The key to success in many areas of our lives is confidence. Confident people stand out at work, in social situations, and in group settings. In fact, studies have shown that those who appear more confident, are able to achieve a higher status than their less confident peers. Consequently, they wield more influence and tend to be more admired and listened to. They also have access to better resources. But, what if you are not as confident as you would like to be? Fear not! Some slight modifications to your body language can have a huge impact. All you need to do is learn to fake it until you make it with these eight tricks.
1. Keep your chin and head up
Body language expert Lillian Glass, and author of ‘The Body Language Advantage’ says that you need to keep your head up at all times. “Confident people are always looking up, never down at the table, the ground, or their feet,” she says. “You have to always pretend that there’s a string holding the crown of your head up.”
2. Eye contact
One of the ways to maintain confidence is to keep eye contact in social interactions. Maintaining eye contact shows that you are interested and comfortable. You should try keeping eye contact for about 60% of the time. Appear confident by maintaining eye contact in social interactions. If however direct eye contact feels too intimidating, just look at a spot close to the person’s eyes.
3. Stand up straight
One way others perceive you is in your posture. Standing up straight will help you project confidence, authority, and poise. On the other hand, slouching makes you look unprofessional and disinterested. Roll both of your shoulders back and avoid looking tense by allowing your upper body muscles back to relax, maintaining firmness in your core.
4. Lean forward
If you are conversing with someone, leaning forward indicates interest and attention. Although it can be tempting to maintain distance if you are socially anxious, this conveys the message that you are disinterested or aloof.
5. Plant your feet in an open, wide stance
While you may think that nobody is looking at your feet, the correct stance can demonstrate confidence. This means that standing with your feet too close together can make you appear timid. Generally, aim for a stance that’s in line with your hips and shoulders. You also want to keep your feet about a foot apart, pointing outward. “A confident person literally has two feet firmly planted on the ground,” Glass says. “You’re more balanced physically, and it shows more confidence than if your legs are crossed or together.” It is also good to keep in mind the difference between an open and closed stance when talking to someone. Keeping your feet angled outwards and in the direction of the person that you are speaking too shows interest, trust, and receptiveness. Alternatively, a closed stance conveys disinterest.
6. Gesture with your palms up
According to Glass, “Gesturing with your palms up gives the illusion of honesty, and this will make you appear more confident.” So aim for broad, smooth motions. This will show composure and poise.
7. Don’t fidget
Fidgeting is a sign of anxiety and nervousness. To appear more confident, keep your fidgeting to a minimum and bear in mind that nervous movements draw attention away from what you are saying, making it hard for others to focus on your message.
8. Keep your hands out of your pockets and always visible
Keep your hands visible. “Putting your hands in your pockets is one of the worst things you can do if you want to appear confident,” says Glass, adding, “Make sure your hands are always visible, never hiding. Putting your hands in your pockets is one of the worst things you can do if you want to appear confident. We hide our hands when we’re nervous, so putting your hands in your pockets sends a message that you’re uncomfortable or uncertain.” Crossing your arms has a similar negative effect, this makes you appear closed off and unreceptive.
9. Cut out ‘um’ and ‘like’
Confidence is measured in the way you speak, so it’s important to be aware of your mannerisms and tone. According to Glass, “You want to speak while pressing down firmly on your abdominal muscles because you’ll have a more confident, lower, more powerful voice. Cut out words such as ‘um’ and ‘like,’ and practice being more articulate.” She also adds, “Don’t run through your words, try to speak precisely and directly,” and, “Also, don’t be afraid to use inflection in your tone and show enthusiasm, because this shows confidence.”
10. Be interested, not interesting
If you want to appear more confident, the best piece of advice you can get is to focus on the people you are engaged with, as opposed to worrying about how others will perceive you. Glass says, “Be more focused on the other person and what message is being communicated than focused on yourself and your self-consciousness.”
11. Move slowly
Fast movements will make you appear more anxious. Notice your hand gestures, your walking stride – all of which can make a difference. So slow down. This will make you feel more confident.
12. Take larger steps
As you slow down, begin to take longer strides as you walk. Confident people take larger steps and walk with authority. Doing so will make you feel less anxious.