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How to Look (and Feel) Confident


look (and feel) confident

This is going to sound really harsh, but it has to be said:

Do you look like a loser?

Or worse: Do you feel like a loser?

A few months ago, I was speaking at a leadership conference and met the keynote, a big-shot CEO. We were chatting about the conference sessions and he mentioned one in particular that was not very well attended. “You know why no one wanted to go to that session? It’s because the guy leading it was a real loser!”

I was shocked by his statement and asked him why he thought the speaker was a loser. He said something that has stuck with me:

“He feels like he doesn’t belong, he feels like he isn’t qualified, he feels like a loser and so that’s exactly what happens.”

If you want to get dates, win business and influence people you have to prep your confidence both inside and out.

But how do you cultivate a confident presence and mentality? Let me show you how:

1. Use Your Body and Your Words

Most people go on interviews or dates and only think about the words they are going to say. They think about what they are going to say, but rarely think about how they want to say it. Nonverbal communication makes up at a minimum of 60% of our communication ability–some say its up to 93%! So if you only focus on your words, you are only using 40% of your ability. You have to get in the habit of portraying confidence with both your verbal and nonverbal content.

2. Claim Territory

Amy Cuddy and researchers at Harvard Business School found that the more expansive you are–roll your shoulders back, firmly plant your feet, open your chest and keep your head up the more confident you feel and the more confident others perceive you. This is called power posing–taking up space with your body. Putting your hands on your hips, doing the Rocky or even dancing are all forms of taking up space.

look (and feel) confident

In mock-interviews, the researchers had participants power pose before they walked into the room. Those who power posed were rated as more confident, intelligent and skilled. Most importantly, those candidates FELT MORE POWERFUL!

So be sure you power pose before you walk into a meeting, party or interview.

I’m ready to look and feel more confident! click to tweet

3. Question Inflection

One of the biggest mistakes people make with nonverbal confidence is with their voice tone. Confident people never use the question inflection on statements. For example, be careful not to say your name as a question, i.e. “My name is Vanessa?” You want to make it authoritative by going down at the end of the sentence. “My name is Vanessa.” Make sure to use the authoritative tone whenever you answer a question to show you are sure of your words. Research has found that especially on dates, women who use the question inflection are seen as more untrustworthy by men. Check out the video to hear how I demo this.

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4. Eye Gazing

Confident people know the power of eye gazing. To increase your confidence, be sure to look people in the eye as you are speaking AND as they are speaking. Too often we look away, check our phone or scope out the rest of the room. This is not only rude, but very low confidence.

5. Fronting

Fronting is when you aim your torso and toes towards the person you are speaking with. Nonverbally, this is a sign of respect. When you do this you look incredibly focused, put together and charismatic. So be sure to always keep your toes and torso aimed at the person you are speaking with.

6. Power Body Language:

Want to really pump up your body language? Check out our course The Power of Body Language!

Here’s the most important part:

I want you to bookmark this post right now and save it for when you have a big date, important meeting or event.

So, next time you are getting ready, waiting in the parking lot or trying to prepare you can watch our five minute video to remind yourself how to get PUMPED UP.

science of happiness

All Rights Reserved + COPYRIGHT 2014 Science of People, LLC

About Vanessa Van Edwards

Vanessa Van Edwards is a published author and behavioral investigator. She is a Huffington Post columnist and her courses and research has been featured on CNN, Forbes, Business Week and the Wall Street Journal. As a published Penguin author, Vanessa regularly speaks and appears in the media to talk about her research. She is a sought after consultant and speaker.


18 Comments


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  3. Annette Brookes

    I randomly came across videos of you at the youtube channel while i was looking for interesting psychological facts and experiments. I couldn’t stop but watch almost all your videos posted there and my confidence was boosted so much. It’s sad that I can’t watch your complete training program on the channel. anyway Really i’m interested in taking the course but i guess in India only Khyati is there is Delhi. If given a platform will it be possible for her to put up a session in Mumbai?

  4. Rania Mait

    it is a great steps .. the important now is to stuck on this when we need it in real time .. Vanessa do you have some steps that help us to remember doing this steps when needed

  5. Robby Smith

    I love the claiming of territory A.K.A. Power Posing!! What I do before a date/ meeting/etc.. Is power pose and while play confident music. Then while meeting with others, I stay in a launch position. All these help in sustaining the confident/ high testosterone.

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  9. Lauren Freeman

    All these tips are so great, the one I really need to look out for myself is to stop using question inflection – I do it a ton when I get nervous, and it’s a bad speech habit I have in general. Power posing and fronting are, well, powerful!! They make such a positive difference in my interactions.

  10. Amanda

    Thank you for these posts.I worry that I over stare at people when I speak to them or when they speak to me. Should I glance down every now and then ?

  11. Pingback: How to Triple Your Confidence In 30 Days | Wealthy Gorilla

  12. Dan

    There’s so much to body language that many people are not aware of. Thanks Vanessa for sharing this and other tips with your readers.

  13. kweensisan

    I totally love you Vanessa..you know why?..on a personal note.. you are good..not just because you think you are…but because of the value you create…people are so quick to attract little change to services like this..but here you are boldly showing your competence..and enjoying it while you do….I would so recommend you for bigger tasks..no flattery…I say ‘good’ when I see it cause I appreciate it when people tell me too..Well done! Vanessa..you and your team mates are awesome..Five Stars!!!!!

  14. Karla

    I love this article there are so many good tips! It is funny how things connect in acting class I remember that we are taught from the beginning that it is not what you say but, how you say it. This is so cool to connect concepts together!

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