9 subtle body language gestures to avoid if you want to look confident and strong

Confidence isn’t just about what you say; it’s about how you say it. And believe me, your body speaks volumes.

Subtle body language cues can make the difference between projecting strength and self-assuredness, or revealing insecurity and uncertainty.

In this piece, I’ll reveal 9 subtle body language gestures you should steer clear of if you want to come across as confident and strong.

You might just find it’s not as hard as you might think to master the art of nonverbal communication.

Let’s dive in!

1) Crossed arms

You might not realize it, but crossing your arms sends a strong message. And it’s not the one you want to be sending when you’re trying to look confident and strong.

Crossing your arms is a subconscious gesture of self-defense. It’s a barrier we put up when we’re feeling threatened or insecure.

Body language is all about perception, and unfortunately, others often interpret crossed arms as a sign of being closed-off or defensive. It suggests resistance and can make others less likely to engage with you.

So keep those arms uncrossed and project an open, confident demeanor. 

2) Fidgeting

I’ll be the first to admit it – I used to be a chronic fidgeter. Whether it was tapping my foot, twirling my pen, or just constantly shifting in my seat, I was always on the move.

What I didn’t realize back then was how this constant movement was impacting how others perceived me.

It wasn’t until a mentor pointed it out to me that I became aware of it. Fidgeting, he explained, often comes across as nervousness or restlessness – not exactly the image of confidence and strength I was aiming for.

Once I made a conscious effort to control my fidgeting, I noticed a marked difference in how others responded to me. The more still and composed I was, the more respect and attention I commanded.

The point?

Stillness is power. Keep the fidgeting to a minimum, and let your words do the talking.

3) Poor posture

This one’s a no-brainer but you’d be surprised how many people overlook it. Slouching or hunching over can dramatically affect the way others perceive you.

Poor posture doesn’t just make you look less confident, it can actually make you feel less confident too. A study from Ohio State University found that sitting in a slumped or slouched position made participants feel more helpless and powerless.

So stand tall, pull those shoulders back, and lift your chin up. Not only will you look more confident and strong, you’ll likely feel it too.

4) Lack of eye contact

Eye contact is a powerful tool in communication. It shows that you’re present, engaged, and interested in the conversation. But when you avoid eye contact, it can often be interpreted as a lack of confidence or even dishonesty.

Of course, it’s not about staring people down. It’s about maintaining a comfortable level of eye contact that shows you’re actively listening and confident in your communication.

Be mindful of your eye contact. It’s a small tweak that can make a big difference in how others perceive you.

5) Fast and jerky movements

If someone uses these phrases in a conversation they lack self confidence 9 subtle body language gestures to avoid if you want to look confident and strong

You know what they say about slow and steady? Turns out, it applies to body language too.

Quick, jerky movements can make you appear nervous and unsure, which is the complete opposite of the confident and strong image you want to portray.

Imagine you’re in a high-stakes meeting or negotiation. If your movements are rushed or erratic, it could give the impression that you’re not in control or even worse, that you’re panicking.

Instead, aim for deliberate, smooth actions. Whether it’s a handshake or a simple hand gesture while speaking, slower movements convey confidence, control and poise. Trust me, it’s worth practicing.

6) Inauthentic smiles

We’ve all been there. You’ve had a rough day, but you’re trying to keep it together and put on a brave face. So you plaster on a smile and hope no one notices.

But here’s the thing. Most people can spot an insincere smile a mile away. It comes across as forced and can make you seem uncomfortable or even dishonest.

A genuine smile, on the other hand, radiates confidence and warmth. It shows that you’re comfortable in your own skin and aren’t afraid to show your emotions.

7) Looking down

I’ll admit, there was a time when I found it easier to look down rather than meet someone’s gaze. It felt less confrontational, less intimidating. But what I didn’t realize was how much it was affecting how others saw me.

Looking down is often interpreted as a lack of confidence or an unwillingness to engage. It sends the message that you’d rather be invisible, that you don’t want to be noticed.

But here’s the kicker – looking up and meeting someone’s gaze head-on can be incredibly empowering. It shows that you’re not afraid to take up space, to make your presence known. It’s a clear sign of confidence and strength.

8) Over-nodding

Nodding is usually a good thing, right? It shows you’re engaged and agreeable. But here’s the twist – too much of it can actually undermine your confidence.

Excessive nodding can come across as eager-to-please or even subservient, which isn’t the image you want to project if you’re aiming for confidence and strength. It’s like you’re trying too hard to show agreement or understanding, which can make you seem less sure of yourself.

A few nods here and there are great, but don’t overdo it. Remember, balance is key.

9) Touching your face

This is often a subconscious habit many of us have, especially when we’re nervous or under stress.

But touching your face, especially in a professional setting, can be seen as a sign of anxiety or uncertainty.

Moreover, it can be distracting for others and draw attention away from what you’re saying. If you’re delivering an important point, the last thing you want is for others to be focused on your hands rather than your words.

Final thoughts: It’s all in the details

The nuances of body language are intricately woven into the fabric of our everyday interactions. They’re the unspoken dialogue that tells a story beyond words.

Remember, confidence isn’t just a state of mind, it’s a physical manifestation.

It’s about standing tall, making eye contact, and being present in your interactions. It’s about keeping your movements deliberate and your expressions genuine.

Mastering these subtle cues can make a world of difference in how you’re perceived and how you perceive yourself. It’s not about pretending to be someone you’re not, but about conveying the confidence and strength that’s already within you.

So next time you step into a room, remember that you’re not just walking in with your words and ideas, but with your posture, your expressions, and your gestures. Remember that every detail speaks volumes about who you are.

And most importantly, remember that confidence isn’t just something you feel, it’s something you embody.

Picture of Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang blends Eastern and Western perspectives in her approach to self-improvement. Her writing explores the intersection of cultural identity and personal growth. Mia encourages readers to embrace their unique backgrounds as a source of strength and inspiration in their life journeys.

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