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Is Your Body Language Affecting Your Confidence?

The Coaching Academy Blog

Posted: April 2014

Do you think that you are a confident person? Social psychologist Amy Ruddy argues that faking feeling confident can actually make you more confident. Here are our top tips for you to use to change your body language, to see if it can help you!

Do you think that you are a confident person?

Confidence can be complex- it can be a feeling or it can be a belief.

Some people say that you are either confident, or you just aren’t. But how much does this limiting belief hold you back from improving your self-confidence?

In your mind, what does a confident person look like? Perhaps the first thing you notice is their body language?

When people are confident, they tend to stand up straight, they have open postures, and they may open their arms and really use the space in which they are standing. When people have low confidence, they may tend to cross their arms, sit in a hunch, cross their legs, fiddle or keep their eyes down.

The question is: Can you fake confidence until you become confident?

Can you force yourself to adopt a confident posture, in order to make yourself feel more confident?

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy (Harvard Business School) argues that “faking” feeling confident can actually make you more confident. She claims that simply by changing our body language to look more confident can actually make us feel more confident- even if in that moment, your mind-set is taking you more towards anxiety and self-doubt than confidence and power!

In fact, studies show that our body language actually physically changes the testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain- hormones that affect the way that we feel. What this could mean is that by practicing “power posing”(by standing in a confident posture) can affect our mind-set and make us feel more confident.

Could you try this for yourself?

Here are some top tips to change your body language to feel more confident:

  • Own your space: when we are confident, we feel like we deserve the space that we are standing in, and we aren’t afraid to use the space. If you ever need a confidence boost in your mind next time you are at a meeting or having a challenging conversation, stand with your feet apart, open your body so that you are not slouching and pull your shoulders back, helping you to take up and really own the space that you are in.
  • Watch your arms: what we do with our arms can communicate a lot. Not only does it tell other people that you have low confidence, it also sends that message to your brain. Crossing your arms especially can look and make you feel defensive and self-guarded.
  • Use your hands with purpose: fiddling feel like a useful coping mechanism for stress or self-doubt, because it redirects the attention away from you. However, it may also affect how confident you look and feel. Instead, develop a greater self-awareness about how you use your hands throughout the day when you are in the company of others. If you need to use your hands when you speak, use them with intention.
  • Be natural: Modifying your body language can sometimes feel unnatural. That is because over time, the way you carry yourself can become a subconscious habit. It may take time before confident body language starts to feel natural to you. If you feel unnatural or awkward changing your body language, just make one small change at a time. If you know that you tend to slouch, start by opening up your shoulders every time you catch yourself!
  • Have a private power pose moment: According to Amy Cuddy, it’s not communicating to others that you makes feel more confident, it’s sending that message to your own mind that makes you feel more confident. This means that taking 2 minutes to yourself behind closed doors to adopt your power pose can still make a big difference to how confident you feel. Next time you are about to go into an interview, an important meeting or to make a speech for example, take a moment to yourself in private just to spread your arms out and smile. Feel proud of yourself for that one moment, and see if it makes you feel just slightly more confident afterwards.

Wishing you a brilliant, confident day!


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