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Confident body language
How to look confident – even when you don’t feel it
The moment you step into a room, people immediately form some sort of impression of you. They make snap judgments about what type of person you are – trustworthy, sincere, capable. Much of this is based on whether you present with timid or confident body language.
Did you know that 55% of our communication is nonverbal? Vocal inflection is just 38%, while our words constitute only 7% of our communication. No wonder we say that actions speak louder than words. Subtle physical cues – from how you have your hands placed to how you set your shoulders – set the tone.
If you know how to look confident, people will be more inclined to give you the attention and respect that you deserve. If you appear uncomfortable and insecure, on the other hand, people may be quick to dismiss or discredit you. Confident body language is an integral part of communication and the way you carry yourself may be communicating more than you know to the outside world. That’s why it’s vital to learn how to look more confident – even when you’re not feeling that way.
How to look confident
So how do you communicate a confident look that reinforces your intelligence and capability? By learning about confident body language. Unfortunately, many struggle with self-doubt. Many also believe that if you aren’t born with confidence then you are out of luck. That’s far from the truth. Learning how to look more confident is a skill, and it starts with making small changes to your physical movements, your mindset and your daily routine.
1. Align your shoulders
Slouching displays a lack of confidence and sincerity. Discover how to look confident by standing up straight, pushing your shoulders back slightly and opening up your chest. Be sure to keep your shoulders even, as unevenness conveys indecisiveness. Also, be sure to square your shoulders toward your speaking partner. We point our bodies where our mind wants to go. So if you are speaking to another but your body is facing the door, it comes off that you would like to exit the conversation. The person you are speaking to may think you are discourteous or uncomfortable. Squaring your shoulders toward your partner conveys a sense of interest and confidence and helps you make instant connections.
2. Curb the fidgeting
One of the biggest habits that destroys confident body language is mindless fidgeting. This is a dead giveaway that you feel uncomfortable. Have you ever watched a professional newscaster? They never touch their face, adjust their ties, pull at their clothing or play with their jewelry. They are trained to get you to believe what they are saying; if they didn’t know how to look confident while delivering their message, you would not trust nor believe them. If you find yourself fidgeting, relax. Stay present and fold your hands in your lap or on top of the table in front of you.
3. Steeple your hands
What’s the most confident look? A single hand gesture could be the answer. Many people are used to what is called the “fig leaf” gesture, in which one hand cups the other and rests over the groin area. But this hand gesture conveys insecurity and weakness. To unlock how to look more confident, you want to use the hand steeple, in which the fingers come together to form a point. When someone steeples in the chest area, it signals that they are confident about what they are saying. When someone steeples in the lap area, it means they are confident about what they are hearing.
4. Make eye contact
Eye contact is one of the most powerful forms of confident body language. Follow the 80/20 rule: for 80% of the time your eyes are meeting your speaking partner’s; for 20% of the time, your eyes are roaming as you determine what to say in return. Good eye contact allows your speaking partner to feel that you are interested in what they are saying. They will also appreciate and respect you more for meeting their eyes and ultimately view you as a caring, confident individual.
5. Have a firm handshake
Those who know how to look confident understand that a good handshake can set the tone for your interaction with another individual. The best handshake starts with you holding your hand in a vertical position with your fingers together and your thumb extended upright. Then, when shaking your partner’s hand, make a close, assertive connection in which the web of your hand meets their web. Approach their hand as evenly as possible, as the way a person extends their hand says a lot about their intention. When someone’s hand is facing down, it means they want to control you. If their hand is facing up, it conveys that they are submissive.
If you want to go the extra mile to project a confident look, “anchor” the handshake. This means using your other hand to touch the person softly on their forearm between their wrist and their elbow. Done correctly, this move conveys that you are fully committed to speaking with the person. Just be sure to not go any higher than the elbow, as this could make the person feel like you are invading their personal space.
6. Walk with ease
Want to know how to make yourself look confident when entering a room? Change how you walk. The way you walk can show if you are nervous, happy or upset, as well as indicate if you are relaxed or in a rush. Whether you are walking into a networking group where you want to impress others in attendance or you’re entering a board room to gain the upper hand in a negotiation, the right type of walk will make you appear all the more confident.
Those who walk fast and keep their arms tight against their bodies appear nervous and unsure of themselves. Walk slowly with your arms held loose by your sides. Pair this walk with an open expression and be ready to shake hands when you encounter others. Your confident body language will draw others to you.
7. Create confidence-building habits
Once you can employ confident body language in the moment, you can begin to work on changing your daily habits to promote real confidence. There are plenty of habits you can start, but three of the most powerful are priming, visualization and incantations. Priming is a morning routine created by Tony Robbins that incorporates elements of psychology and meditation to start your day in an empowered and confident state. Visualization is a form of mental conditioning used by everyone from Conor McGregor to Michael Phelps. Tony takes his visualization to the next level by adding incantations – and not just adding them, but shouting them from the rooftops.
8. Master your emotions
Truly mastering how to look more confident starts with the ability to control your emotions. If you let life’s small annoyances make you angry or you are living in a state of fear, your confidence will be constantly overruled by your emotions – and letting your emotions rule your life only leads to disappointment. Start by first identifying and acknowledging what you feel, without letting it overtake you. Ask yourself what the emotion is telling you, then take action to bring balance back to your state. You can even use some of these confident body language tips to “trick” your brain into letting go of the negative emotion so that you can replace it with a positive one.
9. Address your limiting beliefs
When you change how you think about yourself, you change your life. This includes the words you say out loud and the words you say in your head. It’s much easier to learn how to make yourself look confident when you feel confident about yourself and your abilities.
Much of this has to do with addressing limiting beliefs about who you are and how others see you. If you’ve been told in the past that you are not good enough or that no one will respect you, you probably believe, deep down, that it’s actually true. When you adopt empowering beliefs about yourself, you increase your self-esteem and this will show in your outward appearance.
10. Model someone else
Some people make confident body language seem easy. You can create your own confident look by choosing one of these individuals to model yourself after. This person can be a celebrity you follow on social media or a person in your community who impresses you. The ideal role model will be knowledgeable and well-rounded; they will show concern and respect for others in addition to appearing confident in multiple types of situations. Your role model can be someone you observe from a distance, or you can reach out to them and develop a mentoring relationship.
Learn how to look more confident, as well as other secrets to success, with Tony Robbins’ 30-Day Personal Power program.
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