14 Body Language Tricks to Be More Confident at Work
Let’s face the truth, shall we? Your work and talent are just a part of why you might get far in your career. The other factors? Your personality and confidence.
How you connect with others and value yourself are huge components to advancing in your career. You can be the most talented person in the world, but if you’re showing that you don’t believe in yourself, well, no one will believe in you either. So, how does one exude confidence and show talent without boasting about themselves every minute of every day? Through body language.
Body language is a universal method of human connection that everyone usually speaks. You’re communicating your thoughts and emotions by how you look, sit, stand, and smile.
These little nuances can tell a story more loudly than your words ever could and can make or break your career whether you’re looking for a job, trying to get a new client, or getting a new promotion.
So if you’re feeling that you’re having trouble in this department and you want to exude more confidence at work, scroll below to see all 14 tips on how to do just that.
Keep Your Head Up
Whether you’re at a meeting with your boss or you’re working at your desk, you need to keep your head up to show that you’re confident in what you’re saying and doing.
No one will understand you or take you seriously if you’re not making eye contact or if you’re looking down at your paper or screen when you’re speaking.
Keep your chin up, head high, and your boss and coworkers will value the things you’re doing and saying just a little bit more.
Use Open Gestures When You Speak
While you don’t want to wave your hands around while you’re trying to get your point across, you do want to show small amounts of gestures when you’re communicating at work to show that you’re confident and know exactly what you’re talking about.
You essentially want your movements to mirror what you’re saying so your audience will follow.
What you don’t want to do is play with your hair or tug at your clothes. Do that, and they’ll think you’re nervous.
Make Eye Contact
One of the best nonverbal connections you can make with someone is by giving them eye contact.
Making eye contact with a coworker or boss expresses that you’re assertive — whether you’re doing the talking or just listening.
If you’re talking to multiple people at once, make sure to hold your gaze for two or three seconds with someone before you make eye contact with someone else.
Stand Up Straight
Unless you have chronic back pain, you want to try to stand as straight as possible to show dominance.
It sounds a little animalistic, but standing up straight gives the message that you’re engaged and you feel confident with who you are.
Also, keep this up while you sit at your desk. If not, you may be perceived as lazy and incompetent if you’re not careful.
Not only should you stand up straight, but also lean forward when you’re talking with someone.
It shows that you’re interested in what the person has to say (this will look especially good if you’re talking with your boss) and that you’re listening — which seems like such a nonexistent thing in the workforce nowadays.
Okay, be subtle with this one. Don't fall forward or encroach on personal space.
Mirror Other People’s Body Language
One of the key signs that someone likes you is when they mirror your body language. They’ll face you, cross their arms when you cross your arms, touch their hair when you do, or smile.
Doing this to your coworkers and boss — in a natural way, of course — can create a bond and a likeability between the both of you.
Plus, this could help them believe that you’re confident with what you’re saying because you’re not just sitting quietly in your chair with your hands in your lap.
It is well documented that certain body positions and gestures can influence our emotions. For instance, it's hard not to feel a bit happier when you force yourself to smile. Try it.
Smile When You Talk
If you’ve ever had a phone interview, you know that one of the tricks to seem confident and friendlier is to smile when you talk.
Why? Because when you smile, you seem more approachable, more sure of yourself and more pleasant to listen to.
While you don’t want to hold a smile the whole time you talk — a sure way to make the other person feel uncomfortable — smile every now and then to connect with the person you’re talking to and show them that you’re enthusiastic with what you’re talking about.
While most us try not to judge a book by its cover, it's unavoidable at work or during an interview.
How you dress depicts the kind of story you’re telling to others. If you come into work with ripped jeans, a slouchy top, and bedhead — it shows your coworkers and boss that you don’t really care about your appearance, and by extension your job and your work.
This can also signal a lack of confidence in yourself and makes it hard for others to take you seriously. Avoid this mistake.
Have a work uniform that is stylish but not over the top. As long as people can tell that you put some effort into your outfit and appearance, then you’re good to go.
Take Up More Space
Most women and some men are known to take up less space when they don’t feel confident in what they’re saying.
They’ll shrink in size by looking down, folding their arms and keeping their feet closer together.
Be mindful of this act and immediately stop yourself if you notice that you’re doing it.
Instead, widen your stance, place your arms by your side, and relax your knees to show that you’re confident.
Fidgeting is a clear indicator that you’re nervous, don’t have confidence, and worried about what others are thinking.
To stop yourself from doing these nervous ticks, try to stand still and relax, be mindful of your facial expressions and what you do with your hands.
The minute you notice that you’re starting to do these little motions again, don’t beat yourself up. You’ll learn to be confident in your skin. Just be aware of your actions and everything will be fine.
Have a Solid Handshake
Now, you don’t need to pull the person in and demand dominance with this handshake.
To show confidence, all you need to do is make sure that you have a firm, few-shake handshake under your belt whenever you meet someone new, interview for a job, or end a meeting.
Knowing how to do this will exude confidence because it’s the first time you’re in contact with someone for a professional, proper introduction.
Make eye contact to show that you mean business while you shake the person’s hand.
Steeple Your Hands
When you’re in the middle of a meeting and you want to really get your point across and exude confidence, steepling your hand will do the trick.
Steepling is when the fingers form a triangle and come to a point around the chest area. This politician’s hand gesture exudes confidence and security in what the person is saying.
A 'reverse hand steeple' (with the fingers pointing down instead of up) can also be very effective, but is more useful when you're the one listening,
Keep Your Hands Out of Your Pockets
Showing confidence means you’re comfortable with yourself and your ideas. Hiding your hands in your pockets shows that you feel insecure.
Doing this nonverbal action can prohibit your boss and your colleagues from taking your ideas seriously.
Plus, they might not trust you either because they may believe you have something to hide.
At first, it may feel unnatural to let your hands "just hang" because you're thinking about it. Stop thinking about it... relax, or try hooking one thumb into a front pocket.
Refrain From Using Fillers When You Speak
Another sure way to shrink your confidence is to use fillers when you talk. Using “Uhms” or “like” can diminish what you’re saying and can even distract the listener from hearing your point at all.
If you have an important meeting, practice your speech by recording yourself while you say it and listen to the recording to see where you include fillers the most.
Continue to practice until you feel confident that you have the speech down.
“Uhms” and “likes” are filler words. They fill silence when you take a moment to think. But you don't need to fill the silence. Just pause and give yourself a moment to think about what you want to say, then say it.
Last But Not Least
Pay attention to your 'self talk'. If you catch your mind having doubts or being negative - give yourself a quick pep talk. Stay positive and relaxed.
You've got this!