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Expressing Confidence Through Body Language

Updated on June 8, 2011

Are you nervous? Are you intimidated? Do you feel threatened? Are you at ease and assertive?

Your aura is felt amongst persons you are around way before you utter a single word. Your current mood, how you feel about yourself and others is transmitted through the way you behave. Many times people are unaware of how much is communicated non-verbally, but still the wordless physical messages are received intuitively.

Confidence is a trait that is highly magnetic amongst people. Most women will say that confidence is a prime factor that makes a man sexy and a Boss will be encouraged to employ a person who demonstrates assertiveness. Think about it - would you vote for Presidential candidate who shows signs of lack of confidence? Confidence speaks of strength and is a fundamental belief in one's self that he/she 'is' and 'can'. Confidence says:

"I can ____"

"I will ____"

"I am able to ____"

"I am capable of ____"

As with anything in life, there are extremes and masquerades and the same goes for confidence in the form of over-confidence and boastfulness. The distinction must be understood, for these over-the-top forms of confidence signals that a person is actually suffering from low self-esteem issues.

If you take a while and think about body language that expresses attractive magnetic confidence, you will definitely be able to come up with a number of specific behaviors that you can draw from your personal experiences and observations.

Body Language Behaviors That Express Lack of Self-Confidence:

  • avoiding eye contact.
  • head pointing downwards while conversing.
  • nervous scratching, especially the face.
  • fidgeting - shaking the legs, wringing hands and biting the fingernails.
  • trembling/shaking.
  • shallow and fast paced breathing.
  • cold sweating.
  • folding arms.
  • self-hugging.
  • crossing legs.
  • tense looking body.
  • weak submissive handshake.
  • slouching posture when sitting or walking.
  • hands in the pockets.

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The Definitive Book Of Body Language

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It is helpful to know that specific body language behaviors are not necessarily related to one particular attitude or emotion. Body language occurs in clusters, and for the attitude or feeling of lack of self-confidence, a person can display a combination of specific behaviors.

A powerful truth is that the mind affects the body, but it also happens that the body affects the mind as well. From this truth, you can counteract lack of self-confidence by practicing the confident body language.

"A negative gesture can increase or prolong a negative attitude, and other people will read you as being apprehensive, defensive or non-participant. Practice using positive and open gestures; this will improve your self-confidence and others will perceive you in a more positive way." Allan & Barbara Pease from the The Definitive Book of Body Language.

Some of these confident body gestures include doing the very opposite of what was listed as low self-confidence gestures.

  • Look the other person in the eyes without staring.
  • Keep your head and body upright when conversing, walking and sitting.
  • Hold your hands behind your back.
  • Avoid folding your arms and hugging yourself.
  • Give a firm handshake.
  • Smile and laugh without hesitance.
  • Give a strong and warm hugs.
  • Avoid scratching even when your nerves are tinkling.
  • Keep your body at ease to avoid fidgeting.

To be fair, it can be quite a challenge to do project these behaviors when you feel the very opposite, but the way how the mind and body are integrated will mean that in due time you WILL feel more and more confident.

"Use confidence gestures as you speak, even if you're feeling terrified." Allan & Barbara Pease from the The Definitive Book of Body Language.

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