01/12/2013 03:29 pm ET Updated Mar 14, 2013

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Watch the TEDTalk that inspired this post.

I have run into countless professionals and students that look for an edge in being confident. It doesn't matter if you're a college student on your first interview to a head-honcho working to negotiate a million-dollar deal. The answer they seek to find is, "Is there any way to make myself appear like someone they can rely on?"

It is common knowledge nowadays that your mind has control over your body, but Professor Amy Cuddy scientifically proved the reverse as well. According to her research standing in a dominant pose for two minutes versus standing in a submissive pose for two minutes creates a biological difference in our body. This is what happens to our bodies when we take a dominant pose for two minutes:

· We are willing to take a risk 86 percent of the time.

· Our bodies increase the level of testosterone by 20 percent.

· Our bodies decrease the level of cortisol by 25 percent.

When we stand in a submissive pose for two minutes this is what happens to our bodies:

· We are willing to take a risk 60 percent of the time.

· Our bodies decrease testosterone levels by 10 percent.

· Our bodies increase the level of cortisol by 15 percent.

What Professor Amy Cuddy did was show the significance of how much control our bodies have with our minds. What I have been teaching and utilizing at the Body Language Institute goes along perfectly with what she had concluded.

Although our terminology might be a bit different, we have the same general idea of what it means to be perceived as dominant in a given situation. The words I would like for you to remember are head, shoulders, knees and toes. Pay attention to these four areas of your body and you are on your way to being the alpha in your pack.


"Keep your head on straight." We've all heard this before, but it has true significant meaning. If we tilt our head, it is a sing of submissiveness. When two fierce lions or wolves battle out to pick the top, the loser at the end of the match tilts its head toward one-side to show his opponent, "I give up. You win."

Another good technique is to slightly raise your chin. This move can sometimes be perceived as being arrogant, but is great to use when you need that extra burst of bravado. The slight raising of the chin gives the illusion of being slightly taller and also shows off your neck dimple (a vulnerable area in your body that opens up only when you're comfortable). This is one of the three power zones I will touch on.


When I say shoulders, I'm going to talk about the whole torso area. The power zone in this area is the belly button. Sometimes people have the tendency of covering up their belly button with a bag, papers, a drink, etc. That is why the Superman pose (both hands on your hips, with broad shoulders) is a great move to increase perceived confidence. This opens up your whole torso to whoever is looking at you. Also, it gives the illusion that you are "bigger" than you are by taking up more space.

Also another great confident move you can use is what I call the steeple. It is the touching of all your fingertips together making sort of a pyramid. We see that this is a go to move for Donald Trump. The steeple is a great tool to use when we want to cross our arms. Crossed arms have been coined as being "distant" and being "closed off." A much better move is the steeple.

Knees and Toes

I want you to imagine a table. On this table there are two candles. The first candle is tall and skinny, and the other is short and fat. A clumsy man starts to walk by the table and stumbles! He accidentally bumps the table. Which one is still standing? If you guessed the short-fat candle, "A+" for you!

What I want you to do is stand in the short-fat candle stance (feet more than 12 inches apart) if you want to appear confident. This gives the on-looker that you have "both feet on the ground." It shows and conveys that you are not a "pushover." Also, by doing this you open up your third power zone, the "naughty bits."


A confident, assertive individual is not only confident and assertive with what they say, but also by what they say without saying a word. Simply open up your three power zones (neck dimple, belly button, and "naughty bits"), stand tall with both feet on the ground, and take up space. That is the equation to be perceived as a confident person. We all have the ability to do it, so rather than just reading this, apply it to your lives daily, and you will start to see a change.

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