Body language is a mostly subconscious but very important way of presenting yourself. Small aspects of your body language can give off tells of nervousness, insecurity or confidence. I’ll be writing a few posts over the next while about how to control and use body language to your advantage in both the business world and really anywhere else.

As you can tell by the title, this post is about your stance. That is, how you stand, what it says about you and how to best come off as confident. I’m concentrating mostly on legs, feet today, while standing.

Paying constant attention to how you are standing is the first step to understanding how others see you. Without practice of paying attention, you won’t succeed in understanding.

Let’s see what your stance says about you:

  • Openness in a stance portrays an openness or acceptance to things, people, ideas, etc. Feet or arms spread apart means they are open minded, while feet together or arms held close to the body suggest a closed mind.
  • Feet together also says that you’re unstable, just taking up as little space as possible, afraid of anything around you.
  • A slouched stance (or while sitting), emits a feeling of depression, being weighed down by the world. This can also be due to a lack of desire, drive and control, all negatives.
  • ‘Nervous Feet’ convey pretty much what they’re named: nervousness. This is when you cannot stand still, constantly shifting weight from one foot to another and trying to get a solid stance while not being able to. Though I’ve seen this as true, I’ve had problems with this. Because of a knee injury, I sometimes cannot keep pressure on one knee, so I need to shift continuously. I’m noting this just because, while a lot of these points are researched, some are not always true.
  • One foot in front of the other with weight on the back foot is a protective stance. The idea behind this is that your front foot is there for protection, able to move quickly, while your back foot braces. This is a nervous stance (hence the protective connotation, commonly associated with an ‘I Don’t Care’ attitude, but still comes off as insecure.

So how do you portray the positive, confident person that you are or want to become? The stance that gives off that confident feel is feet spread out, just past shoulder width, solidly on the ground, feet facing forward, slightly on the front of your feet. Stand up tall, only lean towards a person who’s talking, and keep your shoulders back and aligned with your hips. This stance says that you’re confident, braced for anything that’s coming, not afraid. Just imagine you’re standing off against an oncoming force with the confidence of an army behind you.

The best way to practice this is by both watching yourself and watching others. Notice how you stand while talking to a friend as compared to someone new. Do you change from a power stance to one of uncertainty when someone new is in front of you? People subconsciously can see what your stance says about you, so watch and practice the positive stance among friends and new people, then when confidence is needed you’ll be ready to stand for anything.

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