Read the text and make the list of tips you think you should work on first.
Improving your body language can make a big difference in your people skills, attractiveness and general mood.
There is no specific advice on how to use your body language. What you do might be interpreted in several ways, depending on the setting and who you are talking to. Youíll probably want to use your body language differently when talking to your boss compared to when you talk to a girl/guy youíre interested in. These are some common interpretations of body language and often more effective ways to communicate with your body.
First, to change your body language you must be aware of your body language. Notice how you sit, how you stand, how you use your hands and legs, what you do while talking to someone.
You might want to practice in front of a mirror. Yeah, it might seem silly but no one is watching you. This will give you good feedback on how you look to other people and give you an opportunity to practise a bit before going out into the world.
Another tip is to close your eyes and visualize how you would stand and sit to feel confident, open and relaxed or whatever you want to communicate. See yourself move like that version of yourself. Then try it out.
You might also want to observe friends, role models, movie stars or other people you think have good body language. Observe what they do and you donít. Take bits and pieces you like from different people. Try using what you can learn from them.
Some of these tips might seem like you are faking something. But fake it till you make it is a useful way to learn something new. And remember, feelings work backwards too. If you smile a bit more you will feel happier. If you sit up straight you will feel more energetic and in control. If you slow down your movements youíll feel calmer.
Just play around a bit, practice and monitor yourself to find a comfortable balance.
1. Donít cross your arms or legs ĖYou have probably already heard you shouldnít cross your arms as it might make you seem defensive or guarded. This goes for your legs too. Keep your arms and legs open.
2. Have eye contact, but donít stare Ė If there are several people you are talking to, give them all some eye contact to create a better connection and see if they are listening. Keeping too much eye-contact might creep people out. Giving no eye-contact might make you seem insecure. If you are not used to keeping eye-contact it might feel a little hard or scary in the beginning but keep working on it and youíll get used to it.
3. Donít be afraid to take up some space Ė Taking up space by, for example, sitting or standing with your legs apart a bit signals self-confidence and that you are comfortable in your own skin.
4. Relax your shoulders Ė When you feel tense itís easily winds up as tension in your shoulders. They might move up and forward a bit. Try to relax. Try to loosen up by shaking the shoulders a bit and move them back slightly.
5. Nod when they are talking Ė nod once in a while to signal that you are listening. But donít overdo it.
6. Donít slouch, sit up straight Ė but in a relaxed way, not in a too tense manner.
7. Lean, but not too much ĖIf you want to show that you are interested in what someone is saying, lean toward the person talking. If you want to show that youíre confident in yourself and relaxed lean back a bit.
8. Smile and laugh Ė donít take yourself too seriously. Relax a bit, smile and laugh when someone says something funny. People will be a lot more inclined to listen to you if you seem to be a positive person. But donít be the first to laugh at your own jokes, it makes you seem nervous and needy. Smile when you are introduced to someone but donít keep a smile plastered on your face, youíll seem insincere.
9. Donít touch your face Ė it might make you seem nervous and can be distracting for the listeners or the people in the conversation.
10. Keep your head up - Donít keep your eyes on the ground, it might make you seem insecure and a bit lost. Keep your head up straight and your eyes towards the horizon.
11. Slow down a bit Ė this goes for many things. Walking slower not only makes you seem more calm and confident, it will also make you feel less stressed. If someone addresses you, donít snap youíre neck in their direction, turn it a bit more slowly instead.
12. Donít fidget Ė try to avoid, phase out or transform fidgety movement and nervous ticks such as shaking your leg or tapping your fingers against the table rapidly. Youíll seem nervous and fidgeting can be a distracting when you try to get something across. Try to relax, slow down and focus your movements.
13. Use your hands more confidently Ė instead of fidgeting with your hands and scratching your face use them to communicate what you are trying to say. Use your hands to describe something or to add weight to a point you are trying to make. But donít use them too much or it might become distracting. And donít let your hands flail around, use them with some control.
14. Lower your drink Ė donít hold your drink in front of your chest. In fact, donít hold anything in front of your heart as it will make you seem guarded and distant.
15. Realize where you spine ends Ė many people might sit or stand with a straight back in a good posture. Your spine ends in the back of your head. Keep you whole spine straight and aligned for better posture.
16. Donít stand too close Ė one of the things is that everybody gets weirded out by a close-talker. Let people have their personal space, donít invade it.
17. Mirror - often when you get along with a person, when the two of you get a good connection, you will start to mirror each other unconsciously. That means that you mirror the other personís body language a bit. To make the connection better you can try a bit of proactive mirroring. If he leans forward, you might lean forward. If she holds her hands on her thighs, you might do the same. But donít react instantly and donít mirror every change in body language. Then weirdness will ensue.
18. Keep a good attitude Ė last but not least, keep a positive, open and relaxed attitude. How you feel will come through in your body language and can make a major difference. You can change your body language but as all new habits it takes a while. Especially things like keeping your head up might take time to correct if you have spent thousands of days looking at your feet. And if you try and change too many things at once it might become confusing and feel overwhelming.
Take a couple of these body language bits to work on every day for three to four weeks. By then they should have developed into new habits and something youíll do without even thinking about it. If not, keep on until it sticks. Then take another couple of things youíd like to change and work on them.
Psychologist Dr. David Lewis comments: ďBody language is important in all walks of life, but perhaps nowhere more so than in business when gaining a personís confidence quickly is critical. If you follow these tips, you will seriously increase your chances of success.Ē