11 ways to use body language to look smarter and more confident

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Body language matters much more than many people realize. 

If you don’t pay attention to your body language you can often come across as lacking in confidence, intelligence and charm. 

Here are the top ways to use body language to look smarter and more confident. 

1) Improve your posture 

Stand straight and push your chest a bit outwards. 

This may feel unnatural at first if you have a slumped or submissive posture. 

Almost no one “hack” in the world is as powerful as posture. 

It’s no exaggeration to say this:

Change your posture, change your life. 

As the London Image Institute advises

“Standing or sitting straight with your shoulders back and your head held up, nonverbally reflects your confidence.” 

2) Keep your chin up 

A big part of straight posture is keeping your chin up. 

This is such a big key that unlocks huge doors. 

Many of us who feel victimized or excluded from a young age or even not accepted by our parents or peers in some way have an instinctive reaction:

We lower our chin and our head. 

This is animal, tribe behavior. 

When an animal feels unwanted or unapproved of it lowers its head and wanders from the pack. 

Reclaiming your power and your greatness is all about putting your chin up.

Own yourself in every way and never be ashamed to keep your chin up and look other people in the eye. 

Which brings us to the next point: 

3) Make strong eye contact 

The eyes are the windows to the soul and they’re also a key part of body language. 

When you avoid eye contact or break eye contact too much you send only one message:

Insecurity

The thing with eye contact is that it’s very hard to fake. 

You can look in someone’s eyes and still be non-present and give them an uneasy sensation or an insecure feeling. 

True, sustained, comfortable eye contact requires a measure of confidence and “this is who I am, love it or leave it.”

No matter what the context is, strong eye contact only comes when you believe in yourself and are willing to be truly seen come what may. 

4) Face the person you’re speaking with 

This sounds very basic and it absolutely is. 

If you’re making strong eye contact then this will be a given, but it bears repeating. 

If you’re speaking to somebody or a group of people, you must face them. 

One of the classic insecure body language signals is when people partly angle themselves away from those they are speaking to. 

Of course if you are in a group of people and speaking to several at once, you may be dividing your attention, which makes sense. 

But try your best to at least incline your head towards the person speaking to you, or towards whom you are speaking. 

This is confidence and directness. It makes you look intelligent and sure of yourself. 

5) Stride instead of stepping 

Many of us step far too gingerly. 

Walk confidently: stride. 

For a man this may look something like a cowboy swagger or the way James Bond walks. 

If you don’t know, flip in a tape in the old VCR or DVD player and check it out.

There’s definitely a James Bond walk.

For women, check out the way a supermodel struts on the catwalk. 

You don’t need to walk like that, of course, but absorb some of that energy and vibe. 

You want to own your walk. You want to stride more than just step. 

You want to glide, stride and make a true arrival, not just amble or shuffle into view. 

6) Maintain a wide stance 

Next up in addition to facing who you’re talking to and having good posture and eye contact is maintaining a wide stance. 

Far too many of us interact with others as if we’re trying to shrink into a corner and disappear. 

Don’t do that!

Put your legs at least wide enough apart to feel like you’re stable on the ground and feel secure. 

Don’t ever try to hide yourself or shrink into your own body. 

This is the opposite of confident body language

Instead, adopt a wide stance and be sure of yourself! 

“As a general rule of thumb, aim for a stance that’s in line with your hips and shoulders. You want to have your feet about a foot apart, pointing outward,” notes Katherine Noel for Business Insider

Solid tip. 

7) Keep your hands out of your pockets 

Whenever I’ve been in a new social situation or meeting new people in the past, I’ve often found myself putting my hands in my pockets. 

It’s so awkward, it’s so unnecessary…

But also:

It’s so common! 

Don’t do this. 

I stopped as of a few years ago, and my life’s gotten noticeably better. 

Putting your hands in your pockets is an insecure and awkward reflex that makes people feel uncomfortable around you. 

On an evolutionary level it also indicates that you have something to hide or are untrustworthy in some way. 

Part of the reason why shaking hands developed in evolution was to show you have nothing to hide and aren’t holding a weapon. 

8) Shake hands firmly but not excessively

In cultures where handshaking is the norm, it’s important to do so firmly but not excessively. 

Trying to do a power shake or grapple someone in with your handshake is obnoxious and cringe. 

But giving a limp-wristed half-shake is also very lackluster body language. 

If you live in a culture like in the Middle East where a greeting is accomplished by placing the hand over the heart, this should be done confidently as well. 

Always make sure that you are greeting people straightforwardly and with confidence. 

If you’re not sure of yourself when you say hello, anything that comes after fades in importance. 

9) Smile, but don’t over smile 

There is such a thing as smiling too often. 

This is when you smile no matter what happens and look like a grinning clown. 

It loses you respect and it comes across as very fake and try-hard. 

If you want to smile then absolutely do so. 

Smiling is a sign of approval and friendliness and it’s a great thing to do. 

But smiling even if someone says he finds your wife attractive and wants to seduce her makes you look like a chump. 

Make sure to only smile if you actually want to. 

10) Nod your head subtly when somebody makes a good point 

One of the other power moves in terms of body language is to nod subtly when somebody makes a good point. 

Just make sure to actually listen to what people are saying

If you only nod repeatedly for no reason you will eventually get called out for it and seem like a yes man or yes woman. 

But if you nod occasionally when somebody makes a good point, you will come across as appreciative and high-quality. 

This is a subtle power move that can make a big difference. 

11) Use strong gestures to demonstrate confidence and emphasize your statements

The power of gesturing is very underestimated by many. 

It can certainly be overused, but the obverse is more common: people who are hesitant or afraid to use many gestures. 

There are numerous online guides that can help out with how to use gestures for powerful effect. 

If you learn how to powerfully emphasize your points with gestures and arm movements then you will come across much more confident and intelligent. 

More than words

You can be an incredible speaker with an IQ that’s off the charts, but if your body language is weak then you will sabotage yourself and what you have to say. 

We are tribal, biological creatures and we all respond to nonverbal cues and body language in deep and primal ways. 

Body language is incredibly powerful, and it’s far from just an act or a performance. 

The truth is that changing your body language can even begin to change your personality and how you interact with others. 

Changing your body language isn’t about tricking anyone or even about impressing them. It’s about rising to your own potential and making sure you get the respect you deserve. 

Keep working on your body language and how you present yourself

It shouldn’t be about getting people to see you in a certain way, it should be about showing who you truly are and getting the respect and admiration you really do deserve. 

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