A few months ago, I was speaking at a leadership conference and met the keynote speaker, 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 and 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 to interviews or on 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 a minimum of 60 percent of our communication ability. So, if you only focus on your words, you are only using 40 percent of your ability. You have to get into the habit of portraying confidence with both your verbal and nonverbal communication.

2. Claim Territory

Researchers at the University of British Columbia found that when athletes win a race, their body language is more expansive and when they lose a race, their body language is more defeated. Want to look like a winner? Roll your shoulders back, firmly plant your feet, open your chest and keep your head up. If your body looks more confident, you will be perceived as more confident. This is called high body power—taking up space with your body. Putting your hands on your hips, doing the Rocky stance or even dancing are all forms of taking up space.

look (and feel) confident

Be sure to practice your winner body language 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 for statements. For example, be careful not to say your name as a question like “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 above to hear how I demo this.

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 toward 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. Level Up Your Device

Did you know that your posture while using an electronic device can change your confidence?

This crazy scientific fact has to do with the size of your electronic device…yes, really! Researchers at Harvard Business School wondered whether your posture while using an electronic device affects your self-confidence and behavior.

In one crazy experiment, researchers randomly assigned participants to interact with one of four electronic devices that varied in size: an iPod Touch, an iPad, a laptop MacBook Pro or an iMac desktop computer. They made participants wait for a fake deadline. Researchers then timed them to see how long the participants would wait.

The researchers found that the participants working on smaller devices such as the iPod behaved less assertively—waiting longer to interrupt an experimenter who had made them wait, or not interrupting at all.

But why? Your posture can affect your perceived assertiveness and your confidence. What’s the size of your favorite device? Before a big negotiation, call or event you might consider using a larger device that helps you stand in broader posture.

7. Your Confidence is Contagious

Confidence isn’t just on the outside. Our emotional state is incredibly important for how we look and how others perceive us. In my TEDxLondon Talk, I dive into the science behind our emotions and how your confidence is contagious. Watch it below now!

Hi, I'm Vanessa!

Hi, I'm Vanessa!

Lead Investigator, Science of People

I'm the author of the national bestselling book Captivate, creator of People School, and human behavioral investigator in our lab.

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