Imagine a 15 year old know it all with a lot of attitude. How are they carrying themselves? I bet you pictured someone leaning on one foot and crossing their arms. Since I personally don’t want people to look at me and automatically think of that image I work hard to keep a neutral stance with my arms to my side. Growing up I was always reminded to uncross my arms and stand up straight. It is a hard habit to remember because slouching and holding your arms in front of your chest feels comfortable and safe. Body language makes all the difference in how you are perceived by people you know and don’t know.
People make themselves bigger or smaller physically depending upon how powerful they feel just like animals do. What does a cat do as a defense mechanism to scare off something that threatens them? They arch their back and puff out their fur so they look bigger. Birds, snakes, and many other animals do a similar ritual. We are not so different from these animals. When we are nervous or feel powerless we cross our legs or put our arms really close to our chest or face, but when we are comfortable or feel confident we tend to move our arms away from our chest and have our heads up to literally look larger. Showing this big confident body is important to looking like you are a strong and assertive person in stressful (sometimes threatening) situations like job interviews, speeches, or even simply meeting new people. I have posted an additional link below that is very informative on body language.
Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are