Everyone must have had a moment in their lives when they were envious of that charming social butterfly at work, breezing through the brief yet sudden encounters with business partners or clients like it’s nothing.
Their confident greetings and ability to close meetings flawlessly without a hint of awkwardness is a skill that you might kill to have, especially if your characteristics are plagued with the charisma and confidence level of an exposed caterpillar surviving in the wild.
However, by making the slightest changes like altering your body language can spark an entire evolution for you; here are five body language tricks that you can use to increase your confidence at work!
Take Note Of Your Smile
According to lifehack.org, smiling can cause someone to be perceived as a more friendlier and approachable individual to others. It’s also a plus point as smiling causes the release of endorphins (also known as ‘feel good’ hormones) as well.
A study done by Duke University also concluded that people do enjoy and retain memory of those who smile at them. So there’s no harm in making the effort to greet your fellow colleagues or clients with your gleaming, pearly whites at work; you are increasing your chances of them opening up and talking to you, and in turn, giving yourself more opportunities to practice your social skills.
This will make you feel more confident about putting yourself out there to others. It is important to take note of how you smile too, as there is a stark difference between a genuine smile and a fake one. Genuine smiles tend to reach up to the corner of your eyes, but fake smiles stop short at the cheek area (the outer corner of your eyes remains flat).
Be Firm With Your Handshakes
Having a good handshake gives the first impression that you are a credible character. Never execute a ‘dead fish’ (where your extended hand is completely wrapped about by the other party’s hand, with no contact at the thumb at all) or the death grip handshake (think of the infamous handshake exchanged between Donald Trump and Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan) with another individual.
You can increase your confidence level around your client or partner instead by making sure that you are delivering a good handshake. A good handshake calls for a firm grip, preferably with your palm placed a top of the other party’s palm instead of the bottom (this is to show that you are the one in control) and should last approximately for three seconds. Professor Geoffrey Beattie, head of psychological sciences at the University of Manchester, created the formula of ‘the perfect handshake’ after a poll revealed that one out of five people was uncertain on how to do it properly.
Keep your palms dry beforehand, but if you are prone to having sweaty palms that you cannot control, you can consult a doctor about it or try out products available in the market that can help you manage.
Learn to ‘Talk’ With Your Hands
Sometimes your self-confidence is lowered when you realise you have failed to deliver your point effectively to others on multiple occasions. But this issue can be resolved when you start to learn how to communicate not just with speech, but with your hand gestures as well.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, body language expert Dr. Carol Kinsey Goman states that having hand gestures accompanying speech ‘can help people form clearer thoughts’, speak in a more succinct manner and make the thoughts in our mind ‘intelligible to others’.
An additional advantage that comes with ‘talking’ with your hands includes being perceived as a likeable and enthusiastic individual. So the next time you find yourself rehearsing for a upcoming presentation, consider on what kind of hand gestures will aid you in communicating your idea to your audience.You can start taking note of relevant TED talk videos as after all, a study did show that TED speakers who managed to go viral online used up to 465 hand gestures during their speeches.
Focus on Maintaining Eye Contact
Regardless of how much of an introvert you are, the key to getting your confidence level up is to make the effort to look the person that you are conversing with in the eye periodically. Not making eye contact is a dangerous indicator of insecurity in people.
Maintaining a high level of eye contact however, allows you to be seen as someone who has dominance and power over others. This action also ensures that there is quality interaction exchanged between you and the other party. In addition, eye contact also allows you to have a proper gauge of the emotional state of the other party; if you notice that they are bored because their smiles aren’t quite reaching their eyes, have faith in yourself and change the conversation topic with the intention to pique their interest.
By doing this, you are training yourself to be in control of the conversation that is going on, and that includes honing your ability to change the direction of the conversation as and when you think it’s appropriate.
Have Your Nervous Gestures Under Control
It pays to be attentive to how your body reacts when you are feeling nervous or unsure. It can be random actions such as shaking your legs, rubbing your forearm periodically or fiddling with the nearest object within your reach etcetera.
The thing to note is that when you catch yourself showing a nervous gesture, excuse yourself briefly from the client or colleague present and get it under control through breathing exercises. Reaffirm your own confidence by steadying your train of thought and make the conscious effort to halt the nervous gesture when you get back to meeting the client or colleague later.
Remember, the only way to increase your confidence is to put these tricks into active practice during work or play. Do not doubt yourself that you are not able to pull off the facade of an active social butterfly. With enough practice, time and of course, positivity, you will be well on your way to evolve into the better version of yourself!