9 ways to show self-confidence without saying a word, according to psychology

Imagine two singers performing on stage. Performing is seen as a confident act, so you probably automatically assume that they’ll both look confident up there, right?

Well, not always.

One singer might look as confident as ever. While the other might look the complete opposite, looking very awkward and downright uncomfortable!

This is because self-confidence isn’t about what we say or what we do. It’s about how we carry ourselves and the way our body rests.

Want to know the secrets to having true confidence, without saying a word?

Here are the top 9 ways to appear more confident, backed by psychology.

Up first:

1) Stand up straight

Never underestimate the power of a power pose! When you stand up straight, with your shoulders back and your spine tall and stretched, you take up space.

It might not be a lot more space than when you’re slouching, but trust me, it makes a huge difference to the people around you!

Research found that when you have good posture, people see you as more authoritative and confident. YOU see yourself that way, too – which is why you feel more confident.

The taller you stand, the more people gravitate towards you and look to you for guidance. It can even lead to more career success!

2) Look people in the eye

Does eye contact make you feel uncomfortable? Hopefully, it doesn’t. If it does, you need to get used to it if you want to boost how confident you appear!

Looking down or gazing around the room when someone is talking shows two things: a lack of respect and a lack of interest.

Doing the same thing when YOU are talking shows just one thing: a lack of confidence.

A study from the Idiap Research Institute found that people who are legitimately in charge held more eye contact with the person they were speaking to than those who weren’t.

Research finds that the average person only holds someone’s eye 30-60% of the time, when they should be keeping it 60-70% consistently if they want to a) build more of an emotional connection and b) promote more self-confidence.

So even if it makes you feel a little uneasy, start holding people’s gaze more. What harm can it do?

3) Uncross your arms

Every part of our body language gives subtle cues as to how we’re feeling. When you cross your arms, most people code that you’re feeling anxious, tense, afraid, insecure, or even stressed.

Even if you DON’T feel that way, it’s how others are perceiving you. So loosen up a little! Uncross your arms when you’re standing up or sitting down.

If you’re sitting at a desk, rest them on the table in front of you with your palms on top of each other. If there isn’t a table, place your hands loosely on your lap or knee.

When you’re standing up, try clasping your hands together with your palms facing up. It’ll make a big difference in how confident people think you are!

4) Relax your shoulders

Let’s try something right now. Loosen up your shoulders. Were they up high? Did it take relaxing them to realize how stiff and upright they were?

Apparently, a lot of us raise and tense our shoulders in everyday life. It’s supposed to be our body’s way of safeguarding us against any potential injury or pain, experts say.

But even though it’s a natural bodily response to daily life, it isn’t good for your self-confidence. If you believe in the law of attraction, other people pick up on the overall energy you give off – including when it comes to your body language!

If you’re standing or sitting in a way that gives off “fight or flight” energy, they aren’t going to look to you in a crisis. They might think you’re always anxious or on edge, rather than confident or secure.

5) Lighten your eyes

People who are highly confident but low in intelligence usually display these distinct behaviors 2 9 ways to show self-confidence without saying a word, according to psychology

This one might sound weird, but have you ever heard of the Duchenne smile? Well, you don’t need to be smiling to give off the effect of it!

If you don’t know, the Duchenne smile is known as the most genuine kind of smile, according to experts. In non-technical terms, it’s when your eyes light up and your face gets a little crinkly.

Most people see you as more genuine and kinder when you smile this way. But granted, you can’t sit around in meetings or interviews smiling away!

But what you CAN do is lighten up your eyes. Lift your lids a little and open them up fully. Squint them a little if you must.

Or simply imagine you’re smiling at someone you love without smiling at all. Pay attention to the way your eyes go and practice it!

The more you leave your eyes this way, the more secure and approachable you’ll appear.

6) Listen more than you talk

If you want to look more confident, pay attention to when you choose to talk and when you keep quiet!

Quiet confidence is one of the most secure forms of self-confidence. When you have it, people see it. But it’s pretty hard to grasp it when you don’t have it.

The main thing you can do to appear more quietly confident is to speak with authenticity. Don’t brag and don’t be arrogant. Don’t scream about your successes when there’s really no need.

Of course, don’t be silent – that isn’t what quiet confidence is all about. It’s more about not speaking for the sake of it.

You can talk about things you’ve done, as long as it’s done in the right context. Raise your successes when it’s valid and helpful, not when it’s unnecessary or snarky.

Say what you mean and mean what you say – and only when it’s really essential. When people notice your quiet confidence, they’ll see YOU as more confident in return.

7) Keep still, but loose

Standing still can work in your favor if you want to win favors, but don’t take this one too literally! Being too still in how you stand or sit can appear stiff and rigid. This oozes nervousness rather than confidence.

On the flip side, being too fidgety really doesn’t work in your favor either! It makes you look even more nervous, just in a different kind of way.

To appear more self-confident without using your words, try to strike a balance between keeping relatively still, but loose enough that you don’t look stiff.

If you’re sitting down, keep your hands and arms generally in the same place. When you’re talking or presenting, move your hands a little to further your point, but don’t wave them around constantly!

8) Lift your chin slightly

Another tip to make you look (and feel!) more confident is to just lift your chin ever so slightly. Try it now and you’ll see what we mean.

By giving your chin a little tilt upwards, you’re adopting a more confident sitting or standing position.

Experts say that when you’re in conversation with someone and do this, it conveys more interest and confidence. It also makes you appear more social. It’s small and subtle, but it works.

9) Lean forwards

Imagine you’re sitting in a meeting in the office. Most people are sitting back in their chairs. But one person is leaning ever so slightly more forward. This person has got it right.

Experts say that when you lean forward a little like this, you’re conveying your interest in the conversation or person. You’re showing that you’re engaged and ready to talk.

In turn, this makes you look more confident in yourself – plus more approachable!

Final thoughts

True confidence is rarely about what you say. You don’t have to speak up or perform some grand gesture for people to think you’re secure in yourself.

It’s more about what you do and how you hold yourself.

No matter how you’re feeling inside, you can trick people into thinking you’re confident with just a few small shifts in your body language.

The next time you’re feeling out of sorts, give some of these things a try. Hopefully, all that faking it will eventually lead to making it!

Picture of Amy Reed

Amy Reed

Amy Reed is a content writer from London working with international brands. As an empath, she loves sharing her life insights to help others. When she’s not writing, she enjoys a simple life of reading, gardening, and making a fuss over her two cats.

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