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No Doubt About It—You’re in Charge Here

by | Oct 15, 2014 | Power Posing

Top Tips for Conveying Confidence and Competence with Body Language

Every leader wants their leadership to be taken seriously by those around them. When it comes to demonstrating confidence, competence, and authority, what you project with your body language is just as important as what comes out of your mouth.

And even if you say all the right things, if your nonverbal communication doesn’t reinforce your spoken language, you won’t be perceived as a strong leader, your messages get diluted, your directives lack import, and it just generally undermines your efficacy. Sending congruous signals between verbal and nonverbal languages is essential.

Here are some of the simplest, most effective ways to portray power via body language:

  • Maintain erect posture with shoulders back and chest out whether standing or sitting
  • Hold your head up and chin out; don’t drop your chin in toward your chest
  • Stand and sit still
  • Stand when everyone else is sitting
  • Spread your hands out to the front and sides with palms facing down and fingers splayed
  • Steeple your hands by spreading your fingers and touching your fingertips together
  • Keep your hands out of your pockets and don’t fidget
  • Refrain from making dramatic, frequent, or repetitive hand gestures
  • Avoid quick, jerky, or otherwise anxious-seeming movements
  • Don’t cross your arms or clasp your hands in front of you
  • Spread your legs so your feet are just outside the frame of your shoulders
  • Put your hands on your hips with elbows out
  • Look people directly in the eyes for at least 5 to 7 second intervals
  • Make broad strides when you walk and maintain a consistent, moderate pace
  • Hold your head up and fix your gaze straight ahead while walking
  • Give others the floor willingly and actively listen
  • Don’t keep your head tilted in an active-listening position for more than a few seconds
  • Don’t nod continuously while someone is speaking; nod just three times to encourage someone to continue without interrupting
  • Greet people with direct eye contact and a firm—but not crushing—handshake
  • Speak at a moderately slow pace with a controlled low pitch