The Body of a Leader: What is Said Without You Speaking a Word

As an executive it is crucial that your body language always matches your words so people correctly interpret what you said. If people have to chose between your body language and your words they will intuitively listen to their gut reaction to your body language, not your words.

So here are five quick tips on how to be perceived as a strong and confident leader:

1. Strong Stance– your weight should always be evenly balanced between both of your feet and your shoulders should be strong yet relaxed, not sloped. Your head should be straight on or as you listen it should be tilted and turned slightly. Slouching, such as President Bush did in the first debate, will be seen as lazy while rocking such as what Senator Kerry did, will come off as nervous and unsure.

2. Consistent Caring Eye Contact– you should make eye contact about 70% of the time with people. If your eye contact is more than that you may be seen as stern and not flexible. If your eye contact is less than 70% of the time, people may see you as weak and uncertain.

3. Reflexive Engaging Smile– if you are always smiling people will find it to be insincere. People expect you to make eye contact with them and then smile- hence the reflexive engaging smile. People should see it as a genuine response to a person or an event.

4. Encompassing Head and Eye Movement– When you speak to a group they want to see you look at each person in the room and draw people in to your eye contact as you ask questions. President Clinton was a master at this and made people feel he was giving great thought to questions that were asked and making people feel a part of the decision that was made. When you look straight on and make no head movement or engaging eye contact, it comes off as though you already made up your mind and that you don’t care what the people in the room think about what you are saying or sharing with them.

5. Powerful Walk– Your walk should show that you know where you are going and that you are confident about the direction to take. This means you need to walk with a slight swing to your arms and a strong powerful stride. If you walk with your head down, it will be seen as weak and unsure. If you walk with a huge stride and lots of swinging of your arms it will be seen as cocky and arrogant. So the balance is in creating a stride that others can easily walk with you but has an uplifting swing with the arms and the shoulders squared with the head up.

Once you are perceived as a strong leader people are more willing to look for the good in the decisions that you make and allow you the grace of time to work things out to fruition. When people lack this confidence in the physical appearance of their leader, they begin to question EVERYTHING their leader does and scrutinizes it all under a microscope. If you have ever doubted that, just compare how America reacted to President Reagan and President Roosevelt.

As the leading Outcome Strategist, Anne Warfield shows people how to say the right thing at the right time every time.  The revolutionary Outcome Focus® Approach shows how to build a candid corporate culture of communication that allows you to lead, present and negotiate transformationally rather than transactionally. When applying Outcome Thinking® our client’s results include sales cycles reducing by 75%, turnover reducing by 30%, silos evaporating, and a 25% savings of time by executives.  Find out how you can maximize your corporate culture for greater productivity and results!  Contact us at 888-imp-9421, visit,  or