The following advice is excerpted from FSI’s Body Language Consultant Certification Course (releases Spring 2019)
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Genuine confidence may evade you, but there's no reason you can't act with self-assurance. Doing so will help you create the impression you have mettle and poise and will aid the growth of real self-confidence. With the right body language, you can sail through interviews, meetings, and social events with ease. The following tips reveal how.
Confident people keep their spines straight. Their upright stance portrays them as plucky and assertive. Copy their body language; sit up and walk tall. Imagine there's a rod in your back reaching through the top of your head into the sky if it helps. Standing tall also helps you breathe better which serves to calm you body making this stance important in stressful situations. Be sure to pull shoulders back and down to maintain a straight spine and open chest. An open chest signals power, confidence and energy.
Hold Your Head High
Shy people slouch. Their heads are rarely held high because they want to avoid their eyes meeting anyone else's. You'll appear poised if you look straight ahead rather than casting your eyes and head downward. Holding your head high and straight improves your image of power and confidence. Avoid tilting your chin up as this can unintentionally signify mistrust or snobbishness.
Take Up Space
Self-assured people aren't afraid to claim space. Due to cultural differences and dress, confident women often take up less room than men, but they don't cross their arms and legs defensively and squash themselves into corners. Men often cross one leg over the other at the thigh or knee. Women keep their knees together and hold their legs at a slight angle--this pose is evident in photographs of models when an air of superiority and assertiveness is characterized. If you do claim space be sure you are not cramping another’s personal space at the same time. This can lead to unintended consequences so respect others space.
Confidence helps people relax. As such they don't tense their muscles or adopt a pained expression. Loosen your jaw by keeping your teeth slightly apart and soften the tiny muscles around your eyes. As a result, you'll look cool and collected. Do the same with your entire body, allowing your shoulders to drop and arms to hang loosely by your sides when you walk. Deep breathing, inhaling toward your belly at a slow and even pace, will help you achieve your aim.
Assume an Assertive Posture
As well as walking tall and keeping your head high, distribute your body mass equally on your legs--this will help you maintain an upright stance. At the same time, align your legs with your shoulders, and keep your feet slightly apart as you stand but not so far apart that you look strange. Aligning your posture from toe to top of head shows you are an assertive person standing in confidence, not aggression.
Always face people when engaged in conversation, and make sure your body, as well as your head, is turned toward them. Make contact using your body to portray interest and authentic communication style. Showing interest via your body stance is important in many professions and can even get you the sale!
Adopt the body language of assertive people and your autonomic nervous system will help you attain bonafide confidence. With a straight spine, open chest, and balanced body, you will achieve the calm, positive demeanor of a self-assured individual. In the process, you will appear poised and create the impression you desire.
Contact FSI for reprint permission, All Rights Reserved ©Gillian Armour, CMIC