Published October 26, 2015
They say a picture is worth a thousand words; now picture yourself, approaching a woman or a prospective client, walking into a board meeting or a party. How do you look? What message do you communicate the moment you walk into a room? What are your eyes, hands and shoulders saying? What information can people gather about you before you ever say a word? Never thought about it? You should. And you can start by perusing our top 10 tips to show confidence with body language.
People read your body language, often via instinct and without thinking. It’s because our poses and postures are a great source of information. They reflect our mood and our confidence level. We stand and walk a certain way when we’re confident and another way when we’re nervous. In a glance, most people can discern if we’re apprehensive or outgoing, relaxed or aggressive. With a little practice, we can learn the tips to show confidence through body language so that we always appear confident, capable and ready.
1. Avoid your pockets
The first tip on our list of the top 10 tips to show confidence with body language is to keep your hands out of your pockets. We put our hands in our pockets when we’re uncomfortable or unsure of ourselves. And as long as you have your hands stuffed down your pants, that’s how other people will view you.
Instinctually we tend to hide our hands when we’re nervous; keeping your hands out in the open indicates confidence and shows people you have nothing to hide. Also, recognize that putting your hands in your pockets encourages slouching, which isn’t good. As an alternative, try putting your hands on your hips; it’s a far more confident posture.
2. Don't fidget
Fidgeting is a clear sign of nervousness. A man who can’t keep still, is a man who is worried, tense and certainly not confident. Your hands can be your worst enemies -- fight to keep them still and steady. You can definitely talk with your hands, but keep your gesticulations calm and under control. Also, when seated, avoid that rapid leg-vibration thing that some guys do (you don’t want to look like a dog getting his belly rubbed).
3. Keep your eyes forward
Keeping your eyes level might be one of the trickiest ways to show confidence in body language. When you’re walking anywhere by yourself, it often feels natural to lower your head slightly and watch your step, but this posture communicates to others that you don’t want to engage in conversation or interact. And if you’re not careful, you might get into the habit of doing it all the time. Keep your chin up and your eyes forward, even when you’re walking down the street by yourself.
4. Stand up straight with your shoulders back
Standing up straight is one of the most important of our top 10 tips to project confidence through body language. It can be a challenge especially if you’ve been a sloucher all your life, but get over it. Standing up straight is perhaps the most important means of communicating confidence.
Concentrate on pushing your shoulders back slightly when standing and walking. Nothing major,just a little. That one simple motion does wonders for your posture. Try it in front of the mirror—you’ll be surprised how much more confident it makes you look.
5. Take wide steps
A confident man will never be described as “scurrying,” “creeping” or “sneaking,” so pay attention to the way you walk. If you want to show confidence with body language you want to take large steps. Wide steps make you seem purposeful and suggest a personal tranquility, which denotes confidence in a man.
6. Firm handshakes
Another of our top 10 tips for showing confidence with body language has to do with the firm handshake. There are few things worse than reaching out your hand during an introduction and getting a palm full of dead fish. Don’t be that guy. Instead, grip the other person’s hand firmly and confidently. If shaking hands with someone you’ve already met, you might even consider the two-hand grab: placing your free hand on the other person’s elbow adds warmth and enthusiasm to the handshake. Just don’t get carried away. A handshake is not a contest. Don’t try to crush the other person’s hand and don’t hold on too long.
More from AskMen.com:
7. Proper grooming
Imagine yourself walking into a room, maybe there are lots of beautiful women there or maybe the room is filled with respected colleagues. Now consider your appearance: four days' worth of scruff, bad skin, hair crispy and pointy like a Backstreet Boy’s. The point we’re trying to make is that grooming is an essential component of communicating confidence through body language.
You want your hair, face and even your smell to work for you, not against you. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new products to find the ones that work for you.
Confident people smile because they have nothing to worry about. Try this as an experiment: smile at someone as you pass them on the street or walking around the office. Chances are good that they’ll smile back. Now wouldn’t you like to have that effect on people all the time?
9. Don’t cross your arms when socializing
Crossing your arms is a protective posture. We do it when we’re cold, nervous or on guard. Think of those big, burly nightclub bouncers, crossing their 26-inch pythons while standing guard at the door to a club. Do they look like guys you want to talk to, joke with or work with? No, right? Their job is to look intimidating. Your job is to look likeable, open and confident. So relax a little and keep your arms uncrossed.
10. Use contact to show appreciation
The pat on the back is a lost art. Don’t be afraid to pat a buddy or a colleague on the back when he or she delivers a perfectly timed punch line or nails the big presentation. Most people aren’t freaked out by a hand on the shoulder and they’ll likely be appreciative of your sign of affection and respect.