So I have had a flood of requests from the male readers among you asking recently how to appear and come off as more powerful and in control. It really is a terrific question and this article is hopefully going to help you to bring out your true self. You see, we are all powerful just in different areas. (The computer programmer who seems timid and meek when talking with women suddenly becomes a powerhouse of confidence when put in front of a computer and told to program!) So this article is about taking that confidence and teaching you how to project it in all situations of your lives.
The Body is a Temple
We all hate the word’s body language. Assuredly you had some stupid seminar in high school or read a boring book assigned to you that explained how you should act and give off good body language. Well, lets make this a little more fun than that shall we? Here are my top four tips for using your body to appear confident and in control.
1) Take Up Space
You should never be standing less than about a shoulder width and a half apart. The best stance to take up is legs spread apart. (But be aware that this may seem aggressive so make sure to compliment this stance with a relaxed or even smiling expression.)
2) Shoulders Back and Relaxed
Don’t hunch and let your shoulders relax. We are very good at picking up when people are tense and the two places where we tense the most (in uncomfortable situations) are the jaw and shoulders. If you have a problem relaxing your shoulders take your hands and put them behind your back. Walk that way. It is considered elegant and powerful and will automatically broaden your shoulders and chest.
Confident people are smiling because they aren’t worried and are comfortable in that situation. Now I don’t mean a wide ear to ear grin like a flaming idiot, but rather a gentle relaxed smile of acknowledgment when interacting with another person. Seriously, work on your smile and get one that compliments your face. Yes, as lame as it sounds, stand in front of a mirror and work on a smile that you feel makes you look confident.
4) Chin Up
Confident people have their heads up (exposing their necks slightly. The reason we see this as confident is because evolutionarily we are programmed to protect our necks, a confident man who knows he can take care of himself isn’t going to be worried about that and will have no problem exposing his neck.) Be careful not to have your head in the sky however, everything in moderation gentlemen.
5) Limit Large Hand Motions
A certain amount of hand motions are good, it adds to the story and makes it easier for people to follow you, however at a certain point it becomes overboard. Studies have continuously shown that people who are higher class and more confident severely limit their hand motions when they are having an interaction. Keep this in mind- if you are reminding people of Chandler when you talk it might be time to change.
So confident body language is really only the first step although it is a huge one! (Furthermore, studies by Paul Ekman have shown that if you adopt a certain body language your mindset will change to reflect your body language. So if you are uncomfortable in a certain setting, but your body language is confident, you will actually feel more confident!) However, here are some further tips that are going to really help you to be seen as confident and charismatic.
1) Speak Slowly
There are two reasons why people speak quickly: a) They are uncomfortable, b) They are very comfortable but their cognitive process is particularly fast and therefore they speak quickly to try to get everything out that is on their minds. Sadly, only psychologists (and now you) know about reason b. Everybody else assumes that if you are speaking quickly it is because you are nervous!
This is considered a really hypnotic technique and it is used by pretty much every professional speaker in the world. They pause at certain points in order to continuously capture and keep your interest. Use this. (You can even take a quick drink in the middle of a sentence! You are SO (takes drink) Funny!
3) Walk as if You are Busy
You can always tell an important person by the way they walk! When you are walking about town move with purpose and precision and I promise you this will cause people to sit up and pay attention.
4) Lean Back
The person who is the most leaned back is the person who is the most powerful in that situation so the more leaned back you can be do it. This includes leaning back against a wall, allowing yourself to relax in a chair, the key thing here is to be relaxed! Remember, relaxed people are confident and powerful people!
Now for the fun part of the article:
1) The Handshake
Make sure that when you shake somebody’s hand, your palm is to the floor. This will make somebody automatically feel dominated (which will make them automatically adhere to what you say with amazing accuracy!)
2) Verbal Power
There is something called conversational dominance which is a way of making sure that you aren’t conversationally dominated by another person. Basically, powerful businessmen (and women) will try to dominate you by asking you a string of questions, the more you answer, the more under their spell you shall fall. So how do you protect against it?
Well when somebody is trying to dominate you conversationally they will ask you questions and expect you to answer them very quickly. (Now this is not to be mistaken for genuine curiosity.) I remember I was at a hotel networking event with my father and we met an old friend of my fathers. The man was very dominant, very hocker (Yiddish for salesman) like and he immediately asked me, “How old are you?” and I came right back and said, “How old do you think I am?” and the man went, “Whoaaaa! We got a slick one here!”
He had tried to dominate me and I didn’t let it happen, I deflected it by not answering but not insulting him at the same time. People will try to dominate other people by quickly asking them lots of questions and the more you answer the more under that persons control you will fall. (Psychologically and unconsciously of course. Not physically.)
So how does it work? Well, during the first five minutes of an interaction, when you are asked a question like, “Where are you from? What do you do? How old are you?” you are going to answer in one of two ways:
- By making them answer a question for you first: Meaning, you can absolutely tell the person how old you are! But first make them guess! Make them do something for you before you do something for them. This is very important and it will start allowing you to be seen as attractive to women and powerful to men!
- Answer in a fun way: “Where are you from” Im actually from a little cardboard box on the side of the road etc. (Credit: Erik Von Markovick).
If you are ever at a loss or don’t have something particularly witty to say just say, “Guess”. If you say this with conviction and confidence then people will guess for you and therefore you have successfully taken control of their subconscious minds.