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11 Body Language Tricks To Make You Successful In Life

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11 Body Language Tricks To Make You Successful In Life

Getting your body language down is imperative in life. Whether you’re a businessman or a deli clerk, if you deal with people you have to know how to communicate effectively with them.

They say up to 93 percent of communication is non-verbal. Therefore, it’s essential that you understand what you’re saying beyond just the words you’re uttering.

Here are 11 tricks to better understand body language and communicate more proficiently.

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1. Use mirroring

Mirroring is doing what the other person you are speaking with is doing, albeit subtly. You don’t want to blatantly copy every little action they make, but you do want to delicately do, as they do. By mimicking their actions, whether it’s crossing your arms if they have their arms crossed, speaking soft if they speak soft, or keeping great eye contact if they keep it on you—you build a rapport with the individual. They feel more like you and therefore they feel more connected to you. It’s really effective in this sense. It can be used anyplace, but is especially helpful on dates, business meetings, and when meeting someone new.

2. Don’t make unnecessary adjustments

Oftentimes, nervous men will cross their arm over their body in an attempt to make an adjustment to say a cuff-link or a watch on that arm. They may be walking in front of a large crowd, or walking up to a beautiful woman, or perhaps getting on stage to make a speech, but by making this unnecessary adjustment on their arm, they’re displaying a great amount of insecurity. They do this as an unconscious attempt at covering their body with their arm. This action is all too common in guys and must be avoided. Stop fiddling around with something you don’t need to and you will not reveal your potential uncomfortable-side to the world. Instead, keep your arms on each side and confidently stroll into wherever you are going!

3. Do the power pose

The power pose is the extension of your arms up and over your head as high as possible. It creates a V-shape over your head. This pose actually has been studied and documented to increase testosterone, confidence, and leadership qualities in all who make it. Next time you’re feeling nervous or unsure of yourself before a big meeting, raise up those arms of yours and strike a power pose! You’ll be happy you did.

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4. Uncross those legs

When people cross their legs, they signal that they are really resistant and unreceptive. It can be great if you want to distance yourself from someone, but if you are negotiating a great deal on a new car you want to buy or if you’re trying to convince your boss for a new raise, displaying resistance is not a good idea! Instead, uncross your legs and be open with your posture. After all, we all love getting a great deal!

5. Laugh to really connect

What’s better than a smiling, happy face? A smiling, happy, and laughing face. Laughter signals the ultimate form of connection between two people and it speaks so many volumes of rapport and bonding. Laugh when you want to really connect with someone in a business sense or a personal sense. Laughing on a date or making your date laugh are incredible signs of attraction and affection. Telling a playful and pertinent joke during an interview can be a great ice-breaker and a great way to connect with your potential boss! Laughing, and getting someone else to laugh, can be extremely beneficial when it comes to communicating effectively!

6. Uncross your arms

Just as crossing your legs can be a bad body language position to take, so can crossing your arms. Crossing your arms signals defensiveness and skepticism. When you cross your arms you distance yourself from whoever you are speaking with. Instead, uncross your arms next time you are trying to connect with someone you’ve just met and you’ll notice it’s easier to build a rapport with them.

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7. Lift your chin up

When you lift your chin up, you display a great amount of pride, confidence, and dominance. If you’ve ever seen someone with their head down, you’ll understand the importance of lifting it up! By keeping it up you show you’re content with yourself and secure in who you are. Next time you want to display confidence, such as on-stage making a speech, telling a story to a group of friends, or interviewing for a desired position, keep your chin up!

8. Keep your palms up, too

When you are communicating with your hands, make sure you effectively incorporate the palms-up position. By doing this you subconsciously communicate trust. This shows that you are open and not hiding anything with whoever you are talking to. You don’t have to have your palms up the entire time, but regularly having them up is a good idea. This technique is incredibly effective in sales, marketing, or in trying to convince someone of something. Basically, any place where honesty or integrity may be in question.

9. Nod your head

When trying to build rapport with someone speaking to you, nod your head on occasion when the person says new things. This is a huge sign that you are in agreement with them and that you are listening and accepting what they are telling you. It creates a great bond in conversation when the listener is nodding their head and displaying that they are really listening. Next time a friend or spouse is telling you a story, nod your head occasionally and you’ll find them happier because they appreciate your listening skills.

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10. Refrain from tapping your foot

Look, you may be bored, and you may want to do something else—like hit up that new burger joint down the street—but tapping your foot while your manager is making a point about something important, is not going to make him happy! In fact, it’s going to annoy him because you’re body is telling him how bored he is making you. Instead, keep your foot still for another minute or two, and let him vent. Instead of annoying him, listen to him (or at least pretend to) and really connect with him. The next time he reviews his upcoming promotions, you might just be on the top of the list!

11. Gently touch the person on the arm

By gently touching someone you are speaking with on the arm, say when you are telling a story or making a light-hearted joke, you build the feeling of trust up. This is not to say it’s okay to go around touching people all the time, it’s not. However, this is referring more to a light touch on someone’s arm or a playful pat on the shoulder or some other non-intimate place. By doing this, you actually create a bond between you and the person, and not just a literal connection, but a mental one as well. Next time you are on a date with someone, try touching them lightly while in conversation and you’ll notice a better connection.

There you have it! 11 tricks to help you succeed in your personal and professional life! You may not be the best speaker or the best chatter, but if you can get your body language down, you can be the best communicator! And this is so much more important in the overall picture. After all, communication is what life is all about, and your body communicates almost everything!

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Featured photo credit: Quinn Dombrowski via flickr.com

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Justin Stenstrom

Nationally-Acclaimed Life Coach

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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