14 ways to project body language confidence (with example)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 26 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Portraying confidence allows you to improve your relationships with others and have more meaningful interactions with those you meet, and one way you can do this is by using your body language. Communicating nonverbally by using your body language can be just as important as the words you use. Having the skill and knowledge to show confidence can greatly improve your communication with others to earn their respect. In this article, we find out what confident body language is, why it is so important and ways to improve your body language confidence.

What is body language confidence?

Body language confidence is a way of showing your assurance in yourself and your lack of fear in a situation. Body language allows you to communicate nonverbally through movement and physical behaviour, which conveys your level of comfort during an interaction. Confident body language is important in both professional and personal situations. Here are some elements of body language:

  • tone of voice

  • posture

  • facial expression

  • hand gestures

  • body movement

  • touch

Related: Eight types of nonverbal communication at work (with examples)

The importance of confident body language

Confident body language is key to sending appropriate signals in different situations. For example, during a job interview, it is vital to maintain professional and self-assured body language to show the potential employer that you are qualified for the role. Confident body language is also important in public speaking, as it can help encourage your audience to pay attention to you and respect you.

Conveying confident body language can also boost your self-confidence, as it makes you more aware of your actions and the effect they have on others. Other benefits include better quality relationships, both personally and professionally. Your body language helps others to make better judgments of who you are and how you feel at any given time.

Related: What is self-confidence and why is it important to have?

How to improve body language confidence

Confident body language is vital to your success in both personal and professional settings. Here are some ways to improve your body language confidence:

1. Give a firm handshake

When meeting new people or people, a firm handshake is an excellent first impression that shows you are confident in yourself. To convey your confidence, when offering your hand, grip the other's hand firmly. The size comparison of your hands can decide the use of a firm or light grip. Make sure you don't overdo this, as you don't want to hurt the other person and make them uncomfortable.

Related: What is Professional Body Language?

2. Make eye contact

Ensuring that you maintain eye contact with the individual that you are interacting with or speaking to is an excellent way to project body language confidence. Making eye contact lets others know that you are listening to them. When engaging in eye contact, consider looking at the individual's eyebrow or a spot just above or below their eyes so that you feel more comfortable.

Related: Positive body language and gestures that put people at ease

3. Listen actively

A truly confident person can allow others to speak without talking or interrupting them. Rather than rushing to think of the next thing they are going to say, they listen to understand what the other person is saying. Active listening in conversations and interactions shows you are comfortable and have an interest in other people.

Read more: How to improve your active listening skills

4. Personal space

Be mindful not to invade the other person's personal space. It may cause them to feel uncomfortable and defensive. Slightly lean towards the other person to show that you are engaging in their conversation. It is typically acceptable to stand the distance of two feet apart from each other. When delivering a talk or presentation in front of a crowd, you can exude more confidence by standing with your feet hip-width apart.

5. Be mindful of your facial expressions

Facial expressions are a way of reflecting how you are feeling and thinking. So, it's vital to maintain comfortable and genuine facial expressions when in situations with others. Smiling can show others that you are comfortable and enjoy the interaction. Be mindful of how your face rests normally and try to create a positive and welcoming facial expression.

6. Straighten your posture

Standing up straight with your shoulders pulled back shows you have respect for yourself and that you are self-assured. Keeping your shoulders pushed back can also help straighten your posture to prevent back pain. Practice straightening your posture by standing in front of a mirror and seeing how your resting posture looks.

Related: The importance of nonverbal communication in the workplace

7. Slow down your breathing

Your breathing may not be apparent to others, but breathing slowly can help you feel more comfortable and reduce your stress levels. Standing up straight with your shoulders back allows you to breathe fully, allowing your lungs to fully expand. Doing breathing exercises before a presentation or a meeting can help you feel calmer and less stressed.

8. Keep hand gestures to a minimum

Avoid putting your hands in your pocket and keep them visible during interactions and meetings. The use of hand gestures can help you to get your point across, but it is important to keep them to the minimum to avoid distracting others. Avoid touching your face or waving your hands too much by keeping your hands in your lap.

9. Mirror their behaviour

A great way to connect with others and become more relatable is by mirroring them. When mirroring others, consider using the terminology they are using and match the tone and volume they are using throughout the conversation. Mirroring their body language can show that you understand or empathise with someone.

10. Keep your chin up

Demonstrate confidence by keeping your head and chin up. Having your head tilted down is a sign of submission, whereas holding your chin up is a sign of dominance. To help do this, try pretending that you are wearing a hat on your head that you support by keeping your head up.

11. Stay mindful of the speed of your conversation

It is important to be aware of how fast you are speaking when you are speaking to a group, giving a presentation or speaking in a meeting. In a normal discussion, you can speed up your talking to keep your audience engaged. When you are explaining complex or difficult information to others, it is better to talk at a slower, clearer pace to ensure that the listener understands.

12. Keep up your step

An excellent way to show confidence through body language is to take wider steps when you walk. This shows others you walk with a purpose and with confidence. As you walk, move at an average pace while maintaining a straight posture, and look up rather than look down at the ground. When walking towards another person, be sure to maintain eye contact and keep your eyes fixed on them.

13. Keep your feet wide

When interacting with others, it's important to firmly plant your feet on the ground and maintain a wide stance. Pointing your feet towards the other person you are speaking with shows them you are engaged in the conversation. It is also important to stand still and avoid fidgeting to display your confidence.

Read More: How to build confidence at work

14. Relax your posture

Some may expect a confident person to display a posture of a straight back with arms held down by their side and rigid, but this may appear uptight. It is also important to not slouch or cross your arms, as this can show insecurity and fear. Standing up straight doesn't mean that you stand in an uncomfortably straight position. Avoid stances that feel unnatural. Remember that your spine is the most important element and make sure that your limbs hang comfortably and relaxed down by your side.

Example of confident body language in a working situation

Jessica works in a digital marketing firm and has a meeting with her supervisor, Mary. When Jessica arrives at the meeting, she walks up to Mary's office with her shoulders pulled back and her head up while walking at a casual and confident pace. She firmly knocks on the door and waits for Mary to open it and invite her in.

When Jessica walks into Mary's office, she greets her with a firm handshake. During the entire meeting, Jessica sits with her feet firmly planted on the ground while maintaining eye contact with Mary. When Mary speaks, Jessica listens attentively and waits to respond once Mary is done speaking. Jessica also avoids fidgeting by keeping her hands in her lap throughout the meeting. The meeting ends with both parties feeling comfortable and relaxed, and Mary leaves the meeting thinking that Jessica is confident and capable.

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