- How Can Body Language Project Self-Confidence
- 1. For projecting better self-confidence, maintain an assertive posture
- 2. Change body language by using power poses
- When you’re closing a deal:
- When you’re pitching an idea:
- When you’re going to give a presentation:
- 3. Watch your hands
- 4. Pay attention to your face
- 5. Maintain appropriate eye contact for effective business communication
- 6. Mirror the body language of others
- 7. Try not to fidget
- You Are What You Do: 16 Ways to Improve Your Body Language
- What Is Body Language?
- Conscious or Subconscious?
- Body Language Caveats
- 16 Ways to Improve Body Language
- 1. Be Aware
- 2. Study Others
- 3. Mirror the Other Person
- 4. Be Aware of How You Cross Your Arms and Legs
- 5. Make Eye Contact
- 6. Relax Your Shoulders
- 7. Don't Slouch
- 8. Face Your Conversation Partner
- 9. Lean In
- 10. Mind Your Fidgeting
- 11. Don't Tilt Your Head (Too Much)
- 12. Don't End Sentences with Upswings
- 13. Go for a Firm or Matching Handshake
- 14. Know Where Your Hands Are
- 15. Sit in an Engaging Position
- 16. Relax!
- Found this article useful? Pin it!
- 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language
- 1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically
- Warming up
- Stay hydrated
- 2. Focus on your goal
- 3. Convert negativity to positivity
- 4. Understand your content
- 5. Practice makes perfect
- 6. Be authentic
- 7. Post speech evaluation
- Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation
- Improve your next speech
- Top 10 tips to have more confident body language
- 10 Positive Body Language Techniques to Help you Succeed — Udemy Blog
- Here are 10 tips to help you keep your body language positive:
- On the flip side, we also have a list of 10 body language no-nos:
How Can Body Language Project Self-Confidence
The ability to walk into a room and exude a self-confidence that communicates your commitment and trustworthiness is essential in business interactions. After all, each gesture can say a lot about who you represent, how you’re feeling, and whether you even want to be in that boardroom or pitch meeting.
«You are in control of [the message] you are sending out,» Barbara Pachter writes in her book The Essentials of Business Etiquette. «I believe that if you project a confident, credible, composed image, people will respond to you as if you are all those things. Who cares what you are feeling on the inside?»
Because so often, it’s not what you say, it’s what your body language is communicating while you say it.
Are your nonverbal cues connecting with others and sending the right message about why you’re there? Do you appear confident and approachable by maintaining eye contact and by using gestures that make others feel at ease? Are you leaning forward to show that you’re listening or stepping back to indicate that you’re looking for a way the conversation?
Those outward reflections can open up opportunities in the world of business—or they can create unnecessary barriers if you’re not careful. The last thing you want is for your body language to be projecting a very different image than what you intend.
Consider the following seven tips on body language that can lead to big changes and increase your chances of success.
1. For projecting better self-confidence, maintain an assertive posture
How can you build confidence in a matter of seconds? One effective strategy for building confidence is to look confident by maintaining an assertive posture, which makes you appear more balanced and grounded.
When standing, keep your feet planted firmly on the ground, shoulder width apart from each other and distribute your weight equally on both legs. Keep in mind that you should angle your feet outward and in the direction of the person you are speaking with, to signal that you are receptive to hearing that person’s ideas and opinions.
«This is an assertive posture,» Pachter explains in her book. «It is a posture that projects confidence, not insecurity. You are open to the person to whom you are talking. And you can stand tall, regardless of your height.»
When standing, imagine a string pulling your head up toward the sky, and a straight line should exist from your earlobes through your shoulders, hip, and the middle of your ankles.
Avoid standing in a «submissive position» with your legs crossed, hands folded in front of you, or weight pressed down on one hip.
If your work requires you to sit in a chair the majority of the day, consider practicing good posture while sitting. When you sit, do so with your back straight with your rear toward the back of the chair, and your feet planted firmly on the floor.
In this position, you should be able to stand straight up without having to lean forward first.
This kind of sitting position puts the least amount of strain on supporting muscles, keep you from back and neck pains and help you develop a strong core—all essential for good standing posture.
Additionally, good posture opens your airways which ensures proper breathing.
2. Change body language by using power poses
It’s the day of your big presentation or the meeting with some important people, and you need to believe that you’re confident and deserve the opportunity right in front of you. The social psychologist Amy Cuddy says learning how to be confident can start with just two minutes of various power poses.
In her TED talk on body language, Cuddy says that power poses, much of which involves open body positions that take up space, can send signals to the brain that you’re feeling confident, and, in turn, the brain produces more testosterone and lowers your cortisol levels, also known as the stress hormone.
Cuddy further explores how power-posing can shift our attitudes in her book, Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges, in which she writes that when your body is mimicking gestures that a powerful person would do, your brain starts to believe that you’re powerful. Those body-mind nudges, she says, allows you to skip over any negative talk and unproductive thinking patterns that can impact you psychologically.
Below are a few situations where powerful poses can be useful.
When you’re closing a deal:
Place both of your hands on the table and lean forward to show that you’re engaged. This is a position of dominance, according to Cuddy, and can help you command a room. Wondering how to show confidence with this pose without coming off too aggressive or arrogant? Consider practicing it before you do it in front of others.
When you’re pitching an idea:
Prop your feet up on the table, place your hands behind your head and lean back. This pose is a tough one to pull off if you’re in someone else’s office, so make sure this is one that you save for your own space.
Consider striking this pose before your guests arrive or if you’re pitching your idea over a phone call.
Power poses this one, according to Cuddy, can help increase your risk tolerance—something you need to push forward with your next big idea.
When you’re going to give a presentation:
Wondering how to build confidence before a big presentation? Strike a quick pose right before you’re in front of your colleagues and all of those investors.
Throwing your hands in the air and standing with your feet wide apart for two minutes can increase your testosterone levels and help you feel powerful.
While you’re at it, imagine a standing ovation just for you as your hands are in the air.
3. Watch your hands
We all know the power of a good handshake, but your hands can say a lot more than just “hello.” They can help enhance your verbal message, invite dialogue and convey respect.
Universally, gesturing with an open hand, palm facing up, has a positive effect on others, communicating acceptance, openness, cooperation and trustworthiness.
The last thing you want to do is offend someone by jabbing a finger in his or her face. Pointing can seem aggressive, but many people do it without understanding how intimidating it may be to others.
Instead, when you're explaining an idea, «point with an open palm, and keep your fingers together,» she writes.
On the other hand, placing your hands on your hips—a popular position for many—can actually give off an air of arrogance or impatience, while crossing your arms communicates that you’re feeling uncomfortable, defensive and closed off.
4. Pay attention to your face
What are your facial expressions communicating during business meetings and interactions? If you tend to furrow your brows or squint your eyes when you’re listening to someone speak, your nonverbal cues might be conveying a message you’re not intending to.
What can you do? Pay attention to the comments your friends and colleagues make when you're listening to them. Do they think you're upset because your facial expressions tend to be stern? If this is the case, try to relax your muscles or smile more often when meeting new people.
5. Maintain appropriate eye contact for effective business communication
When you’re able to maintain appropriate eye contact, you’re communicating that you’re honest, approachable and confident. You’re telling others that they have your full attention and that you respect what they have to say. In the case of a disagreement, maintaining eye contact communicates that you can stand your ground.
Just make sure that your eye contact is appropriate and doesn’t become too aggressive, making others uncomfortable. In his book The Power of Eye Contact: Your Secret for Success in Business, Love, and Life, author Michael Ellsberg says that “in order for eye contact to feel good, one person cannot impose his visual will on another; it is a shared experience.”
Those who aren’t able to maintain eye contact, or are the first to break eye contact, may be signaling that they’re hiding something, feeling uncomfortable or they're projecting a lower status than or submissiveness to the person with whom they’re speaking.
6. Mirror the body language of others
One effective way to bond with others quickly is to mirror their gestures, postures, vocal qualities and mannerisms. These small movements indicate that you’re interested in their company and want to build an understanding and connection with them.
For instance, if someone is sitting in a certain way, consider sitting in a similar position. If that person s to speak with their hands, you might want to incorporate similar movements into the conversation. If that person tends to speak slower, try matching their pace and volume vocally.
But it’s not enough to mimic or copy someone else’s body language; you also need to know when it’s not appropriate to do so. The success of mirroring comes down to doing it in a way that feels and seems natural, not to imitate or irk those around you.
7. Try not to fidget
Whatever it is that you do—jingle coins in your pocket, tap your foot repeatedly on the ground or play with your hair—stop fidgeting as it is unproductive when it comes to projecting self-confidence. These movements can come off as signs of nervousness, frustration or boredom, which take away from the message you’re trying to communicate and distract people from getting to know you.
If you tend to play with your hair, tap your nails on tables or jingle coins in your pocket when you're in front of a group, pay attention to what triggers those habits so that you can replace them with more productive ones.
For instance, if you tend to play with your hair, then consider putting it into a bun or combing it away from your face (and reach of your fingers). If you jingle coins, then make sure you don’t have any in your pockets, or better yet, wear clothes with no pockets.
If you tend to fidget with pens, make sure you don’t have one in your hand while speaking. Instead, try working on hand gestures that can have positive effects on others.
Some of us fidget because it helps to calm us in stressful situations; others do it because they have excess energy.
If your fidgeting habits are brought on because you are feeling stressed or nervous, then consider taking a few deep breaths right before your event to calm your nerves and get you back to your baseline.
If your behavior is brought on by the adrenaline rush that can come before a big speech or an important meeting, then consider doing activities to help you get rid of that excess energy. For instance, try going on a run or doing push-ups before your presentation.
Now that you’re aware of the following tips, the question of how to appear more confident should be easier to answer. The key is to not let your body language undermine what it is that you want to do as a leader.
Since most of the information that we receive comes from nonverbal cues, remember to pay particular attention to the types of messages that your body language is conveying. You can certainly teach yourself over time how to be confident.
But when you're in a pinch, consider the above tips to help you feel that you're up for whatever challenge you’re facing.
A version of this article was originally published on August 20, 2013.
Photo: Getty Images
You Are What You Do: 16 Ways to Improve Your Body Language
What you say is only the tip of the iceberg of communication. The rest lies in your body language: how you hold yourself, your mannerisms, conduct, and even how you breathe.
With a little conscious effort to improve your body language, you stand a better chance of scoring that job, that date, or simply being seen as the engaging and genuine person that you are.
(See also: 7 Ways to be the Life of Every Party)
What Is Body Language?
Body language includes more than just the slouch-factor or where you put your hands. In fact, it includes facial expressions, proximity to others, body position, habits, eye gestures, how we touch ourselves and others, how we interact with what we touch (i.e., fiddling), and even breathing.
Conscious or Subconscious?
Many of our mannerisms are subconscious, and we also read other people's mannerisms subconsciously.
In fact, in the first two minutes of meeting somebody, your chances of remembering their name is slim, because your subconscious mind is busy evaluating that person's body language and getting to know their personality that way.
(So if you want somebody to remember your name, make sure you repeat it after the first two minutes of conversation; it drastically improves their chances.)
But body language — specifically our control over it — can also be quite conscious.
By identifying the habits you have that don't serve you well and adopting new habits that increase the engagement factor with other people, you can consciously improve your body language — and hence your communication skills.
At first some of the techniques in this article might seem awkward or forced, but most often it's only you who feels that way, since you're changing an ingrained habit. Keep it up, and you'll be naturally socializing a star in no time.
Body Language Caveats
Before we get into the specific methods of improving your body language, remember that no one gesture is universal.
Although crossed arms can signal a communication blockage, it could also be necessary for warmth or simply a comfortable way to hold your arms.
Rubbing your eyes could signify frustration, or it could just mean you're tired or have an itch. Try not to read into body language (yours or others') too much or too literally.
Culture also plays a part in body language. Some cultures respect personal space more than others, so proximity guidelines would be different depending on who you are dealing with. Other cultures view eye contact as a threat and lack of respect, and not the sign of confidence that many Western cultures view it as.
16 Ways to Improve Body Language
Here are 16 ways to understand and improve your own body language.
1. Be Aware
The first step to body language improvement is awareness. Start to pay attention to everything you do, and when you do it. The other day, I noticed I play with my earring when talking to certain people or about certain topics; with that realization I can better understand why I do it and what it means. Awareness is half the battle.
2. Study Others
Look at other people — especially people you admire. How do they hold themselves? What can you learn from them?
3. Mirror the Other Person
If you are sitting or standing opposite somebody, mirror their body positions, match their tone, and carry the same pace of conversation. Don't do it in an obvious or unnatural fashion. Even subtle mirroring can create a synergy and connection, and after a while you'll both be doing it naturally — you won't even know who is following who!
4. Be Aware of How You Cross Your Arms and Legs
Many people find crossing arms or legs comfortable, so it's no use to say you can't do it.
If you want to cross your legs, that's okay; just be aware of the direction your cross them in, and make sure you cross towards your conversation partner.
Beware: crossing your legs in a «figure four» fashion with your ankle resting on your knee can be seen as being stubborn or arrogant.
Also, be aware of other ways of creating crosses with your body; women often grab their opposite shoulder or elbow, or people hold a drink on the table using the opposite hand: these are signs of a lack of confidence or closing your body (and mind) to the conversation.
5. Make Eye Contact
Eyes are windows to the soul, and what you do with them communicates a lot. Be sensitive to cultures that eschew eye contact with elders or strangers; otherwise don't be afraid to look somebody in the eye. Not only will you say a lot by doing so, but you might also learn a lot.
6. Relax Your Shoulders
Holding your shoulders by your ears is a sign of tension, and stands to put your conversation partner on edge as well.
7. Don't Slouch
Although sitting ram-rod straight might be a forced exaggeration, make sure you're not slouching. Your back — and social life — will benefit.
8. Face Your Conversation Partner
Similar to crossing arms and legs, not facing your conversation partner is a sign of distraction or disinterest. You'll increase engagement by facing your partner, and…
9. Lean In
Have you ever had a conversation that you're both really enthusiastic about? You'll probably notice you both are lively, and leaning in towards each other.
10. Mind Your Fidgeting
I'm a sucker for playing with my drink, or straw, an earring, or a bottle cap — with what I affectionately refer to as a «tactile fixation.» But it can be a sign of nervousness and, at the very least, a distraction for others.
Also watch out for touching your face or running your hands through your hair.
11. Don't Tilt Your Head (Too Much)
Although a slight tilt of your head can indicate interest, too much of a head tilt (women are the main culprits for this) indicates submissiveness.
12. Don't End Sentences with Upswings
Although intonation isn't quite body language, it warrants mentioning since it's part of the subconscious messages we communicate. Ending your sentences questions indicates a lack of confidence in what you're saying, which does nothing to instill others' confidence in you.
13. Go for a Firm or Matching Handshake
Don't squeeze the life your new acquaintance, but a nice firm handshake feels good. I tend to try to match my acquaintance's handshake ( mirroring) — except for wet fishes. I just can't do it.
14. Know Where Your Hands Are
Holding your arms behind your back with your hands clasped is a sign of confidence. (It also provides you with something for your hands to do if you're a fidgeter! This is great for public speaking.)
Conversely, holding your hands in your pockets might be comfortable, but can also indicate boredom or over-confidence.
15. Sit in an Engaging Position
Unless you're star-crossed lovers gazing into one another's eyes, sitting directly opposite somebody indicates confrontation. It's even worse with a table or desk in between you, which creates a barrier. Instead, try to sit at a 45 degree angle. This provides comfort, space, and still allows you to mirror and engage.
Now that you're probably hyper-aware of everything you do and don't do, take a deep breath and relax. Adjusting your body language might feel unnatural at first, so don't force it too much. With a dose of awareness and applying these techniques gently over time, you'll communicate everything you want to with your words as well as your body.
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7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language
Last Updated on July 20, 2021
You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.
Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:
1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically
According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.
“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor
Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:
If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.
If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.
Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:
- Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
- Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
- Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.
Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.
To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.
Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.
Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.
Meditation is a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.
Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which ly includes floundering on stage.
Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:
2. Focus on your goal
One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.
Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’
Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.
Decide on the progress you’d your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.
If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.
3. Convert negativity to positivity
There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?
‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’
It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.
Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”
Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.
Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:
4. Understand your content
Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.
However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.
“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor
Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.
Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.
One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.
5. Practice makes perfect
most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.
In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.
Public speaking, any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!
6. Be authentic
There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.
Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.
Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.
To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this you normally would with a close family or friend. It is having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting.
A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.
With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.
Presenters Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:
7. Post speech evaluation
Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.
Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation
We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.
You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.
Improve your next speech
As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:
- How did I do?
- Are there any areas for improvement?
- Did I sound or look stressed?
- Did I stumble on my words? Why?
- Was I saying “um” too often?
- How was the flow of the speech?
Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.
If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:
Top 10 tips to have more confident body language
10 Positive Body Language Techniques to Help you Succeed — Udemy Blog
Body language is the process of communicating nonverbally through body movements and gestures.
Positive body language can be defined as these nonverbal movements and gestures that are communicating interest, enthusiasm, and positive reactions to what someone else is saying.
How you communicate with your body is important because research show that 60% to 90% of communication is nonverbal. To many, body language is considered the most important aspect of communication as it sends signals to how we are truly feeling.
In general, body language is controlled by our subconscious mind and is not always in accordance with what we are saying.
Perceptive individuals will be able to pick up on the differences between what you are saying with your words and what your body is saying with its movements and deduce how you really feel.
To make sure you are conveying your thoughts and opinions how you want, practice your body language so that your movements match your words.
Here are 10 tips to help you keep your body language positive:
Posture. Keep a relaxed posture whether you are sitting or standing. Keep your back straight but not stiff and let those shoulders relax. This will reinforce the idea that you feel comfortable with your surroundings.
Take up space. You do not have to sprawl out but try sitting or standing with your legs apart a bit. This will signify to others that you are at ease with yourself.
Lean. Leaning in slightly when someone is speaking demonstrates that you are actively listening while leaning away signals that you are disinterested or hostile to the situation.
Arms. Crossing your arms is the visual clue that you are turned-off by what is going on around you. Practice hanging your arms comfortably at your side or bringing your hands together in your lap to show others that you are open to what they are communicating.
Hands. Talking with your hands is an easy way to incorporate gestures into your conversation but be careful not to make it a dance party. Emphasizing words with your hands can lead you to appear more credible and assured.
Handshake. The handshake is one of the most important nonverbal communication cues because it can set the mood for the entire conversation.
A firm handshake will give you instant credibility while a weak handshake will make you appear fragile. Take care not to crush the other person’s hand though.
Giving someone a death grip will signal to them that you are a bully or overcompensating for something.
Eye contact. Keep your head up and look the person who you are having a conversation with in the eyes both when they are talking to you and when you are talking to them. There is no need to stare them down and remember to blink and look away occasionally. Good eye contact lets others know that you are interested in the conversation.
Affirmative movements. You can show empathy with simple actions of agreement nodding your head or smiling. These actions let people know that you are on their side and that you can identify with their plight. You can even use laughter when appropriate.
Taking notes. Taking notes lets others know that you value what they are saying and that you are engaged in the conversation. Taking notes is not appropriate though in every situation.
Slower. Take a deep breath, hold it for a second or two, and let it out. Focus on slowing down your speech and body movements a bit. This will make you appear more confident and contemplative. It will also help calm you down if you are nervous.
On the flip side, we also have a list of 10 body language no-nos:
Checking the time. Looking at a timepiece signals that you do not want to be there and that you have more important things to be doing. If you are on a schedule or in a time crunch, politely let the other person know that you have an engagement and excuse yourself.
Looking at the ground. This tells people that you are shy or disinterested.
Touching your face. Everyone has a little itch they need to scratch now and again but repeatedly touching your face while speaking with someone is an indication that you are lying.
Picking at something. Whether it is your clothes, your notebook, or your fingernails, just leave it alone. Picking at something demonstrates boredom and disapproval. At the very least, it communicates that you are rude.
On the edge. Sitting on the edge of your chair will communicate that you are literally on the edge both mentally and physically.
You can make others feel more comfortable around you by sitting back in your chair and looking relaxed.
When you lean into a conversation to appear engaged, you want to lean with your back and leave you bottom firmly planted toward the back of the chair.
Tapping. Do not tap; it is simple. Tapping your fingers, feet, or even a pen indicates stress or impatience.
Objects. Did you know that placing an object in front of your body shows resistance and shyness? Place items that you need at your side to show people that you are not hiding behind them.
Too close. You want to be close to someone when you are having a conversation with them but being in their personal bubble will make them feel uncomfortable and make you look you do not know basic social cues. Four feet is the appropriate amount of space to give someone who is not a close intimate friend.
Fake smile. People know when you are faking a smile so do not even bother trying. A true smile comes from more than just your mouth. It can be seen in your entire face including your eyes. If you need to smile, try thinking of a happy thought or memory.
Over blinking. Blinking is normal but over blinking is usually a sign of anxiety and nervousness. Practice your blinking habits while looking at yourself in the mirror.
Page Last Updated: June 2021