“Fake it till you make it” sounds cliché, but you’d be surprised at how often it actually works.
And the way your body speaks is a prime example of that.
You might struggle with confidence, you might feel shy or nervous, you might even sweat from all the anxiety – but as long as you stick to some essential body language tricks, you’ll appear like you’ve got it all figured out.
What’s more, your own body language will naturally boost your internal confidence, creating a positive feedback loop.
Over time, you might even find that you’re not faking anything. You just…are.
Let’s look at the 9 body language tricks to appear super confident – even if you’re not!
1) Pay attention to your posture
When I was sixteen, I hunched a lot because I felt like I wanted to hide myself from the world. But then my friend told me, “Keep your head held high. Believe in yourself.”
It sounds quite simple, but I’ve been applying that piece of advice ever since and feeling much more confident thanks to it.
When you hunch, you’re signaling withdrawal. You’re trying to make yourself look as small as possible to avoid being seen.
Straighten your back. Lift your chin up. You deserve to assert yourself. You deserve to claim your space in the world.
Once you stop hunching, you’ll immediately look more confident.
Oh, and you’re also less likely to have a hunchback when you’re old. That’s a yes from me.
2) Don’t cross your arms and legs
It’s so comfortable to cross your arms, isn’t it? A bit like having a protective shield.
But that’s exactly the point. Crossing your limbs, be it arms or legs, is yet another sign of withdrawal and passivity. It means you’re pushing yourself away from the person you’re speaking to instead of pulling toward them.
Crossed arms usually say one of these four things:
None of those are exactly confident, at least not in the sense we’re aiming for here.
Keep your stance open. Show other people that you’re welcoming them into your space and actively participating in the conversation.
3) Slow down your movements
Let’s try something out.
I want you to brush your hair back with your fingers. Tug it behind your ear or brush it back on the sides if your hair isn’t long enough.
Now – and this is important – do it slowly. Come back to the article when you’re done.
Hi, welcome back!
The slow movement was quite graceful, wasn’t it? A bit like a lover’s touch.
Okay, now it’s time to do it quickly.
I bet that one felt rushed. Fidgety. Anxious. Not confident at all.
Slow movement can be very attractive because it signals that you’re not rushing anywhere. You’re comfortable in the here and now.
Research also shows that slowing down your voice might increase your attractiveness.
4) Walk with purpose
Slow movement doesn’t necessarily apply to your gait. If you walk really slowly, you’ll probably seem a bit lost.
If you walk too fast, though, you’ll appear stressed and rushed, which is the opposite of what we’re going for here.
The right answer lies in the in-between.
Some research shows that walking with purpose – your pace is a bit faster, your arm movements are bolder, and your strides are longer – sends a message of invulnerability.
That isn’t to say that a relaxed stride isn’t confident, though. It is. You’ve just got to appear like you know where you’re going.
I’ll admit that this isn’t the easiest if you use Google Maps a lot. Personally, I sometimes look like a lost tourist in a city I’ve lived in for five years.
If you want to look confident while walking down the street, maybe get better at navigation.
5) Maintain regular eye contact
As the communications analytics company Quantified Impressions told The Wall Street Journal, most adults make eye contact only about 30-60% of the time when conversing with someone.
However, the ideal percentage to aim for is apparently 60-70%. When you maintain regular eye contact, you’re more likely to build an emotional connection. Naturally, you’ll also appear more confident.
My advice is not to focus on this too much, though. If you keep wondering how often you’re looking someone in the eye, you’ll end up feeling too self-aware and not enjoying the actual interaction.
Keep it in mind, but don’t make it a big deal.
6) Give a firm handshake
Your handshake might tell others more about your personality than you think.
Studies show that if your handshake is firm, you’re more likely to have an open and extroverted personality. Limp handshakes, on the other hand, signal a higher degree of neuroticism and shyness.
Obviously, try not to squeeze someone’s hand to rubble. That may be just a tiny bit too eager.
Give a firm yet unaggressive handshake.
Here’s a little extra tip that I learned at a nonverbal communication seminar once:
If someone’s offering you a handshake with the back of their hand facing up, they’re automatically trying to assert dominance.
In order to assume equal ground, take a small step closer as you’re reaching out to shake their hand. The angle at which your hands meet will make it impossible for them to stay in a dominant position.
7) Slow down your breathing
This one’s for when you’re feeling really anxious.
Anxiety triggers a stress response in your body, which automatically increases your heart rate and makes you breathe in a faster, shallower manner.
When you focus on your breath and force it to become slower, you’re telling your body that you’re not in any immediate danger. This activates the relaxation response and brings your anxiety levels down.
As a result, you’ll be better able to appear confident and sure of yourself because you won’t be in the midst of a fight-or-flight reaction.
8) Don’t put your hands in your pockets
Ah, pockets are so tempting, aren’t they?
Every time you don’t know what to do with your hands and don’t want them to just hang off you like sacks of potatoes, you put them in your pockets and immediately feel much better.
And sometimes, that’s not a bad thing. If you’re just standing at a beach and admiring the view, having your hands in your pockets can look relaxed and comfortable.
Situations where you’ve got to assert yourself, though? Not so much.
Hiding your hands is yet another way to show others that you’re closed off to them. It’s a defensive stance.
If you’re unsure of what to do with your hands, try placing them on your hips or using them to gesticulate as you’re talking.
9) Consider giving heels a try
This one’s for the ladies (or men who aren’t afraid to spice their style a bit).
Let me start this off by saying that you absolutely do not need to wear heels to appear confident. Confidence is more about inner poise and body posture than it is about what you have on.
However, it’s also common for women to feel a bit more confident in heels. Not only does this type of shoe make you look taller, but it also elongates your silhouette, giving you that extra sparkle of elegance.
And personally speaking, I just love the sound of heels clacking. There’s something empowering about it.
Even if you don’t wear heels, though, remember that body language and confidence go hand in hand. If you use the above-mentioned tricks often enough, you might naturally begin to feel more confident, which will improve how you carry yourself even more.
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