Some of us do not naturally possess the personality or body language that is required for making a good impression on others. Body language is the first thing that people notice about you, so do yourself (and those around you) a favor and learn what your body says about you. This can help you in every aspect of your life—from friendships to important job interviews—so check out these tips.
Most people do not realize that their “neutral” face is more of a scowl, which is an obvious turn-off. You do not need to be beaming from ear to ear 24/7; however, it is a good idea to remind yourself to turn up the corners of your mouth a bit.
You may also be interested in 11 Facts About Smiling.
2. Uncross your arms.
Having your arms crossed signals that you want to be left alone or that you are upset. Uncrossing your arms will signal to others (and yourself) that you are at ease in the situation. Even though I have known this trick for years, I still catch myself crossing my arms. It is natural habit, but necessary to break if you are trying to make a positive impression on those around you.
3. Use proper eye contact.
Try to maintain a balance between staring into a person’s soul and appearing to not pay attention.
4. Sit or stand up straight.
Hunching over is another signal to others that you are protecting yourself. You may feel uncomfortable in the situation, but by using proper posture you will appear (and feel) more confident.
5. Relax your shoulders.
There is a balance with the shoulders: shoulders too high will make you appear nervous, but slumped shoulders give off a sad or self-conscious vibe. Try to work somewhere in the middle, your shoulders falling to a natural and comfortable height.
6. Straighten your entire spine—including your neck.
Even if your back is straight, you can blow others’ perception by craning your neck forward. Unless you are looking at someone who is shorter than you, your entire spine should be straight. Try to remind yourself to keep your “chin up” and your neck will straighten out in a positively confident manner.
7. Claim your space.
Those with a small frame naturally take up less space and appear timid. A way to counter this is to imagine that you are claiming your space on the floor. Stand with feet apart; not together. Place one hand (or both) on the hip for visual trickery, making you appear to take up more space than you actually do. This will show others that although you are small, you are self-assured.
8. Mirror the person with whom you are speaking.
People like to see their body language mirrored since it makes them feel as though the other person can empathize or has similar ideas.
9. Do not stare at the floor.
Unless you are checking out the new carpeting or someone’s sparkly shoes, your eyes should be close to others’ eye level.
10. Slow down your speech.
I can attest to the fact that when I am nervous, I start talking like someone hit the fast forward button on my mouth. This is one way people can see right through to how nervous you really are.
11. Take a deep breath.
This is one surefire way to calm your nerves and make your whole person more relaxed.
12. Do not touch your neck or face.
This is a signal to others that you are protecting yourself or are nervous.
13. Nod when someone is talking to you.
This is a positive form of body language that will let others know you are listening and engaged in the conversation. It can also give them a boost of confidence, and who doesn’t like to be around someone who makes us feel good?
14. Point your feet.
No, not like a ballerina. Point your feet in the direction of the person with whom you are speaking.
15. Lower your voice.
Studies show that those with deeper voices are taken more seriously.
16. Steeple your hands. Or don’t.
This is something that I found to be somewhat controversial. The hand steeple is where you touch all of your fingers together to form a sort of “steeple.” This action is taught by some body language coaches in order to appear more confident or commanding, but others find this to be unnatural. What do you think? It should also be noted that you need to have proper posture when “steepling” so you do not look like Mr. Burns from The Simpsons.
17. Maintain proper distance.
This one is in the gray area as well, since some are more comfortable with close talkers, but the main point is to pay attention to those around you. Do they have to lean in to hear you? Move closer. Are people backing away from you? For heaven’s sake, do not keep moving closer as they inch away!
Body language is the biggest way that others perceive you. Overall, you should appear relaxed, confident and engaging in order to attract the positive attention you want. Try some of these out today!