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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, and I have even written about them in a previous blog post “Five Body Language Secrets for a Powerful, Professional Image”.
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 and Confidence and Class newsletter subscribers: “As a woman, what are the best body language postures when you want to portray confidence in an elegant way, without scaring others off?” So today I want to focus this blog post on body language for women, or more specifically, “Powerful Body Language for Confident Yet Elegant Women”.
How to Convey Confidence and Elegance 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 and itâs all about focusing on your arms, posture and voice instead.
- 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. Slide your feet to one side, or cross your legs if it’s more comfortable for you. 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 openness.
- 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. Lean forward in your chair to show interest and keep your back straight and your head high. 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 Elegance 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, donât lean. When you lean, you appear shorter, it encourages you to slouch, and it immediately detracts from your elegance.
Body Language Influences Your Mindset
It’s at the core of how others perceive us and how we perceive ourselves. If you adopt confident and elegant body language, people around you will see you as “confident” and “elegant”, regardless of how you may be feeling inside. You will pick up their reactions and vibes, you will see that others are treating you as a confident person and this will shift your mindset; you will believe that youâre a confident, elegant and powerful woman. You just need to start and hopefully these body language tips will help.
As a woman, I couldn’t leave without stressing the importance of a pair of killer heels. As the quote from Christian Louboutin says:
So, now I want to turn the discussion over to you. What body language postures make you feel confident, powerful, or elegant? Do you have a pair of killer heels that make you feel absolutely fabulous every time you put them on? I’d love to hear more about you! Please leave your comments in the section below.
Imagine walking into an important client meeting knowing exactly how to own the room.
Imagine presenting in front of your colleagues and successfully command their respect and attention.
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.