It’s no secret that how we carry ourselves dictates how we are treated by others. Things like body language, gait, and gaze create an aura about us that tells others that we mean business, or that we are not sure of ourselves or socially submissive. These kinds of perceptions have a major effect on who we attract as friends and lovers, as well as creeps who may try to take advantage of us.
Strong body language actually inspires real confidence. Looking as though you know what you’re doing/talking about can go far when it comes to job interviews or negotiations. Appearing to be schlumpy can sabotage the best efforts at getting what you want because wrong or right, it causes the other party to doubt your competence or knowledge. When you feel good about yourself and it shows, others feel comfortable relying on you for your expertise and also hesitate to pull the wool over your eyes in your dealings with them.
Similarly, potential partners observe body language as a clue to the kind of person you are. If you appear to be timid or vulnerable, what kind of guy do you think you’ll attract? How would that person take you seriously as an equal partner in a relationship? A partner who is just out to play you like a fiddle and manipulate you into doing things against your best interests would not likely to be attracted to someone who clearly appears to be the no-nonsense type, right?
One day I overheard my (then) pre-teen daughter explaining what I taught her about safety and body language over the phone to her friend before the two were embarking on an unchaperoned subway trip. I’ll do my best to tell it the way she did. In this case, she was discussing confident body language in the context of warding off unsavory characters in public, but I taught her that the concept is applicable in all kinds of other (less threatening) situations like business dealings or just meeting people in general.
First of all, she said, walk like you mean business. Pick up your feet. Even if you don’t know where you are or which way to go, pretend like you do. Don’t dart your eyes all around like a frightened little tourist from Nowhere, Idaho.
Let your body take up more space than it actually does so you can establish your space in a crowd. People will move out of your way instead of bum rushing you.
When someone approaches you, look them dead in the eyes and don’t blink or look away too quickly. It’s how you let them know that you see them, you see what they’re doing, or about to do.
Walk with your shoulders down and relaxed, head up, and arms loosely from (not glued to) your sides. This way, you’ll look confident and trouble makers are less likely to bother you, because they don’t know what you’ll do.
Speak in a strong voice! Nobody will take you seriously with baby-talk. Don’t try to sound like a man, or somebody else, just use your natural voice that comes from your gut, not your neck or nose.
What you’re really doing is portraying to others that you have nothing to be afraid of. Fear is what creeps and advantage-takers are looking for in a victim. Let them know “I am NOT the one!” without uttering a single word.
None of these guidelines is completely cut and dry. Things can go wrong (or right) regardless of your demeanor but the chances of repelling unwanted interactions and attracting positive ones are much better when you exude an aura of relaxed confidence.
Regal Resource: A Must See TED Talk: ‘Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are’ + learn about “power posing”
I Want to Hear From You:
- How do you show confidence with your body language?
- Which one of the items that I listed above are the easiest or hardest for you to do?
- What did your mother teach you about body language?
- Share your own experience or connection to body language.