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How to project confidence with body language

Research shows that we have seconds to create a first impression. Actor and communication skills coach Sarah Perugia has been training corporates how to use body language to their advantage for the last 15 years. In a recent article for The Guardian, Sarah outlined some top tips for projecting confidence and making a positive connection with peers.

Take up space
Sarah says “alphas” will always find ways of taking up space, whether they’re standing tall or reaching out further for a handshake. Watch their behaviour and copy it; stretch a bit further when shaking somebody’s hand, or sit forward with your arms on the table during a meeting. Plant both feet on the ground and stand tall. This not only makes you look more confident, it reduces your stress hormones.

Light up the room
Dial up your presence, focus and energy levels the moment you step into a room. When you attend a networking event, don’t stand to the side or hide behind your phone. Get into the crowd and start a conversation. Full smiles, strong eye contact, tall posture and firm handshakes are a great way to convey your confidence.

Sarah believes conscious breathing can be a powerful tool at work. To practise at home, lie down with your hand on your abdomen. Your stomach should rise and fall as you breathe in and out. If not, work on your breathing until it does. Taking deep, abdomen-filling breaths can help you calm down if your nerves are getting the best of you. It stops your natural fight-or-flight response and allows you to think clearly.

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