How to Improve Your Body Language to Project Confidence and Credibility

Welcome to my blog on Social Emotional Learning! In today’s post, we will be diving into the fascinating world of body language and its role in effective communication. As a Speech Language Pathologist and Social Emotional Learning expert, I understand the importance of non-verbal cues in our interactions with others. So, let’s explore the power of body language and learn some practical tips and techniques to master it.

Before we delve into the practical aspects of mastering body language, let’s first understand what it is and why it is significant. Body language refers to the non-verbal cues we use to communicate our thoughts, feelings, and intentions. It includes facial expressions, posture, gestures, eye contact, and even the distance we maintain from others. These non-verbal cues play a crucial role in conveying messages and can often speak louder than words.

Now that we understand the significance of body language, let’s explore some common body language signals and their meanings. For example, crossed arms may indicate defensiveness or resistance, while open palms can signal honesty and openness. By being aware of these signals, we can better interpret others’ intentions and adjust our own body language accordingly.

The way you use your body subconsciously speaks volumes about your inner thoughts and emotions. Poor or unconfident body language can undermine your message and cause people to not take you seriously. On the flip side, improving your body language can help portray confidence, competence, and approachability.

In this comprehensive guide I’ll explain how body language works and provide science-backed techniques to consciously improve your nonverbal signals. With practice these tips will help your body language align with and reinforce your verbal communication.

Here are some of the most important areas we’ll cover:

  • Understanding the impact of body language
  • Making consistent eye contact
  • Keeping good posture
  • Using strategic gestures
  • Mirroring others subconsciously
  • Avoiding nervous tics and fidgeting
  • Slowing down your movements
  • Taking up space appropriately

Let’s dive in to learning how you can communicate confidence through your physical presence and energy.

Understanding How Body Language Impacts Perception

Before going into specific techniques, it’s helpful to understand the science behind how body language influences others’ perceptions.

Research shows that 55% of impressions formed about you come from your body language and appearance. Only 7% come from your actual words. As a result the unspoken signals you convey have a huge impact.

Some key insights about body language:

  • It reveals inner feelings and attitudes below conscious awareness Nervousness, anger, boredom, etc. leak out through your body

  • First impressions crystallize quickly – within just 30 seconds according to studies. Your initial body language colors judgments of your competence and confidence.

  • Congruent body language reinforces your message while incongruent body language undermines it. Mismatched signals cause mixed messages.

  • Dominant, expansive postures project authority and power. Contractive, closed-off postures project weakness and nervousness.

With this background on the outsized impact of body language, let’s get into specific techniques for improvement.

Make Consistent Eye Contact

Looking others in the eye when talking or listening helps strengthen engagement, build rapport, and project confidence. However, avoid staring intensely – brief eye contact is best.

Tips for improving eye contact:

  • When listening, look directly at the speaker. This shows you are engaged and interested.

  • When talking, make 2-4 seconds of direct eye contact with each person before glancing to others in the group.

  • If presenting, sweep your gaze across the whole audience but pause briefly on each person.

  • Don’t break eye contact first if engaging in eye contact “battles.” Discomfort with eye contact signals weakness.

  • Slowly count to 4 in your head to keep eye contact for the ideal length of time.

With practice, extended comfortable eye contact will start to feel natural.

Keep Your Chin Up and Posture Straight

Slumped, hunched shoulders constrict your body and convey lack of confidence. An upright posture with chin parallel to the ground projects assuredness and authority.

Follow these posture tips:

  • Align your ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles in a straight line when standing.

  • Roll shoulders back instead of hunching forward. Open up the chest.

  • Lengthen the back of your neck and keep your chin level, not tilted down.

  • When sitting, avoid slouching. Keep shoulders back and spine erect.

  • To strengthen your posture, do exercises like Pilates, yoga, and chest openers.

Pay attention to your posture throughout the day. Standing or sitting tall becomes a habit with regular corrections.

Lean In to Show Interest and Engagement

Leaning your torso slightly forward when listening or speaking shows you are engaged and interested in the conversation. Avoid leaning back, which conveys disinterest.

Examples of good times to lean in:

  • When listening intently to someone else speak during a one-on-one or in a meeting. Nodding also shows engagement.

  • When making an important verbal point during a presentation or group discussion.

  • When having a lively debate or exchange of ideas and wanting to connect.

Don’t overdo it and invade others’ personal space. Subtle forward leaning is best, focused mostly on the upper body rather than the full torso.

Use Strategic Hand Gestures and Movements

Research finds moderate hand gesturing makes speakers appear more energetic and passionate. Be careful not to over-gesture, however, which can be distracting.

Here are tips for using strategic gestures:

  • Gesture openly with palms facing up when making a point or asking a question. This invites engagement.

  • Use deliberate pointing gestures to direct attention to key points. Don’t point directly at people though.

  • Hold hands in a steeple shape – fingertips pressed together – when listening intently. This conveys confidence.

  • Avoid adaptors – fidgety gestures like hair touching, scratching, tapping feet, etc. These signal anxiety.

The key is using purposeful, varying gestures matched to your verbal message. Keep hands still otherwise.

Mirror Others Subconsciously to Build Rapport s subconsciously mirror the body language, speech patterns, and mannerisms of others when trying to better connect. Subtle mirroring establishes mutual understanding and positivity.

Try mirroring others’ body language:

  • Adopt similar posture and positioning in your chair.

  • Use similar hand motions and gestures.

  • Reflect facial expressions like smiles and nods.

  • Match the pace and volume of their speech.

Avoid mimicking mockingly and focus on mirroring mood and energy. The goal is signalling harmony nonverbally.

Slow Down Your Movements

Rushed, hurried movements signal stress and anxiety even if you feel calm inside. Trainer yourself to move deliberately and slowly when appropriate.


  • Pause before turning from your presentation to face the screen or whiteboard.

  • Slowly sweep your gaze across the room instead of rapidly darting around.

  • Allow a pause before responding to a tough question. Don’t jump in immediately.

  • Take an extra beat when being introduced to someone before reaching to shake hands. Make eye contact first.

Slow, controlled movements subtly project confidence and thoughtfulness. You appear less frantic and more in command.

Eliminate Nervous Tics and Fidgeting

Nervous habits like nail biting, foot tapping, pacing, and hair touching betray anxiety even if unintended. Becoming aware of these tics is the first step to eliminating them.

Identify your own anxious tics and fidgeting, then consciously work to stop doing them. Self-monitoring is key.

Use fidget tools like stress balls and fidget cubes if you need tactile stimulation. Just avoid mindless fidgeting visible to others.

Relaxation techniques like deep breathing and meditation can also help calm a restless, twitchy body.

Take Up an Appropriate Amount of Space

Humans view expanded, open postures that take up more space as displays of power and confidence. Contractive, closed postures that take up less space signal low status and insecurity.

However, be careful not to encroach on others’ space at the same time.

Tips to take up space appropriately:

  • Spread arms and legs to an open but comfortable degree when sitting. Avoid crossed arms and ankles.

  • Stand tall with weight balanced evenly on both feet shoulder-width apart. Hands resting on hips or clasped behind the back both expand the stance.

  • Use expansive gestures that extend from the center of your body outwards. Contain them within your personal space bubble though.

  • Claim your territory at a table or desk by spreading notebooks and other objects within your area.

Give yourself permission to embody your space without crowding others. Owning your sphere radiates poise and confidence.

Improving Your Body Language Takes Time

Adjusting well-worn body language habits requires conscious focus and repetition. But with regular practice, these tips will help reshape your nonverbal signals to project confidence, approachability, and professionalism.

Pay attention to how others respond as you work to improve your body language. Subtle positive changes in engagement, reactions, and respect given over time show you’re on the right track.

how to improve the body language

Practical Tips for Improving Body Language

Now that we have explored the various aspects of body language, let’s discuss some practical tips for improving our own body language skills.

Self-awareness is the first step towards improving our body language. Take some time to reflect on your personal body language habits. Are there any negative or ineffective patterns that you can identify? Practicing mindfulness can also help us become more aware of our body language in real-time. By being present in the moment and consciously monitoring our non-verbal cues, we can make positive changes.

Proxemics and Personal Space

Proxemics refers to the study of personal space and the distance we maintain from others during communication. Understanding and respecting personal space is essential for effective communication. Being too close can make others feel uncomfortable, while standing too far away may create a sense of disconnection. By being mindful of personal space, we can create a comfortable and conducive environment for communication.

Body Language Expert Explains How to Show Confidence | WIRED

How to improve body language?

Consider the following tips 10 on how to improve body language: Maintain good posture, standing tall with relaxed shoulders and a straight back. Make appropriate eye contact to convey attentiveness and engagement. Use open gestures, avoiding crossed arms or hands in pockets.

What can be done for difficulty speaking and swallowing?

Difficulty speaking and swallowing, also known as dysphagia, is a condition that can be caused by a variety of factors, including stroke, brain injury, and certain medications. It can be a very frustrating and isolating condition, but there are a number of things that can be done to manage it.

How do you Use Your Body Language?

Take a pause, look thoughtful, glance away, and then return to making eye contact when you start speaking. Then your words are even more powerful because your eyes support them. Sometimes how you move matters more than what you say. Check out eight ways to use your body language to your advantage.

How can I improve my ability to read and use body language?

Here is a crash course in improving your ability to read and use body language: 1. Realize that Body Language is Not a “Language.” In other words, there is no dictionary for nonverbal communication.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *