When meeting someone for the first time – whether it’s going for an interview or going on a date, we are mindful of the first impression we give, whether it’s cleaning ourself up, wearing nice clothing, or even mentally preparing how we want things to go.
But all this time, we’ve been neglecting something really important…
Our Body language.
A famous study on communication attributed that:
- 38 percent of meaning is communicated through tone of voice,
- 7 percent comes from spoken words.
- 55 percent comes from body language.
“Body language and tone of voice – not words – are our most powerful assessment tools”Chris Voss
Although much discussion has disputed this claim, we can’t ignore how crucial body language is for showing self-confidence.
Neglecting confident body language can impact our ability to build relationships, adapt to social situations, make good first impressions, lead, and negotiate with others.
This is something that can be addressed. Check out these 4 quick fixes for more confident body language…
If you demonstrate poor posture, this can come across that you have little confidence and low self-esteem.
When I was younger, I often would walk around slouched and with my head held down. My logic was, by keeping my head down, I’d avoid the risk of being picked on. This strategy was counter intuitive, actually making me more likely to be a victim of abuse.
As I became an adult, my posture naturally improved, working a job, going to the gym and doing karate made me less fretful of the outside world.
A quick hack, to give you a more confident looking posture is to use the power pose, introduced by Tony Robbins.
Keep your posture:
- shoulders back
- head held high
- hands on hips
- legs apart
This gives an outward appearance of confidence, and the good news – because of this appearance you start feeling better about yourself.
On my commute to work, I would often practice this pose just before arriving in the office, this resulted in giving me a stride suitable for the Man of Steel himself!
“When the eyes say one thing, and the tongue another, a practiced man relies on the language of the first.”Ralph Waldo Emerson
Another trick is making sure you maintain the right level of eye contact.
Note the word right level – you want to get the balance right to come across confident and assertive, not as a psycho looking for a fight!
Very Well Mind, recommends maintaining eye contact 60 percent of the time. It is quite affective to move your gaze to the left or right of the person you are talking to (Additional note particularly for men: if talking to a woman don’t avert your eyes to their breasts!)
In a street scenario, when walking past people, maintain the upright power pose, keep the head held up high, acknowledge the persons gaze from a distance, as you approach feel free to smile, keep eye contact and even say “Hi” if they look friendly, if your not so sure about the person, briefly glance once over to show you’re not intimidated, before looking forward in the direction your heading.
Not only does smiling make you look more attractive, it also shows your confidence, because when you smile you are showing you are relaxed and comfortable.
Have you ever noticed if you smile at someone they smile back?
This is to do with neurons in the brain that pickup on the body language of others. By smiling you are making everyone around you feel happier and want to be around you.
As I’ve been working from home, I’ve been using a smile to my advantage, having a smile on my face as I talk about my work with passion and enthusiasm, and picking the right cues when someone else is talking to give a beaming grin down the camera, to show I’m reacting to what’s been said.
When it comes to building relationships, it’s a helpful way of identifying someone who is receptive, making you feel more comfortable to go talk to them.
Mirroring is a method to subtlety mimic the behaviours of another both verbally and physically. Have you ever noticed when you are having a deep conversation with someone you get on well with, you find you are both copying each other’s movements?
If they lean in, so do you.
You hold your chin, contemplating a thought, they do the same…
… And so on.
Due to mirroring’s ability to build rapport, it’s often used by sales people as a way of establishing that they ‘get you’. Because of this, if not done with care, it can come off that you are using pop psychology tricks, or mocking the person.
Mirroring can be used to display your confidence, for example if you go over to talk to a colleague who is sat down, by pulling up a chair or squatting down, you are showing how assured you are to get down on their level, and they’ll feel more comfortable not having to look up at you.
Our body language impacts how we communicate…
“People may not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel”Maya Angelou
People can judge us in a 10th of a second. By being more mindful of the signs our body language gives off, we can help give off a more positive impression in our daily interactions.
This post has focused on four quick fixes for more effective body language:
- Eye Contact
When combined together along with other physical and verbal cues, we can appear a much more confident person. Continued practice of these techniques can help make you become much more assured in your own self-belief.
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Wishing you the best in your success.
James @Perfect Manifesto.