We’ve all heard the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it,” but what does that actually mean? It’s manifesting what you want through your actions rather than repeating affirmations to yourself. This principle can apply to something that affects all of us – confidence! Some of us have it naturally, and some of us need more help finding it. For those of us who need that extra boost, here are 7 body language hacks to look (and feel) more confident… according to science, of course!
Side Note: Confidence and the concept of confidence are both objective concepts. Our definition of confidence might look different than another, but that doesn’t mean either is wrong. If you struggle with your version of confidence, please reach out to a mental health professional.
In 2020, a study was conducted around power posing. What’s a power pose? You know the classic super hero pose. The “Peter Pan”. Feet spread hip width apart, hands on your hips, chest out, chin up, and head held high. In the study, students were asked to do a literature review, but before that stressful task, half of the participants were told to strike the power pose. The participants who partook in the power pose were more confident in the task than those who did pose it out. So, the next time you’re not feeling one thousand percent confident, find a private place and take a quick power pose to boost your confidence.confidence.
When you plan something, this is a proactive and calm approach. When we don’t plan, this causes us to rush and can cause us to be frantic. This principle also applies to your movements. Life coach Tony Robbins explains this in his article revealing his top 10 confident body language hacks. When you plan to go to the cupboard to get a cup, you can take long, slow steps, calmly open the door, and grab your favorite Naruto mug. This is a bit different than if you dash to the cupboard and rip the door open to have a mug tumble out, shattering on the floor. These frantic movements show uncertainty. However, when you slow your movements down or rather take time to think through your actions, that sureness comes through to others as confidence.
When you’re talking to someone, but they’re avoiding eye contact, it can give the conversation a weird vibe. In some cases, it can make you feel like this person may be lying about something. This may also be a sign of low self-confidence. Subconsciously, the person may not feel equal to the person or people they’re talking to, so they don’t make eye contact. In 1988, Carolyn Atkins did a study on eye contact of public speakers. When the speaker made what was defined as “good” eye contact, the audience perceived them to have a good personality. If there was “minimal” or “no” eye contact, the audience perceived the speaker negatively. Now, we don’t want non-blinking, staring eye contact. That can be creepy!. Stop that. Making appropriate eye contact, like in a presentation or conversation, can really increase the perception of confidence.
Think back to your high school theater class. When someone told you to act “shy”, what would you do? Would you slouch? Play with your hair? Fidget? In 2000, author Richard Payne wrote an article on body language and painted the picture of what a confident speaker might look like which we can use in everyday life! He states “As you stand up to address the audience, be aware of your body language. Are you looking confident, or are you apologizing for your existence?” Payne goes on to describe a confident speaker. This person is standing center stage, chin parallel to the floor, and their weight evenly distributed to both feet.
The next time you find yourself in a situation where you could use a bit of confidence, do a quick posture check. Checking your posture and your weight distribution can help stop any nervous habits, like slouching, fidgeting, or swaying from side to side, which can increase both confidence and credibility.
Show Me Your Hands!
I think there’s been a time or two in everyone’s life where the phrase “I don’t know what to do with my hands” became all too real. Let’s say you’re taking a picture with your significant other. Sure, you have one arm around them, but… what do you do with the other one? So, out of sheer awkwardness, you now have one arm around them, and your other hand is plastered to the side of your thigh in a very unattractive death grip, claw-like shape. All of your nerves and insecurities magically migrate… to your hand. In his book The Dictionary of Body Language, retired FBI Agent Joe Navarro explains how you can use your hands to display confidence. When you show your hands, either by gesturing or resting them in plain view, this reflects how confident you are! Some hand positions to show confidence are showing your palms, steepling, and interlocking your fingers with your thumbs up. It shows that you don’t need to self-soothe during a potentially stressful situation. This is just another quick hack to show your confidence.
There can be a lot of reasons why you’re not feeling the most confident. Whether it’s asking someone out, doing a presentation at school, or asking for a raise, we hope these body language hacks give you the boost you need. Good luck! If you try one out, let us know how it made you feel or even drop a hack of your own down below! As always, keep an eye on Psi for more Psych2Go content! Until next time!
The references used in and to compose this article are listed below:
Cuncic, A. (2022, March 23). 12 ways to have more confident body language. Verywell Mind. Retrieved July 20, 2022, from https://www.verywellmind.com/ten-ways-to-have-more-confident-body-language-3024855
Gameiro, M. G. (2020). Review of body language posture, and an exercise called “Power posing challenge” to improve one’s confidence. Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Social Sciences and Economic Development (ICSSED 2020). https://doi.org/10.2991/assehr.k.200331.032
Indeed Editorial Team. (2021, July 21). 13 ways to show confidence through body language. Indeed Career Guide. Retrieved July 20, 2022, from https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/confident-body-language
Morin, D. A., Sander, V., Szurdoki, G., Wright, T., & Haworth, A. (2021, July 23). 21 ways to get a confident body language (with examples). SocialSelf. Retrieved July 20, 2022, from https://socialself.com/blog/confident-body-language/
Noel, K. (2016, March 31). 8 body language tricks to instantly appear more confident. Business Insider. Retrieved July 20, 2022, from https://www.businessinsider.com/body-language-tricks-appear-more-confident-2016-3#-8
Payne, R. (2000). Presenting with Confidence. Journal of Environmental Health, 62(9), 32. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A63398515/AONE?u=anon~e8a1d454&sid=googleScholar&xid=f6686257