Scientific Portal on Body Language, Kinesics and Nonverbal Communication#

Search this site

Loading...

Confident Body Language

In Wikipedia, meaning of word ‘Confidence’ is ‘a state of being certain either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective’. However, the way word ‘Confidence’ or more particularly ‘Self-Confidence’ is taken way more differently in real world. It’s not at all confidential that exactly how much self-confidence and its timely exhibition or display matters in our lives. Right? Right from very normal and casual social interaction, public speaking to extreme conflict, Confident Body Language can make an enormous and lasting difference.

After all, why showing Confidence is so much critical while interacting with?
Many people might give up responding to an under-confident, timid and uncertain person because it feeds to awkwardness. Nervousness is nothing but  inability to deal with and face people courageously. Also, low-confidence simply means increased level of vulnerability. People might try to avoid a person because they can’t predict that how an under-confident or fearful person would react. Worst part of being under-confident is that few people with anti-social and evil mentality would try to dominate, overpower, take control of or even harm such person.


Nervous, Afraid, Cold?
If under-confidence or cowardliness is really harmful then most probably you might be thinking that being always aggressive and showing off aggression is a very good alternative. Not at all! We cannot be remain aggressive on constant basis. Unwarranted or unnecessary aggression leads to terror, aggression, hostility, withdrawal and retaliation in others. If it’s really necessary to do so then friendly and co-operative people would tolerate or go along with an under-confident person but not certainly - an aggressive one. So very important questions we’ve here are - How to be or look like a Confident person? How to display Confident body language?

To understand same, we need to study our basic physiology very closely. Our core defensive mechanism works more precisely and stealthy in relation with and through different body parts and sections. Until we don’t learn it thoroughly, we may not understand crucial importance of confidence in body language.
Despite of having very powerful brains, wisdom and aptitude; we cannot stay unharmed of safe all the time. We all are vulnerable and our body is not much stronger. We have to admit that human body is weak and it needs to be protected.

Grizzly bear standing on legs
Even if it's best in entire animal world, bipedal anatomy (i. e. ability to walk on two limbs/feet) makes body more vulnerable. Why exactly? Walking on two legs exposes torso and abdominal area. Thus these two major sections of body can easily be targeted by others. Most internal organs are covered by bones and muscles but there are some parts which are covered by only a thin layer of skin. Front side of neck and sections of torso (upper body) which are not protected by rib cage i. e. stomach, abdomen and venereal (genital) area the most vulnerable. Any serious impact any injuries to these sections can lead to impairment, paralysis and in worst case - death too.

So aren’t other organs or body parts important all all? If you lose your eyes, hands or legs during attack or fight; you may still remain alive but you may not be lucky after being attacked on most vulnerable areas. Let it be historical and modern era, level of confidence in soldiers boosts when armors and helmets are allowed to put on. So if you keenly observe any person under threat, you would find that it unconsciously tries to cover some of or all mentioned vulnerable sections. Also, the person tries to take cover of something to protect them. Then how exactly a confident person looks, appears and acts? Definitely, it’s entirely opposite to the ways a person remains defensive and withdrawn.

In terms of social interaction, appearing confident or bold is neither being vulnerable nor aggressive. i. e. attaining golden mean of both unaccepted extremes by co-operative, peace-loving and friendly society. Being confident is to face different people, entities, situations, setups and challenges without lack of self-control, fear and uncertainty. Mostly important, it’s about facing with enough courage and composure. Although many people mistake confidence with aggressiveness, confident body language speaks loudly and clearly to eyes of observers.


Open torso and abdominal region
Being confident and exhibiting same means letting the most vulnerable sections of our body remain undefended even if they’re covered by cloths. Confidence exhibited by a person passes a message to others that the person is fearless, friendly and in-control and thus expecting no injuries to its physically vulnerable hot-spots. As the person isn’t intended to attack others, they would also remain friendly and harmless towards same. In other words - If you don’t carry a sword in hand; you don’t need to wear an armor. In normal conditions and by following social norms, people would to like attack on or retaliate only hostile, invading and aggressive person. Isn’t it correct?

Avoiding to go unnecessarily aggressive and defensive/submissive is the real key to let people perceive you more positively and if not - harmless and thus as a social person. Most important element of confidence display is to remain composed and comfortable with yourself. Before showing off that how much confident you are, you should feel same inside yourself at first place. So how exactly confidence is or should be displayed through body language in public? How we can exhibit same following good manners? What things we can avoid as best?

First of all, avoid adopting postures which doesn’t let you feel comfortable while walking, seating and standing. Don’t hunch in your back, don’t slump at neck, don’t cross your arms on chest or pocket your both palms of both hand at once. Avoid shifting posture and making hand gestures erratically and frequently. Do maintain proper and sufficient eye contact while interacting with others. Especially during verbal interactions, it’s really good to maintain direct eye contact with people almost 75 to 80% of the entire time span. However, culture and society-wise eye contact norms should be followed for better results.



Do you really want to remain in-control of yourself along with appearing equally impressive? Please do remember few basic things that I’ve mentioned over here. Very first personal advice from me is to never cross your arms over your chest if it’s not required. Crossing arm over chest is a defensive or self-doubting stance. It might be your signature pose (“I, me and myself!”) for photographs but crossing arms over chest in public should be avoided especially till the moment you don’t find very need to defend or protect or defend yourself. Avoid clenching fists, gesturing arrogantly and pointing by fingers toward others. Also, don't intrude in private space of others.


Arms crossed over chest
Keep your both arms straight, away and parallel to your torso. Don’t pocket both of your arms at once. Also, don’t pocket the arm alongside of which most important person stands, walks or seats alongside of you. If it’s possible and easy for you then keep both palms facing towards your body while standing and walking. If you’re seating in a chair having armrests then put both of your arms on them. Never hold end of the armrests tightly but let your open palms rest on them comfortably. While sitting in a chair, expose your upper body to others and avoid creating any physical barrier between your torso and others. Keep your shoulders wide but don’t let chest puff profoundly.

If you’re sitting in a chair without armrests then you can rest your forearms on your thighs or entwine fingers of both palms near abdomen. Women may not be able seat with squared shoulder and fully exposed torso like men but they definitely can show confident stance along by following local standards and norms. Best posture to be adopted by women is an upright torso, one leg put on another and palms either put on thighs or fingers of both palms entwine near abdomen. For both both men and women, placing or keeping both legs parallel to each other on ground is good.


Change starts from within
What if you assume yourself as an under-confident person and thus missing-out interesting and meaningful interactions? Well! It’s time to take yourself more easily and positively. Until you’re not comfortable with yourself then it’s nothing but a compromise. In result, you may not be able to express yourself in a healthier manner. It’s also worthy to remember that you can change yourself and ultimately the way people look at you. Unlike makeup we put on put on our faces, shift in nature cannot happen instantaneously but gradually and partly. After all, we’re not robots to change overnight in appearance, configuration and functioning.

It you want to make a great improvement in your self-confidence; routine exercise and fitness training is a very good option. It not only assures health or immunity but also gives you better sense of self-control. If you’re really afraid of other people due to any physical and psychological weakness, do join self-defense or martial art classes. Techniques you learn there would definitely increase level of confidence and also decrease vulnerability. Still, you need to learn to control your defensive impulse by reading emotions on faces and bodies of people - as accurately and quickly as possible.
Confidence builds bridges and not walls among individuals.
Related Articles: