Confidence is key to success in many areas of our lives. Confident people stand out at work, in social situations, and in group settings.
Studies have shown that those who appear more confident achieve higher status than their less confident peers.
As a result, they wield more influence, tend to be more admired and listened to, and have access to better resources.
If you're not as confident as you'd like to be, some slight modifications to your body language can have a huge impact. Learn to fake it until you make it with these eight tricks.
1. Keep your chin and head up.
Lillian Glass, a body-language expert and author of "The Body Language Advantage," says you need to have your head up at all times.
"Confident people are always looking up, never down at the table, the ground, or their feet," she says. "You have to always pretend that there's a string holding the crown of your head up."
2. Stand up straight.
Good posture goes a long way in how others perceive you. Standing up straight projects confidence, authority, and poise, while slouching makes you look unprofessional and disinterested.
Roll both shoulders back and avoid looking tense by allowing your upper body muscles to relax while maintaining firmness in your core.
3. Plant your feet in an open, wide stance.
You may think no one is looking at your feet, but the correct stance can demonstrate confidence. Standing with your feet too close together can make you appear timid.
As a general rule of thumb, aim for a stance that's in line with your hips and shoulders. You want to have your feet about a foot apart, pointing outward.
"A confident person literally has two feet firmly planted on the ground," Glass says. "You're more balanced physically, and it shows more confidence than if your legs are crossed or together."
Also keep in mind the difference between an open and closed stance when talking to someone. Angling your feet outward and in the direction of the person you're speaking with shows interest, trust, and receptiveness, while a closed stance can convey disinterest.
4. Gesture with your palms up.
"Gesturing with your palms up gives the illusion of honesty, and this will make you appear more confident," Glass says. Aim for broad, smooth motions, which will show composure and poise.
5. Keep your hands out of your pockets and always visible.
Make sure your hands are always visible, never hiding. "Putting your hands in your pockets is one of the worst things you can do if you want to appear confident," Glass says. "We hide our hands when we're nervous, so putting your hands in your pockets sends a message that you're uncomfortable or uncertain."
Crossing your arms has a similar negative effect, making you appear closed off and unreceptive.
6. Eye contact is essential.
Strong eye contact is probably the single greatest indicator of confidence, according to Glass.
If this is something you struggle with, try looking at the other person's eyes for two seconds, looking at their nose for two seconds, looking at their mouth for two seconds, and then looking at their face as a whole for two seconds. Continue this rotation throughout your conversation.
With this trick, Glass says the other person won't be able to tell that you're not looking directly at their eyes the entire time.
7. Cut out 'um' and 'like.'
People measure confidence in the way a person speaks, so it's very important to be aware of your mannerisms and tone.
"You want to speak while pressing down firmly on your abdominal muscles, because you'll have a more confident, lower, more powerful voice," Glass says. "Cut out words such as 'um' and 'like,' and practice being more articulate."
"Don't run through your words, try to speak precisely and directly," she adds. "Also, don't be afraid to use inflection in your tone and show enthusiasm, because this shows confidence."
8. Be interested, not interesting.
Glass says the best piece of advice for people who want to appear more confident is to focus on the people they're engaged with, rather than worrying about how others perceive them.
"The bottom line is be interested, not interesting," she says. "Be more focused on the other person and what message is being communicated than focused on yourself and your self-consciousness."
She says it's very possible to make people think you're more confident than you actually are through body language.
"As you act, so you become. As you change your body language, so you become."