9 body language habits that make you look genuinely confident

Confidence is often more about unspoken signals than it is about words. It’s in the way you hold yourself, the way you interact with others, and even in the way you enter a room.

Body language, in many ways, communicates louder than words. And when it comes to projecting confidence, your body language can make all the difference.

Mastering confident body language isn’t just about standing tall and making eye contact. It’s about understanding and adopting habits that speak volumes about your self-assuredness.

In this piece, we’ll explore 9 body language habits that can make you look genuinely confident. These aren’t quick fixes, they’re subtle shifts that can dramatically alter how others perceive you. So, let’s dive in!

1) Master the art of eye contact

Eye contact is one of the most critical aspects of body language. It’s a powerful way of showing confidence, establishing connection, and displaying your attention.

Steady, direct eye contact speaks volumes about your self-assuredness. It signifies that you’re focused, engaged, and not afraid to be seen. It tells people that you are genuinely interested in what they’re saying and that you value their input.

However, it’s essential to strike a balance. Too little eye contact can make you seem disinterested or insecure, while too much might come off as aggressive or intimidating.

The key is to maintain a comfortable level of eye contact that conveys confidence without making the other person feel uncomfortable. And remember, it’s not a staring contest. It’s okay to break eye contact every now and then.

2) Stand tall and own your space

I remember a time when I was at a networking event, feeling somewhat out of place. I was surrounded by successful entrepreneurs and industry leaders, and here I was, a newcomer to the scene. I found myself unconsciously slouching, my shoulders hunched, trying to take up as little space as possible.

A mentor of mine noticed and gave me a piece of advice that transformed not only my body language but also how I felt about myself. She said, “Stand tall, shoulders back. You deserve to be here as much as anyone else.”

True enough, when I followed her advice, I noticed a significant difference in the way people respond to me.

Psychologist Amy Cuddy discusses this in her TED Talk on power posing. According to her, “Our bodies change our minds and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.”

Simply put, just the act of standing tall and owning your space, when done consistently, can eventually shift your mindset to a confident one.

3) Watch your hand gestures

Hand gestures can also be an effective tool to convey confidence and assertiveness. They can help emphasize your points, express your enthusiasm, and even make you more memorable.

A study found that speakers who use their hands are viewed as more warm, agreeable, and energetic. Moreover, the audience also tends to retain more information when the speaker uses hand gestures.

But remember, not all hand gestures communicate the same message. Open palm gestures suggest honesty and openness whereas pointing can be seen as aggressive.

Similarly, clasping your hands can indicate nervousness, while steepling (where fingertips touch but palms are separated) is often perceived as a sign of confidence and authority.

So, don’t let your hands hang idle by your side. Use them to punctuate your speech and reinforce your message. Just remember to keep them natural and congruent with what you’re saying.

4) Control your facial expressions

Your face is like a billboard for your emotions and thoughts. It’s often the first thing people notice about you, and it can give away a lot about what you’re feeling.

So, if you want to project confidence, you need to pay attention to your facial expressions.

A warm, genuine smile can make you appear approachable and confident. It shows that you’re comfortable in your own skin and in the situation. But remember, it has to be genuine – forced smiles can come off as insincere or even creepy.

On the other hand, furrowed brows or a constant serious look can make you seem worried, stressed, or intimidating.

In addition to your smile, consider your eyebrows and forehead as well. Are they relaxed or tense? They can be a dead giveaway to stress or anxiety.

Truth is, confidence isn’t about appearing perfect – it’s about being comfortable with who you are. So let your facial expressions reflect that. Keep them relaxed and genuine, and they’ll convey the confidence you feel inside.

5) Mirror the other person’s body language

body language appear more confident 9 body language habits that make you look genuinely confident

We all crave connection and understanding. And one of the most subtle yet powerful ways to establish that connection is by mirroring the other person’s body language.

Mirroring, when done subtly, can create a sense of empathy and rapport, making the other person feel understood and valued. It shows that you are in tune with them, that you respect them, and that you’re on the same page.

But it’s crucial to do this subtly and naturally; otherwise, it can come across as mimicry or mockery. The idea is not to copy their every move, but to reflect their general posture, gestures, or expressions.

Why does this work?

Because building genuine connections is an important part of building confidence. When we feel connected and understood, we naturally feel more secure and confident. 

6) Keep your movements smooth and deliberate

I used to be a nervous fidgeter – constantly tapping my foot, playing with my hair, or shifting in my seat. It wasn’t something I was consciously aware of until someone pointed it out to me during a job interview. They said it made me appear anxious and insecure.

That feedback was a wake-up call for me. I realized that these seemingly insignificant habits were sending the wrong message about my confidence.

So, I worked on it. I practiced mindfulness and became more aware of my body and its movements. Gradually, I learned to control my nervous fidgeting and replaced it with more deliberate movements.

And the difference was night and day. Not only did I appear more confident, but I also started to feel more confident. My movements became part of my personal expression rather than a sign of anxiety.

So, if you’re prone to fidgeting or restless movements, try to be more mindful of them. Replace them with smooth, deliberate movements that show you’re in control. It might take some practice, but the impact on your confidence will be worth it.

7) Be mindful of your pace

Similarly, the pace at which you move and speak can say a lot about your confidence level.

Rushed movements and rapid speech can make you appear nervous or anxious, as if you’re eager to get things over with. On the other hand, slow, deliberate movements and a calm, steady voice signal confidence and control.

It shows that you’re not in a hurry, that you’re comfortable in the moment, and that you’re confident enough to take your time.

Believe me, it’s a small change that can make a big difference in how confident you appear.

8) Be yourself

All of these body language tips aside, I’d like to emphasize that at the end of the day, it comes down to how comfortable you are in your own skin. 

After all, think about it — don’t you feel most confident and relaxed when you aren’t trying to be someone else? When you can simply be yourself? 

My point is, the most confident people are those who are genuine. I repeat — genuine, not perfect. 

There’s nothing more appealing than someone who is authentically themselves. It shows a deep level of self-assuredness and comfort that no amount of posturing can mimic.

So, while these body language habits can certainly help you appear more confident, the most important thing is to be true to yourself. Embrace who you are, quirks and all. That’s where real confidence comes from.

Final thoughts: Confidence is more than skin-deep

While mastering these body language habits can certainly help you appear more confident, let’s not forget that true confidence goes much deeper.

It’s about self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-love. It’s about knowing your worth and embracing your unique strengths and weaknesses.

As psychologist Amy Cuddy famously said, “Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it.”

The power of body language isn’t just in how others perceive you, but also in how you perceive yourself. Work on self-belief and self-love, and your confidence will naturally shine through. 

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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