Appearing confident (even if one isn’t) is very much about body language and to exude confidence we must present a “total package.”
First, steady eye contact is a must. Looking around, looking to a digital device, to the side or to the ground is a no-no. Eye contact makes people feel important and engaged.
There are a lot of opinions about handshakes and while a lot of people dislike “firm” handshakes, that is because many people over do it. Don’t crush someone’s hand but do be firm. Also, don’t play the game of trying to be the last to let go, this is more likely to lead to awkwardness than make one look confident.
Another way to create a persona of confidence is to engage someone by very lightly touching their shoulder. President Obama is famous for doing this. It can signal leadership, confidence and put the other person at ease.
When speaking to a group keep your feet firmly planted on the ground. Shifting your weight or crossing and uncrossing your legs makes you look nervous and fidgety. Take up space with your hands. Don’t be afraid to fill the empty space physical with your presence. Gesturing while speaking and filling the space with your presence with controlled and calculated movements will make you seem more confident, however be careful not to do it too much or too quickly, this can look chaotic.