We have all heard that confidence is the key to success. Studies have shown that those who appear more confident achieve higher status than their less confident peers. Appear is the key world here. If you feel that you lack confidence in some areas, working on your body language can actually make you appear more confident to others.
According to Barrie Davenport, author of Confidence Hacks: 99 Small Actions to Massively Boost Your Confidence understanding and managing body language boosts your confidence in two ways. “First, by managing your body language and sending appropriate signals in specific situations, you receive positive feedback and feel assured you aren’t sabotaging your own success or the perceptions of others….and more importantly, when you practice powerful, positive body language, you’re sending messages to your brain to reinforce positive, confident feelings.”
In other words, confident body language actually makes you feel more confident.
Here are some tips to for using body language to project confidence and credibility:
The first rule of appearing confident is your posture. Davenport says, “When standing you should be able to draw an imaginary straight line from your earlobe through your shoulder, hip, knee and the middle of your ankle.” Not only is good posture essential for keeping your bones and joints in proper alignment and avoiding back and neck pain, it also reflects a confident demeanor. Good posture is the key to looking self-assured.
By keeping your posture erect with shoulders back and head held high, you are telling the world that you are sure of yourself. Walking into a board meeting this way will send a message to your peers before you even open your mouth.
Engaged Body Language
Engaged body language involves using open gestures, smiling and nodding, and mirroring the expressions and movements of the other person. Mirroring body language is a way to bond and to build understanding. It truly is a powerful tool. Often times we don’t realize we are doing it. Make a mental note to practice this at your next business encounter and see if you notice any difference in the interactions between you and others.
Believe it or not, smiles have a powerful effect on us. They stimulate our own sense of well-being and can improve our health, stress levels, and our self-confidence. They relax our bodies and release endorphins that counteract with stress hormones. Smiling can also make you look more attractive and appear trustworthy.
With this in mind, smiling more often will not only benefit your own body but those around you. You want to not only appear strong and assertive but you want people to trust you as well. Practice smiling in the mirror and notice how your smile can make an impact on your presence.
Pitch of Your Voice
According to Forbes.com, “the quality of your voice can be a deciding factor in how you are perceived. Speakers with higher-pitched voices are judged to be less empathic, less powerful and more nervous than speakers with lower-pitched voices.”
Notice your own infections and how you are articulating your words when speaking in the workplace and on important phone calls. Since the sound of your voice is critical to how you are perceived by others, do your best to relax your voice to its optimal pitch.
Strong eye contact is one of the greatest indicators of confidence. Even though some people were taught or raised in a culture where extended eye contact is inappropriate, most businesspeople from the U.S., Europe, and Australia all expect you to maintain eye contact 50-60% of the time. When you keep eye contact with the person you are talking to it indicates that you are focused and paying attention. It means that you are actually listening to what the person is saying and thus will have an appropriate response to follow.
If you feel uncomfortable, practice with someone you know like a friend or family member until you make it a daily habit.
Arms and Legs position
Sometimes when we are in an uncomfortable or in a vulnerable situation, we don’t know what to do with our arms or legs. Cross them or uncrossed them? Stand with our legs far apart or close together?
Carol Kinsey Goman of Forbes says, “When you stand with your feet close together, you can seem hesitant or unsure of what you are saying. But when you widen your stance, relax your knees and center your weight in your lower body, you look more “solid” and confident.”
Similarly with your arms, crossing them can suggest you are closed off, self-protective or defensive. To avoid this, pay attention to your body. Notice how you are feeling when your arms or legs are in a crossed position. What are you saying or what are others around you saying or doing? Focus instead on putting your hands on your lap when sitting or by your side when standing. Cross your legs at the knee, however, avoid crossing your arms at the same time.
The Hand Shake
Davenports says,” A firm, solid handshake is a universal sign of confidence, and everyone, including women, should have one.” It should be strong without crushing the other person’s hand and should also be accompanied with a few seconds of eye contact.
This sign of respect can give you and the person you are exchanging the handshake with, a boost of confidence.
Apparently, a lot of people feel inadequate about their handshaking abilities. In 2014, Bussiness Inquirer published an article saying that 70% of people don’t know how to give a proper handshake. Learning how to master this first impression is key to confident body language for success.
We hope you enjoyed these tips! Comment below with some of yours!