shows.
Trying to look confident in a group job interview task? Better to avoid it unless it’s a role in which dominant confidence is prized.
3) Graceful fluid gestures
When you aren’t trying to show dominance, these types of movements, at a relaxed pace, will reflect inner sureness.
Let your gestures unfold more slowly and more fluidly as opposed to rapid and jerky. If you need help with this, take 1-3 slow calm breaths in and out. You might then imagine yourself as a graceful swan or dancer.
My personal favorite is pretending to be a geisha in a tea ceremony, where every movement is graceful, delicate, and intentional. Your mileage may vary on that one though!
4) Occasional head tilt to expose your neck
An occasional head tilt, especially when listening, is a good way to connect with someone. This is because it shows that you are interested and engaged. And trusting.
But the reason may surprise you. Studies show that this is actually a sign of submission, similar to the way that dogs will show their necks in a gesture of submission.
It’s a bit like showing a vampire your soft spot!
So on the one hand, it shows that you aren’t afraid that they are going to ‘bite you’. But on the other hand, if done too often, it can indicate a lack of confidence through being overly submissive.
Again, context is key. In lighthearted situations, when done occasionally, this will increase your appearance of natural confidence. But in a high-power situation such as work or a negotiation, you might be better off keeping your head more still.
5) Eyes and where to look
Yet again, the question of where to rest your eyes lies in which situation you are in.
I have a female friend who found that people were interpreting her the wrong way, and seeing her as being flirtatious because of the way she looked at people when they spoke. Yes, I know this sounds a bit mad but it’s true.
If you want to flirt with your eyes, (or just seem confident enough to flirt) then try looking in one eye, then the other, down to the lips and back to the eyes. This can have a really sexy effect. Tell a trusted friend and practice with the timing, you’ll be surprised and entertained!
But if you want to avoid that and be businesslike, then looking directly at and/or between the eyes is the best way.
6) Briefly meeting strangers’ eyes with a soft half-smile
Body language expert Amy Cuddy talks about power poses and how they can make you feel more confident. And how smiling releases endorphins that make you feel happy and confident.
But how about a bit more nuance? The soft half smile. For this one, I recommend you practice in the mirror. You will notice that you can softly smile in a way that actually doesn’t look like a big smile. Instead, it just softens your facial expression making you look calm and non-threatening.
I try to use this one while posing for passport photos, since you aren’t allowed to smile anymore. I don’t want to break the rules but I don’t want a mug shot either!
You can also take it a little further and see if you can create a Mona Lisa smile – one that is intriguing and a little mysterious.
Whether big or small smiles, a touch of disarming friendliness indicates inner security.
You might think that laughing isn’t a body language gesture, and in a way, you’re right. Because it’s a collection of gestures. Think about how your whole body moves when you laugh.
The point is that someone who is laughing generally looks laid back, welcoming and confident.
This can apply in many situations, but a good one to think of right now, is when you have made a mistake and feel embarrassed.
By laughing openly at yourself instead of looking all flustered and red-faced, it shows that you feel free to find humor in your mistakes. And this projects natural confidence.
Laughing is great for all kinds of situations! At a party, if someone makes a clever joke or witty comment, laugh heartily in appreciation. This shows you don’t feel competitive and can freely enjoy others’ humor without jealousy or self-consciousness.
Finally, laughing while telling a story about yourself showcases confidence. It says “I don’t take myself too seriously and I’m comfortable sharing this thing that happened to me.” It draws people in and makes you appear genuine and approachable.
The thread that ties these examples together is that laughing authentically signals you are at ease and not threatened by your surroundings or those around you. And this self-assuredness inspires trust and confidence in others.
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.
Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.
With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.
Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.