We all know that body language is an important way we communicate with others as well as ourselves. While the myth that nonverbal communication accounts for 93% of overall human expression has been debunked (it’s not nearly that high), scientific research shows that body language is still a significant part of how we express ourselves.
So, it doesn’t hurt to have more body awareness and understand how it can strengthen us — physically, emotionally, and mentally — for everyday challenges.
Whether you’re going for a job interview, stepping out to make a presentation, or simply want to look (and feel) more confident the next time you walk into a room, body language expert and confidence coach Yana German has five helpful tips so you can hit your stride.
1. Keep Your Head Up High
It’s what your mom told you as a child when you were down, but turns out she was right. Keeping your head up not only helps you to look confident and prepared, but it can help you feel like you can take on anything. When your chin is lifted, you are literally facing any situation head-on, which can inspire confidence.
2. Find a Focal Point
Whether you are facing a camera or a potential employer, it’s important to look right past the person and not straight in the eyes or the lens of the camera. This can cause you to be distracted and will also affect your posture. If you pause to speak to someone, then it is smart to look them in the eyes.
3. Relax Your Hands
Clenched hands are one of the first giveaway body language signs that you are stressed. Instead, relax your hands and glide them behind your body.
4. Walk With a Purpose
By crossing your left foot over your right foot when you walk, not only do your legs look longer and slimmer, but it shows you know where you are going.
5. Keep a Neutral Neck
A tell-tale sign of someone who is nervous is someone who is literally sticking her head out in front of herself. The best way to get into a neutral and confident position is by taking a deep breath in, open your chest, and relax your shoulders. Your neck will naturally sit in its neutral and power position.
Express Confidence With Your Body Language
What you express on a daily basis has much more to do than just the words you speak. Body language is a powerful way to communicate, so use it to your advantage.
How you carry yourself can speak volumes on your behalf, both positively and negatively. Some of the advice might sound trite, but it’s true: Keep your head held high, focus your eyes, keep your hands (and shoulders) relaxed, and walk with purpose.
Also, take a deep breath before going into any situation where you feel like you could use an extra boost of calming confidence. Taking a few deep breaths not only soothes your nervous system, but the extra dose of oxygen can also give you a bit of mental clarity.
And don’t forget to smile — even if you don’t say a word, a warm smile can help break the ice of any situation and draw people in.
Yana German is the founder of the Yana German School of Walk where she teaches women and men how to improve body language and transform their lives one step at a time.