Learning how to project a confident body language is very beneficial in more ways than one. When you are perceived as confident, people react accordingly. They trust decisions, they get behind your actions and they believe what you have to say. Confidence is mesmerizing. That’s why it’s almost always the confident person who gets the job, makes the sale and succeeds in life.
Act Confident, Feel Confident
A lot of the time, it’s competence that breeds confidence in people: when you’re adequately prepared for a test, you tend to be confident during the exam; when you’re trained in a foreign language, you will speak it confidently; when you know you have moves like Derrick Rose, you’ll walk up to a street game with a swagger. Most of the time, though, we’re put in a situations where we’re not wholly competent. When interviewing for a job, for instance, you’re never really 100 percent sure if you’re the right for person for it. Yet, you are expected to exhibit confidence in your abilities. How do you do it? You fake it till you make it.
Basically, you act the way people act when they’re confident. And, most of the time, this entails adjusting your body language so that you act the same way confident people will act in the same situation. Confident body language will often breed real confidence, too, especially when you see positive results from your actions.
Confident Versus Cocky
Don’t worry about coming across as cocky. While confidence can be misconstrued for cockiness, it doesn’t happen all that often. Besides, most people come across as cocky from what comes out of their mouths (the tall tales they tell). Unless you like to hear the sound of your own voice too much, you probably aren’t in danger of doing this.
Confident Body Language
So, how do you project this confidence with your body language?
- Smile. When you’re confident, the world is your oyster. So why won’t you be smiling? Flash that smile to people, as well. Confident people have no reason to be afraid of greeting others with a smile first, after all. Don’t fake a huge smile with exposed teeth and everything unless you’re feeling like it, though. Going too far with this will make you look awkward and creepy.
- Eyes forward. Avoid looking down, to your side, to the ceiling (or the skies) and far off into the horizon. Instead, keep your eye on the level, whether you’re talking with someone or walking down the street. During interaction, draw an imaginary inverse triangle on the person’s face around the eyes and nose, then keep your gaze there.
- Keep your hands out of your pockets. We put our hands in our pockets when we’re uncomfortable, unsure of ourselves or up to something shady. As long as you keep it there, that’s exactly what people will think as well. It’s a nervous gesture. When you’re confident, your hands simply fall to your side or sit on your waist because you have nothing to be afraid of. If you’re holding a drink in hand, hold it with your left hand. You will shake hands with people you meet with your right, so you don’t want it cold, wet and clammy.
- Get rid of crossed hands. Never cross your hands across your chest — there’s absolutely no reason for it. For one, we doubt it’s more comfortable than having your hands on the side. More importantly, it’s a defensive posture — the kind children take when they don’t get what they want from mommy. It makes you look like you’re either being bratty, defensive or downright uncomfortable where you are. Yes, this holds even if you have steroid-fueled biceps and triceps, unless you’re working as a bouncer trying to look intimidating.
- Stay still. We don’t mean act like a statue, though — just act like a calm cat in repose. Fidgeting, pacing, shaking your legs (when sitting) and jerky movements all indicate a deep down nervousness. While it’s fine to talk with your hands, it’s still better to keep it steady most of the time — many people compensate for nervousness with jerky and flailing hand gestures all the time.
- Straight posture with shoulders back. Slouching, whether you’re sitting or standing, is almost always equated with low self-confidence. Learn hold your posture properly by imagining a string extending out of your spine and neck attached to the ceiling — that’s how confident people hold their bodies. When you do this, your shoulders roll back, your back stands upright and your head is naturally held high.
- Take wide steps. Confident men walk with a wide stride because they’re sure where they’re going. Contrast this with small steps that look like you’re sneaking in on someone. Additionally, take deliberate slower steps — it helps you avoid jerky movements that make you appear like you’re scurrying to hide from somebody.
- Basic grooming. Yes, it’s part of your body language. If your hair is unkempt, your beard untrimmed and your mouth stinking of alcohol from the night before, don’t you think it’s communicating something negative to people you encounter? Get your basic grooming in order and you’ll be fine. While not all of us are born sharp dressers, try to dress the nicest way you can. If you’re not sure how to put a good wardrobe together, find movies with actors that have the same body type as you and emulate how they dress. Stick to the basics, though, and avoid anything that’s too funky, too colorful or too wild.
- Move slower. This goes for all your actions as a whole, including how you speak. Unless someone throws a grenade into the room and you need to pull your companion out to safety, there’s rarely a reason to make sudden movements. Slow body movements show you’re not afraid to take your time — one of the hallmarks of a truly confident individual.
- Don’t hesitate to touch people when it’s appropriate. Touching is normal, so don’t be weird about it. Touch women on the elbow, pat a guy on a shoulder and hold somebody’s hand if the interaction makes it natural. Don’t second-guess yourself in these situations — just do it and act normal the whole time. When you’re afraid to touch people, you normally end up closing your body of, projecting a very uncomfortable appearance.