Fake Your Way to Real Confidence - Common Sense Living Newsletter
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Fake Your Way to Real Confidence

Dec 10, 2014


You know how some people just walk into a room ... and look like they belong there? Also, you know how sometimes you walk into a room and feel like you own it, but other times you feel like you're in the wrong place.

Here's what happens when people walk into an unknown space: your whole body reacts to what you feel about the space.

So when you feel comfortable, like this is YOUR space, like you are the seth, the boss, you physically expand. Your body takes up more space your legs are further apart, shoulders broad, arms further out.

However, when you feel uncomfortable, for example in a very fancy store where you feel like anything you touch will break or none of the price tags must be below 5 zeroes, or at the office when you feel your superiors don't value you or those you outrank don't respect you, you physically shrink. Your shoulders hunch over, arms cling to your sides, steps become smaller.

This physical reaction reinforces your mental discomfort, putting you in a cycle of under-confidence.

Consciously adjusting your body language can change the way your mind feels. In fact, research done at Harvard University shows that standing in a confident pose, also known as a 'high power pose' can increase your testosterone levels by about 20% and decrease your cortisol levels by about 25%. This means, in both men and women, it increases confidence and decreases stress.

Just as your shoulders fall when your mind is uncomfortable, you can become comfortable simply by changing your posture and straightening them up.

A confident pose for a confident mind
Source: Julija Sapic / Shutterstock

Here are some ways in which you can make body language adjustments to trick your brain and the world to see you as confident and capable.

Expand your body and take up space

When you are happy and proud, we say that 'chhati chowdi ho jaati hai' which means your chest expands and you puff up with pride. Although this is a figure of speech, it is based on a real physical reaction. Conversely, just by expanding your chest you feel more confident. If you are slouching as you are reading, try this: sit up straight, open up your shoulders a little (not too far back) jut your chest out, lean back with legs apart, and lift your chin slightly. You will immediately feel better, no matter what the context. Your mind registers your body movements and reacts accordingly.

Nervous hands can give you away

Daniel Craig/James Bond's Power Pose
Source: Featureflash / Shutterstock.com
Any nervousness or stress immediately shows up in your hand movements. They swing uncomfortably or you crack your knuckles. If you are standing or talking to someone, keep your gestures open, keeping your hands in an open hug. If you need to keep your hands from making you look agitated, rest them on your hips - a powerful pose.

Shoving your hands deep into your pockets can also look defensive, and cause your shoulders to hunch. However another powerful pose is just slipping your fingers halfway into your pockets, while leaving your thumbs out, maybe tucking them into your belt loop.

Keep your eyes looking forward

It's difficult to look directly at someone when you are speaking to them. Usually, holding someone's gaze can be tricky for more than a few seconds. But get into the habit of always looking directly at people, because it shows honesty and confidence.

One good trick is to keep your gaze between the other person's eyes. It gives the impression that you are looking into their eyes. Even when not in conversation keep your head up and looking forward. While walking it is natural to look down to watch where you're going. But if you look just a little bit further ahead, your head will remain up and you can still walk safely and look confident.

Stride with purpose

Taking smaller steps with your feet close together, a shuffling gait, makes you look uncomfortable. Instead open up your stride, make it a loping gait, long steady unhurried steps can show that you are purposeful, and calmly heading somewhere important. By the time you reach there, you will feel calmer as well, and enter any room with a self-assured air.

The firm grip of brotherhood

We have been shaking hands for thousands of years. And over the years handshake has evolved to communicate to us at the gut level how we feel about an interaction. We've already heard that the handshake must be a solid grip, a firm handshake with maybe one pump, to start any meeting off on a good footing.

However, body language guru Allan Pease says, to create equal footing between people a handshake must be of equal strength. If your grip is stronger you will come across as aggressive and put the other person on the defensive. If it's weaker, you can come across as submissive. Match their pressure, and you will automatically connect. To show warmth or friendliness you can use your other hand for a double handshake, or place the other palm on the person's elbow. And smile. Without a smile a handshake can be seen as aggressive.

Smile as though you are the sun coming out from behind clouds

In a situation where you are being introduced, hold your smile till you have the person's full attention, then let it break forth. It's not just the smile, but the process of smiling - the feeling that this person is smiling for me - that conveys authenticity.

Smiling does not mean just letting your lips spread. Your smile has to reach your eyes. Allow your eyes to narrow and crinkle when you smile. If you are generally reserved this might take a little practice. So forget about your teeth, and wrinkles, and crooked lips, or whatever. It doesn't matter if your whole face folds in on itself as long as your eyes are twinkling. Try smiling at strangers, or colleagues as you walk around the office. It's very good practice and they will often smile back, brightening up your day as well.

Communicate with anyone, language no bar

A wealthy businessman once confessed to me that he would avoid meeting consultants or other professionals because his English was weak and he could not bear the thought of appearing flustered. But all he needed to remember was that there was one language that everybody is fluent in reading, whether they know it or not, and that is body language.

A first impression is formed at a first meeting before the conversation even begins, and nonverbal communication continues to dominate interactions otherwise as well.

So start a conversation portraying confident engaging posture, and language will take a back seat.

If you have ever been hesitant about walking into any meeting, or any room, approaching anyone, remember that all you have to do is adjust your body and you can radiate confidence, inside and out.

At work, in life and in relationships, portray confidence and avoid aggression to become a good leader. And if all else fails, smile, it can get you out of most difficult situations.


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16 Responses to "Fake Your Way to Real Confidence"


31 Aug, 2016

what you have written is an excellent example of NLP. Imitation is the best way to learn a skill. this is followed by surgeons, sports persons etc. When Sehwag appeared on the scene he was almost a replica of his idol sachin. after a few years he had his own distinct style. and yet both were great batsmen!

Rajesh Malik

06 Jul, 2016

Excellent post.Really helpful.

rajib kumar

14 Dec, 2014

The article is simply superb and this will help me in my profession of SALES AND MARKETING. Thanx and keep sending.


11 Dec, 2014

Praveen - check out this picture of Obama to see the open hug hands he uses in speech: www.thestreet.com/gallery/tsc-obama-inauguration/1/photo-obama-speech.html Susanta: There is a floating column on the left most edge of your screen with FB, Twitter icons you can use to share the article Murali: Very true but the idea is not to be a feku (lol) but to as you say to use external adjustments to impact your mind... so yes mind your body to change your mind... and actually for true impact in all relationships (not just bf/gf) it is best to establish equal ground rather than dominance :)


11 Dec, 2014

nice work.


11 Dec, 2014

Good article - but the key word here is "FAKE" and in the cut throat arena of communication... fakes are exposed within no time... so I would alter the concept of not Faking but "Minding" your way to confidence .. Minding in the sense - play the meeting scenario in your mind and "convince" yourself that you are going to be the "top-guy" in the meeting. The hindrances here are multiple... your "pre" conception about the person you are meeting, your "pre" conception about your knowledge on the topic going to be discussed, your "pre" conception about your dressing and makeup.. etc.. If you can "convince" your mind that you are "superior" in all above factors, then your mind will take over your body and then there is no "faking" only the "real" you brimming with confidence that the other guy will feel overwhelmed with your aura and go on the defensive... However, not to be tried with your boy/girl friend as there you need to be "equal" not over or below the other.... :)

Like (2)

ashok murarka

11 Dec, 2014

good suggestion. all should try

Like (1)


11 Dec, 2014

Beautiful article. A must read for all professionals.Lot of good msgs.


11 Dec, 2014

a wonderful topic. can help everybody as we face ups and downs and mood swings during the day, month and years.


11 Dec, 2014

very helpful to all ages esp to those who appear for interviews


11 Dec, 2014

I have experienced some of the things you mentioned here and it really works, thanks for putting this together, i like it. Also I just wanted to clarify below statement: "If you are standing or talking to someone, keep your gestures open, keeping your hands in an open hug." Sorry, i cannot not visualize talking to someone keeping your hands in an open hug, i wish if you could clarify this for me. Thanks in advance - Praveen


11 Dec, 2014

Dear Sir, Thank you very much for your golden tips for good life style and behevier and attitude.

ashok mukherjee

10 Dec, 2014

it is an excellent article.I get fresh energy in my frushteted and failure life.I didnt know the root cause of my failure which I came to know from this article.I know that I am unable to get back my past but this article inspire me to fight again to win and fullfil my desire. thanks a lot

Shrikant Shirodkar

10 Dec, 2014

Liked it! a practical one.

Susanta Ray

10 Dec, 2014

It's worth reading!!! How can I share with my friends in FB,Tweeter???

Ramesh Gautam

10 Dec, 2014

A a very well explained mantra for successful leadership.


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