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What Your Body Language Says About You

What Your Body Language Says About You

 
Improving your communication skills
Your body language makes up for more than half of how you communicate. These tips ensure you're giving off good signals while communicating.
 
Article author: Ronnie Peterson
      Written by Ronnie Peterson
       (5-minute read)

You may be hanging out with friends, on a first date or in a high stakes job interview. Whatever the situation, did you know that your body language says more about your inner thoughts than you might think!




Imagine that you're feeling nervous and on edge. You might start tapping your pen or bouncing your foot anxiously. If you're speaking to someone you think is attractive, you might find yourself inadvertently twirling your hair between your fingers or leaning in and touching their arm. And both of these actions are going to communicate important meaning to those around you. The interviewer for the job position that you really have your heart set on is going to receive some pretty strong signals about your confidence.

They'll clearly see that you are very nervous, and they might start second guessing their decision to have you in for the interview in the first place.

No matter what you are saying out loud, your physicality might be betraying what you're really thinking to the other party. Body language can work for you – or against you.

Learning how your body language communicates emotions and messages is an important way to harness its potential to your best advantage – and win the upper hand in both professional and personal relationships.

And here are six body language tips that will transform the way you communicate in all aspects of your life.

Tip 1: Smile

A smile goes a long way!  A smile is truly the most important thing you can wear. A genuine smile will make you appear more attractive, trustworthy and friendly, and it can actually release stress-fighting endorphins into your body.

Although this could feel a bit strange, try practicing your smile in front of the mirror every morning before you leave the house. It won't just enhance your "smiling skills", it will help to lift your mood too! And it's always important to follow a good dental health routine to ensure a healthy and attractive smile.  Take a look at the tips suggested by Dr. Brian Witt, a leading dentist in Tampa FL as a great example of what we mean.



And remember this: a warm and genuine smile includes the eyes, not just the mouth, teeth and lips. In fact, if you don't smile with your eyes and simply bare your teeth, you can actually appear a bit threatening ... which isn't the message you want to send!

Tip 2: Look Engaged

Make sure you look fully engaged. When you're speaking to someone with your arms crossed or your legs angled away from them, you can appear disinterested or even hostile.

Your arms should be relaxed at your side or used for illustrating a point, and when sitting, your feet should be flat on the floor with knees bent at a right angle.

Tip 3: Good Personal Grooming

Never neglect personal grooming! Even by taking a quick glance at someone, you'll often get an impression of whether they're having a good or bad day just by the way they are groomed and dressed.

Are their clothes crumpled or mismatched? Do they have untidy hair that looks like it hasn't seen a comb in days? Are their fingernails well clipped?

All these things count towards someone's initial opinion of you; it always pays to remember the motto "dress for success."

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Tip 4: A Good Posture

A slumped posture suggests a sloppy person. While it may feel more comfortable in the moment, a slumped or hunched posture can send a huge message.

It will likely tell others that you're unkempt, lazy and maybe not taking the exchange too seriously. Your spine and neck should be upright (but not stiff) and your head pointed at the other party.

Tip 5: No Fidgeting!

Fidgeting is a big no-no! American workplace solutions giant Adecco USA surveyed more than 500 managers about interview etiquette and behavior and they found some interesting data about fidgeting.

A full one fifth of rejected candidates were dismissed outright because they were fidgeters! Managers believed that this signified a candidate who had a lack of confidence and seemed unprepared for their interview.

Bouncing your foot up and down, tapping a pen or generally just shifting around too much – all of these actions could be sending the message that you don't feel up to it...

Tip 6: Make Eye Contact

Eye contact is key. You've probably seen people who avoid eye contact.  It makes them seem insincere, ‘shifty' or even like they have something to hide.

At the other and of the spectrum, someone who practices too much eye contact can also seem strange!  Staring at someone makes them feel that you're aggressive ... or even, shall we say, a bit ‘creepy!'

But an appropriate level of eye contact always sends the signal that you're trustworthy, engaged and reliable.

How Good is Your Body Language?

Are you worried that your body language isn't communicating what you want it to say?
Do you think you could be missing out on opportunities because your body language isn't doing its job?
Do you have a big job interview coming up, or a date with someone you really like?
If any of these sound familiar, you really need to work on the silent messages that you're sending out!



While you might feel a bit strange or awkward at first, practicing of the above body language cues can help you get comfortable with projecting the right body language.
Whether you're looking to attract a new mate or get the upper hand in a bargaining session, if you don't practice your body language cues you might be at a disadvantage.

Let's briefly return to the example at the beginning of this article – you're in a job interview, and the constant tapping of your foot or a pen turns off the interviewer and you lose out on your dream job.
What could have happened if you'd followed some of the tips above and walked into the meeting with a welcoming, engaged posture, a confident smile and appropriate eye contact?
What would have they have thought of you if you hadn't fidgeted throughout the meeting? Things could have worked out very differently.

As with learning any language, working on the elements of body language will not only help you harness the power of non-verbal communication, it will give you a big boost of confidence.

Remember – knowledge is power. The more you know about body language, the more you'll be able to use it to your advantage. So remember what we've said here, and start seeing the benefits!

Want to Communicate More Effectively?


If you'd like to learn more about communication, why not take a look at how we can help?

Boost your communication skills with our online courses.
RRP from $89 – limited time offer just $12.99

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