In the world of body language, we’re often told that if you want to project power and confidence, you need to take up more space. Make yourself appear larger than life to claim your place in the world. Take larger strides when you walk into a room. Put your hands on your hips and stand with your feet apart. Sit tall with your head held high.
These are all fine recommendations. But what if you’re a woman? Are all power postures suitable for women who want to look not only confident, but also elegant? Would you sit with your knees apart or put your feet on the table to simply claim your space?
I was recently posed a similar question from one of my readers: “As a woman, what are the best body language postures when you want to portray confidence in an elegant way, without scaring others off?” In this blog post, I want to focus on powerful body language for women, or more specifically, “Powerful, Confident Body Language for Women”.
Before you read on, I want to let you know that if you like the tips I share with you here, take a look at my new video course, “Powerful, Confident Body Language for Women” where I go into this topic in much more detail.
How to Convey Confidence and Power When Sitting
For women, a common issue we come across when sitting down is that we don’t want to sit with our legs apart, especially if we’re wearing a skirt. While the men in the room may have the benefit of sitting with their knees apart, ankle crossed over knee, or ankles crossed over each other to take up more space, elegant women aren’t left with as many leg choices to portray an equally confident and powerful image. But, we do still have some weapons available.
- Take Up Space With Your Arms. Place your elbows on the armrests of the chair you’re sitting in. Extend your forearms along the length of the armrest. Let you hands dangle over the edge. Lean back into your chair to show you’re relaxed, but don’t slouch; elegant women always keep their shoulders back and their head high. By placing your arms on the armrests, you take up space and project confidence. By maintaining good posture and open body language (i.e. not crossing your hands over your stomach), you project elegance and power.
- Keep Your Hands Above the Table. Place your elbows on the meeting table. Let your forearms stretch across the table directly in front of you. Hold a pen if it feels better, but don’t fidget with it too much. By placing your arms outstretched on the table, you take up space and project confidence. By making your hands visible, you convey honesty and openness.
- Speak In a Lower and More Authoritative Tone. And don’t be afraid to maintain eye contact with others. If it’s your turn to speak at a business meeting, keep your head high and while turning your head slowly from left to right, look each person directly in the eye for a couple of seconds while you speak. Solid eye contact when you’re talking shows that you’re comfortable with your opinions and aren’t afraid of others asking you questions. Smiling occasionally will also help you to look friendly and approachable.
How to Convey Confidence and Power When Standing
Most women are naturally shorter than men. As height is a natural power advantage, women commonly feel inferior or less powerful simply because they’re shorter. Although I cannot swirl my magic wand and add extra inches to your height, I can reassure you that with the following tips you can still look and feel confident.
- Take Up Space With Your Stance. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, and place one foot slightly in front of the other. This is a classic power stance that can be used by both men and women and will not detract from your elegance. With your feet firmly planted on the ground, you immediately appear solid, reliable and comfortable in your own skin and surroundings.
- Project Power With Your Posture. Posture is at the core of confidence, elegance and power. Push back your shoulders (just a little), expand your chest, lift your ribcage and keep your eyes up. Hold this posture whenever you are standing, even at the grocery store or walking down the street, soon it will become second nature. Good posture shows that you’re proud of who you are. It opens up your body language, boosts your confidence and, if you’re lucky, it may add a little extra height too.
- Even Your Height With the Group. Occasionally you may physically be standing on uneven ground. To avoid an unnecessary height disadvantage, make sure that you always stand at the same level as everybody else in the group. Also, don’t lean. When you lean, you appear shorter, it encourages you to slouch, and it immediately detracts from your confidence.
In the video course, “Powerful, Confident Body Language for Women”, I go into all of these tips in much more detail, and many more. I share with you images, examples, challenges, a self-evaluation and a peer evaluation to check your progress. It’s usually priced at US$125, but using this link, you can access it for US$15! Hurry, limited time only.
Body Language Influences Your Mindset
Body language is at the core of how others perceive us. It also impacts how confident we feel inside. If you adopt confident, powerful body language, people around you will see you as “confident” and “powerful”, regardless of how you feel inside. You will pick up other people’s reactions and vibes. You will see that others are treating you as a confident person. This will shift your mindset. You will believe that you are a confident, powerful woman! You just need to start this virtuous circle with the right body language. Hopefully these body language tips will help.
When you create a professional brand that speaks power, confidence and success, you can immediately change the way others see you in business, and the way you feel about yourself.
Powerful, confident body language has been critically important for me as a businesswoman. As a coach, I teach these gestures to my executive level clients and they see amazing results. I want to teach them to you so you can get others to see you as the confident, powerful women that you are.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on September 1st 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.