7 Body Language Tips for Confidence at Work
Ever heard the phrase “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”? Well, it’s true! A study by psychology professor Dr. Albert Mehrabian shows that only 7% of communication meaning is taken from the literal meanings of the words spoken. 38% of the message is derived from tone of voice, and the other 55% is based on nonerbal cues--that is, body language!
A groundbreaking study by psychologist Amy Cuddy shows that adopting confident stances and power poses don’t just make us look powerful to other people, but they make us feel more powerful too!
People who adopted “high-power” stances (standing straight, chin up) performed better in mock job interviews than people who adopted “low-power” stances (slouching, crossing arms and legs). People in confident poses had increased feelings of power, which allowed them to perform better in the mock interview.
Not only do we feel better about ourselves when we stand confidently, but studies suggest our brains release hormones (like testosterone) which actually give us a boost!
Ready to power pose? Here are our 7 best tips for looking and feeling confident wherever you are!
7 Best Tips For Looking and Feeling Confident At Work
1. Stand Up Straight
This is the easiest way to instantly boost your confidence. Whether you’re sitting or standing, good posture and an upright stance will make you feel more powerful.
Stuck in a midday slump? About to speak in front of a crowd? Take a minute to adjust your posture. You’ll feel more confident and alert! If sitting up straight for long periods of time is a little tough, why not try a lumbar-supporting ergonomic chair?
2. Lean In
Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg has been the face of a powerful businesswoman since writing her book Lean In, which encourages women in business to “lean in” to the male-dominated field of business. But why the phrase “lean in”?
Leaning towards somebody shows them you’re engaged and interested in what they have to say. So when you rest your elbows on the table and lean towards the other person, they’ll know you’re listening. No one likes to chat with someone who seems bored!
3. Eye Contact
Meeting someone’s eyes in conversation is seen as a sign of confidence. When you talk face-to-face (or online!) with someone, eye contact indicates friendliness and openness. On the flip side, lack of eye contact might tell your listener that you’re unsure of what you’re talking about!
Establish eye contact when you first start a conversation. Make sure not to stare, though! If eye contact isn’t something that comes naturally to you, try looking at their nose or eyebrow. Check out more eye contact tips here!
4. Head Up
If you’ve seen any musicals or ballets, you’ve probably noticed that performers always have their heads straight up--like someone is pulling up on an invisible string! Having your chin up gives you an air of confidence much like royalty on a throne.
Keeping your head up also helps you relieve stress on your neck and back. No wonder you always hear people saying “keep your head up”!
5. Uncross Your Arms
Crossing your arms is a universal sign for defensiveness. When you cross your arms, you’re subconsciously protecting your heart and chest from harm, which is why many people cross their arms when they feel vulnerable.
This posture also closes you off from other people, much like an armadillo rolling into a ball. It’s almost as if you’re saying, “do not approach!” When you leave your hands at your side, people interpret this as a sign of openness and friendliness. Instead of looking nervous, you come off as confident!
6. Take Up Space
You might feel small and unnoticed at times, but don’t be afraid to take up more space! Instead of resigning yourself to a corner and keeping your arms and legs close, expand your presence in the room. Keep your shoulders back, and stand with your feet apart.
Animals adopt a similar strategy when they encounter a perceived threat: some frogs raise their legs to make themselves look bigger, and some owls fan out their feathers to appear larger.
7. When to Power Pose
Of course, you can’t be expected to bust out Wonder-Woman stances out of nowhere. Some people pose in front of a mirror to hype themselves up before meetings or interviews. The power posing made them feel more confident.
You can use these body adjustments to look and feel more powerful before any event! If you’re meeting a new person, keep your head up and make eye contact. If you’re speaking in a meeting, keep your arms at your side. Even if you’re having a coffee with a friend, you can lean in to indicate interest!
From Head to Toe…
- Body straight
- Head and chin up
- Lean in to conversations
- Make eye contact
- Keep arms relaxed
- Take up space!
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