To intimidate is to make people fearful, nervous, or inadequate to gain social standing or produce a desired outcome. While this is seen as a negative quality in many interpersonal interactions, bullying can be very useful in sports, business, and other competitive environments. Learning how to be intimidating can also help you avoid being intimidated by other people.
Method 1 of 2: Being physically intimidating
Step 1. Maintain an upright posture
Body language is very important when it comes to conveying a certain attitude. Trying to stand as tall and confident as you can will make you look more intimidating, so maintain good posture. You can even lean forward a bit when communicating with others.
Step 2. Fill in the space where you are
Whenever you are sitting, standing or walking, try to take up as much space as possible. This suggests that you are confident and command the space in which you find yourself.
- When walking, move with open arms (swinging them, on the sides, etc.).
- As you sit, lean back and keep your arms and legs loose and open.
- When standing, keep your legs apart and your arms uncrossed whenever possible.
Step 3. Place your hands on your hips
When standing in front of or next to other people, rest your hands on your hips and keep your arms open, away from your body. In many contexts, this stanza conveys authority and can seem intimidating.
Step 4. Stay in people's way
If you physically occupy the space that other people are trying to move into, they will either need to confront you or move to the side. Most people will prefer to avoid direct confrontation, asking for permission or taking another route without bothering you. Either way, you'll look intimidating.
- Use this technique to block hallways, stairs, doors, etc.
- If you want to sound even more intimidating, if the person asks if you let them in, say something like "Oh, I didn't see you there."
Step 5. Cross your arms
When standing, walking or sitting, cross your arms over your chest. In many contexts this can seem intimidating or aggressive.
Cross your arms high across your chest, and do it firmly. By crossing your arms too low or too loosely, you can convey an image of nervousness rather than authority
Step 6. Make a face
While a smile conveys sympathy and kindness, an ugly expression, such as a frown, suggests aggression, anger and disgust. This can make people a little afraid to talk to you, which is desirable when you want to appear intimidating.
Step 7. Point fingers
Using your fingers to point, especially at people, conveys authority and conviction. In some cases, this might even seem a little rude or aggressive. However, if you want to look intimidating, that might be a good thing.
Step 8. Get muscled
While not 100% conclusive, some research shows that a muscular body leads to greater assertiveness, and others may find this intimidating. You will be more intimidating if you believe your physique commands respect. Try a variety of muscle toning techniques to increase your muscle mass.
Step 9. Don't bother
Tapping your hands or feet, shifting your body weight from side to side, rubbing your hands, and other similar body movements convey a feeling of nervousness. If you want to look more intimidating, keep your body upright and move deliberately. This kind of body language indicates assertiveness.
Step 10. Maintain a well-groomed and stylish appearance
Taking care of personal hygiene and appearance and maintaining a good and clean appearance in general helps to convey a sense of assertiveness and confidence. Make it a habit to practice this care for your appearance and see if you will be seen more intimidating.
- If you're a man, grow your beard. Many people believe that a beard is a sign of masculinity and assertiveness.
- A jacket, a nice dress, a suit pants, or other formal attire can convey authority. If you're trying to look intimidating, dress better than other people. For example, if your work's default dress code is business casual (a little more casual than traditional corporate style), you might look a little intimidating if you wear your full suit.
Step 11. Keep a neutral facial expression
Many of our emotions can be read by our facial expressions – happiness from a smile, disagreement from a frown, surprise from a gasp, etc. By keeping a neutral expression and limiting the amount of motion conveyed, you will look more intimidating.
Practice staying, smiling, laughing, frowning, and other expressions in situations that often require these reactions. You can even do this in front of a mirror or with a friend to perfect this technique
Step 12. Make eye contact
In many cultures, looking people in the eye is seen as an intimidating act. Practice looking directly into people's eyes when talking to them. You may feel more intimidating and find other people reacting accordingly.
- In some cultures, eye contact is a sign of disrespect. If in your region or in your work environment there is a cultural taboo against eye contact, be careful or break it. You want to look more intimidating, but you don't necessarily have to be rude or aggressive to do so.
- Looking deeply into a person and rolling your eyes can also seem intimidating. However, be careful not to appear rude depending on the context.
Method 2 of 2: Being Socially Intimidating
Step 1. Speak clearly
Confidence, or lack of it, is conveyed in our tone of voice. If you mumble, hesitate, or whine when you speak, your assertiveness is compromised. However, by speaking in a clear, even tone, at a moderate to high volume, you will convey confidence and appear positively intimidating.
If you have difficulty speaking clearly and evenly, take a moment to think before speaking. This will give you time to prepare what you want to say. This attitude also conveys enough confidence not to be bothered by a little silence, which can make you seem more intimidating
Step 2. Be assertive when communicating
It is possible to demonstrate your confidence in the way you communicate, further increasing your level of intimidation. That means doing things like:
- Don't always agree with people.
- Express your opinion.
- Don't walk away from a conflict.
- Use "I" phrases such as "I disagree" instead of "you're wrong". This emphasizes your authority.
- Agreeing in principle, but not necessarily in every detail, saying things like "this makes sense, but…".
- Don't get defensive when criticized, and don't criticize the person in return. Instead, focus on making direct statements about your opinions.
- Be persistent. Make your point of view more than once if necessary, but don't change it.
- Be willing to say "no" (or "I'm too busy", etc.) to some requests.
Step 3. Use taunts
Taunts are commonly used in sports as a way to convey confidence and destabilize the opponent. They can also be used in other contexts (such as election advertising or in the workplace) to make the person appear more intimidating.
- Using teasing in other situations can be pretty straightforward, like telling a co-worker, "I got 13 new clients this month alone, John. How many did you get? None." This can also include sarcasm, such as "You did a good job with that report, John. Maybe next time you'll actually get new customers to include in it."
- Avoid sexist, racist and otherwise offensive language. Focus your teasing on the person's abilities, not their identity.
Step 4. Always be accompanied
Entering a new place with a group of people along with you can make it seem more powerful and important. The stronger and more confident the people in your group seem, the less likely you are to be bothered. Having a group of friends suggests that you are a leader and can be intimidating in a positive way.
- In some locations, it is even possible to rent friends for a short period of time.
- Ideally, your group can be made up of good friends who support and even worship you.
- They can even help you reach your goals and impress others.
- Be kind to your group members and treat them with respect. Try to listen to them and support their interests.
Step 5. Showcase your achievements
If you have an impressive diploma or awards to show off, and you're trying to look intimidating, don't be shy about decorating your office; display your awards, diplomas and certifications. Showing off your achievements will make you look more intimidating to anyone who walks into your office.
To increase your level of intimidation, you can briefly mention your accomplishments in a conversation whenever possible
Step 6. Be mysterious
Sometimes silence speaks louder than words. Try to keep a little distance from people, not talk so much and appear a little indifferent. If you can cultivate a mystery about yourself, people can be intimidated and curious about what you really are.
- Don't always say something. Watch people and appear to be listening intently, but keep an air of mystery.
- Always appear to be busy with something (like reading a book or fiddling with your tablet/notebook), but don't let people know what you're doing unless they ask.
- Whenever someone asks what you are doing, give short, vague answers that suggest something important and mysterious. For example, if a coworker asks you what you're doing when you see him using his tablet, just say "I'm working on the new project. You probably don't know about it yet."