You can use body language to get your message across more powerfully in any situation, from an interview to a first date.
Learn to decipher and determine which messages you would like to send and receive.
Open or Closed Case?
A person with open body language is usually someone trusting, confident and outgoing, whereas a person with closed body language is usually introverted, shy and even wanting to hide something. We all tend to fluctuate between the two depending on our mood and circumstance. If you learn to project open body language you can empower yourself in any situation, but if you are closed, you may be blocking your own life force.
How to be open:
Posture, eye contact, facial expression and gestures speak louder than words. Being aware of your body language allows you to send a consistent message. Smiling, effective eye contact, open gestures and good posture can increase your level of self-confidence.
- Smile: Your smile is one of the strongest tools you have in meeting new people so make a conscious effort to flash your pearly whites. You’ll appear warm, open, friendly, and confident. When you’re locked in your own thoughts, you may purse your lips and sometimes twist them to the side. Be aware of when you’re doing this because it might give other people the wrong impression that you’re not too pleased with them.
- Eye contact: A direct stare implies intensity, aggression or fear. Making very little eye contact can convey shyness, submissiveness or downright rudeness. A gentle and light gaze says that you’re interested, secure and at ease.
- Head: Want to feel confident and self-assured? Keep your head level both horizontally and vertically. You can also use this straight head position when you want to be authoritative and taken seriously. Conversely, when you want to be friendly and receptive, tilt your head just a little to one side.
- Hands: Open gestures make you appear open and honest. Pointing your finger, or moving your hands closer together draws emphasis to what you are saying. Used in moderation, hand gestures can make you seem enthusiastic and committed to your topic. Making too many gestures can make you appear nervous and suggest a lack of control.
- Arms: Unless you’re really cheesed off, try not to cross your arms in front of others. It sends the signal that you aren’t interested.
- Legs: Your legs tend to move around a lot more than normal when you’re nervous, stressed or being deceptive. So it’s best to keep them as still as possible in most situations, especially at interviews or work meetings.
- Posture: The way you hold yourself conveys your level of self-confidence. Turning your body towards someone shows attentiveness, while turning away or leaning back shows a lack of interest.
- Proximity: Distance from others is crucial for giving off the right signals. Standing too close and invading personal body space will mark you as “pushy”; stand too far away and others will see you as “stand-offish”. Heighten your awareness by observing the space between each person when entering a group situation or, if in doubt, no closer than half a metre and no further away than a metre will do.
Get That Job
When trying to impress a prospective employer, keeping your body language open and consistent is essential for landing the gig. Seal the deal with the perfect handshake. Stand steady with your back straight and about half a metre between your feet. Look your potential employer in the eye and extend your hand bent at elbow but don’t overextend. Have a firm grip and don’t be in a hurry to let go, simply shake their hand up and down, ease up and take a better grip. Then smile and let their hand go.
Palm Up or Down?
- A palm offered slightly up and outward is seen as open and friendly. Palm-down gestures are generally seen as dominant and possibly aggressive, especially when there is no movement or bending between the wrist and the forearm.
Get The Guy
We all get nervous when we’re talking with someone we’re interested in, but there are ways of keeping that foot out of your mouth. Remember the following:
- Don’t fidget and keep your hands out of your pockets.
- Never look at the floor when you walk, look above the horizon.
- Expose your chest – I’m not necessary telling you to flash your assets just have an open stance.
- Keep your shoulders up (in a relaxed way).
- When you walk, walk confidently and slowly.
- Always lean out – people around you will start to lean in to hear you.
- Touch people when you talk with them (non-sexually). It’s very reassuring and, later, the object of your romantic interest will be used to your touch. As a result, it will be easier to move into second or even third gear!
- All your body language movements should ideally be at a consistent pace. This means if you walk slowly and with confidence, but then open your mouth and talk as fast as a race caller, you’ll be sending mixed messages. Slow and steady wins this particular race.
Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire!
- Catch out that cheating boyfriend with these hot tips! Look for:
- A change in the pitch of his voice or in the speed of his speech
- A sudden increase in the number of times he uses “ums” and “ahs”
- A change in eye contact. If suddenly, he’s staring at you or looking away, beware!
- A turning his body away from you, even if it’s just slightly
- A hands starting to cover parts of his face, especially his mouth
- A nervous leg movements and fidgeting
Also look for mixed signals. When he’s telling the truth, his words, face and body language should all be consistent, revealing that he’s calm and confident. But when he’s lying, something is usually inconsistent. For example, he may be smiling and telling you he loves you but his body is closed, or vice versa. Either way, be on your guard.
How do you use body language to communicate? Tell us in the comments below!