For the past three weeks we’ve discussed different tools you can use to project confidence, specifically, your voice, posture and eye contact. This week, we will conclude our series on confidence with a very important, but oft overlooked factor in achieving a confident air: how you use your arms and hands.
The ways in which you gesture can make or break the image you project to others. Many people are uncomfortable using their hands when they speak and fall into default positions that limit their movement. While this may be suitable on occasion, continually lapsing into a fixed position will make you appear immobile and insecure. In particular, the following habits can be particularly harmful:
- Sitting with your chin in your hands: this casual posture makes you look overly relaxed. This posture may make you appear inexperienced or unprofessional in comparison with those around you.
- Folding your arms: The person who takes up the most physical space in a contained group setting is generally perceived to be dominant over his or her peers. Habitually folding your arms creates the impression you’re trying to take up as little space as possible and fade into the background. This creates an air of passivity and uncertainty.
Instead of allowing yourself to fall into a fixed posture like those above, become comfortable utilizing gestures. Not only do natural gestures make you appear confident and at ease, they can also be used to draw attention to important points in your speech. Making subtle but definite gestures during key moments will help your listener focus on these points. One movement that works particularly well is gesturing toward your listener with your palm facing upwards. The forward motion signals strength and security, while your upturned palm projects openness and honesty.
To get a good sense of how you gesture on a regular basis, ask a friend or close coworker to keep an eye on how you move during a typical interaction and provide feedback.
Want to learn more? Visit us at www.corporatespeechsolutions.com and make an appointment for an evaluation to learn how we can help you improve your communication confidence.