It is conveyed instantaneously by a thousand small things. The way you stand, the way you walk, how much space you take up in the room, and everything else is instantly and constantly assessed by everyone around you. Men, women, children, adults, even dogs pick up where your social standing is based on your body language.
When we do dating/lifestyle coaching, this is one of the first things we change in our students. I'm a student of body language and closely study "naturals" whenever I see them to break down EXACTLY what they are doing that makes me classify them that way without knowing them.
Lately, I've been noticing a subtle, but consistent trend when it comes to eye contact. I call it the "persistent staredown". This is where you make eye contact with someone, and continue it even when they turn their head (whoever breaks eye contact first is the submissive. Between men, this indicates higher status. Between a man and a woman, it indicates her submitting to you. This is usually the first step in attraction. *Note: Do this to the wrong guy and you might find yourself in a fist fight.)
Here, we see Gerard Butler doing a series of dominant eye contact, and then keeping it focused even after she turns her head. She can still feel the stare, which is exciting and attractive.
Dominant Eye Contact:
Persistant Stare Down:
Something I find interesting is that alpha body language hasn't changed much in a long, long time. Notice anything similar?
Old School Alphas:
Old School Staredown: