The Body Language tool

If we act confidently it can show people we feel good about ourselves. We all ‘talk’ with our bodies – all the time, even when we don’t realise we are doing it. We can tell people things by how we stand, walk, move, sit, talk, sound and by the expression on our face. We also ‘read’ body language all the time – without even thinking about it – to learn more about other people.

  • If someone is slouching, hanging their head down, hiding their face away or not looking at us, we might think they seem unhappy, not interested, rude or shy. It often makes it harder for us to talk to them. 
  • Think about someone who stands tall, who looks at us and smiles. They seem confident, friendly and easy – we often feel more relaxed talking to these people.

You can make yourself seem more confident and friendly by using your body language. If you look confident – you will start to feel more confident. It takes a bit of concentration and practice. Let’s break it down. Try these tips:

  • Posture – stand or sit up straight, keep your head held high and your shoulders back
  • Eyes – make sure you look at the other person – look at their eyes. We read a lot in each other’s eyes without even thinking about it. This shows you are interested in the other person too.
  • Smile – a smile is welcoming, friendly and happy. Even if you can’t smile fully with your face, smile with your eyes
  • Face – often our feelings show in our face. If you feel nervous or shy or embarrassed or worried, try to relax your face and turn your mouth up a little bit.
  • Hands – use your hands to emphasise things you are saying.
  • Voice – speak clearly so people can hear you – this will make you seem confident. Even if speaking is more difficult, try to be clear and speak loud enough to help people to understand you – this will work especially well if you use all the other body language tips too.

Try these out:

How do you seem?

Stand in front of a mirror…

Don’t look yet. Imagine you have joined a new school and you’re the only new person in your class – you are nervous and embarrassed. Look at yourself now…

  • How are you standing?
  • Look at the expression on your face?
  • Chances are you look a bit worried and nervous…

Now, try using the body language tips to look more confident

  • Look in the mirror
  • Stand up straight
  • Pull your shoulders back
  • Lift your head straight
  • Smile at yourself
  • Look yourself in the eye and tell yourself “I am a great person”.
  • Can you notice the difference when you try to make your body look confident?
  • Try adding a  motto – to help you feel even more confident!
  • Try it out on a friend or your family – see if they can see the difference.

Eye contact

Practice looking people in the eye – by playing this game with a friend or someone in your family:

  1. Time how long you can look at each other in the eye before one of you looks away. What is your best time?
  2. Keep a note of your longest time the first time – and then see how much better you are at it two weeks later!

It might feel funny at first… but if you practice, you will find you get good at it!

What if I find it harder to talk, or to look at people, or to move my face? 

Use your body language to the max – we still can ‘talk’ with our bodies: 

  • Try to speak slowly and clearly – make sure your voice is loud enough for people to hear. How fast you talk, or making your voice higher or lower, can give more meaning to your words. Try this out with a friend…
  • If you can, look at people’s eyes and show people the expression on your face, rather than hide your face away. If you feel worried about this, try looking at the middle of someone’s nose at first.
  • Use your hands to emphasise what you are saying
  • If you find it harder to speak, say something like, ‘Please listen carefully as my speech is not very clear.’ Let people know you don’t mind repeating yourself. Also, writing things down may be useful too.
  • If you find it hard to show expressions on your face, try showing them your whole face, rather than hiding it.

You might find it helps to practice your body language – and it will start to become easier to remember when you are out and about. So, before you get going in the morning or when you are going out give yourself the once-over – and smile at yourself in the mirror! You might also like to look at our Talking confidently tool.

Talking confidently tool

Read

My image tool

Read

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