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5 Power Signals You Can Send Through Body Language on a First Date or Casual Encounter

5 Power Signals You Can Send Through Body Language on a First Date or Casual Encounter

Tinder has taught us to swipe right or left. Dating has become so technological and impersonal that actually communicating in-person is becoming a lost art form. Whether you’re meeting a friend for coffee, or attempting to seduce someone that you find irresistible, or going out on a date for the first time, body language is critical to communicating in an impactful way.

Let’s take a closer look at five time-tested power signals you can send using body language.

1. Animated People Score Better in Speed Dating Surveys

An article discussing the power of proper posture when dating, written by Erika Ettin, highlights the findings of a study centered around more than 144 hours of video-recorded speed dates involving couples interacting together for the first time. One of the key areas researchers studied was how hand and arm movements affected perception. Communicating in a physically active way significantly improved the odds that a man or woman would be asked out on a second date.

Should you try and impersonate one of those inflatable tube people outside of shops whenever they have a sale? No! But, simple gestures where hand and arm movement accompany verbal communication, shows engagement and energy.

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2. Prepare for a Night on the Town with Open, Power Postures

In the privacy of your home, or even a bathroom stall, it’s entirely possible to boost your self-confidence with open, expansive physical posturing. Confidence is sexy, and anything you can do to project a sense of self-worth is worth trying.

Amy Cuddy, a Social Psychologist, recently presented a Ted Talk where she discussed her own challenges with self-confidence. And, more importantly, she had found ways to universally improve self-confidence through body-language. It turns out that the chicken or the egg debate isn’t the only place where actions and reactions are hard to define.

Opening your body up, stretching out your arms and expanding the space you occupy can measurably boost self-confidence. Confident people have body language that is open, expansive and unafraid. If you don’t feel confident, force your body language to become more open, imitating a confident person. Your brain will react and take the queue from your physical state.

If you’re nervous about trying to awkwardly open up your body language in public, practice in private. The sense of confidence will continue for some time after you try the power poses that Cuddy discusses in her Ted Talk.

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3. Turn Towards the Person You’re Interested In

The heart wants what the heart wants, and subconsciously our heart points us in the direction of the things we’re interested in. If you’re genuinely interested in the person you’re meeting with, your body needs to be centered towards them. Turning away or at an angle while you talk is a sign that you’re losing interest. Engage and center around the other person, and they’ll be encouraged to do the same.

If the other person seems guarded or involuntarily turning away, it’s a sign that things aren’t going well. Don’t mistakenly send across that you’d rather be elsewhere.

4. Tilt Your Head

Ever so subtly tilting your head as you engage in conversation is an excellent strategy for signaling that you’re invested in the conversation. If the other person is sharing something with you that you find interesting, signal your heightened level of attention by casually leaning your head to the side. Then, as the conversation picks up tempo in another direction, slowly move back to a centered position.

Just like moving your arms, actively participating in the conversation with subtle body cues improves the sense of connection the other person feels with you. The way your body flows with the conversation is kind of like a dance that starts out with a handshake and helps propel the conversation forward with every twist and turn.

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But, it’s important that body language is executed in moderation. You don’t was to appear fidgety, as that signals a lack of interest, or a potential psychological disorder.

5. Establish Eye-Contact and Casual Physical Contact

Okay, this one shouldn’t be too surprising. Looking someone in the eyes is both a sign of respect and confidence.

It was William Shakespeare who once wrote, “The eyes are the window to the soul.”

If you want to size someone up quickly, look at them in the eyes while speaking with them. The sub-conscious communication that’s made will tell you more than words will ever reveal.

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Your goal should be to find a comfortable balance between staring and gazing away into the distance. Breaking eye contact for a moment here and there helps give you a sense of your surroundings and allows for a more relaxed feeling, while still showing that you’re paying full attention.

As the conversation progresses, finding an excuse to make physical contact is a great way to build a sense of trust and connection. Whether it’s a light hug after meeting for the first time, or placing a hand halfway across the table, inviting the other person to hold yours, physical contact symbolizes a breaking of barriers; allowing two individuals to share a more intimate, real moment.

It’s said that 93% of communication is nonverbal. Body language allows for our words to have greater context. Understanding how our body language is being perceived helps us to avoid miscommunication and improve the quality of conversation. It’s my hope that you’ll use the suggestions we’ve discussed to better enjoy your meetings with the people you care about.

Featured photo credit: Josh.greentree/Flickr via flickr.com

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Ahmed Raza

CEO of Samurais.co

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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