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Body language tips

Body language – its not what you say it’s how you say it. Our body language shapes how others see us, our chances of success and even how we see ourselves. The ability to read body language and in turn become more aware of our own –  can gives us a huge advantage when it matters most. It can be the trick that closes the deal, gets you the job or bring you valuable clarity to social interactions. Here is a list of the basics to get you started.

*word of warning – as with any system of evidence, ‘clusters’ of body language signals provide a much more reliable indication of meaning rather than one or two signals in isolation. You are generally advised to avoid interpreting single signals.

Body language – Head

Janine Driver, body language expert in her article 6 body language secrets very
successful people know
tells us

  • Do hold your chin – it’s a typical thinking pose that instills confidence into your audience.
  • Don’t share valuable information with your head titled – it communicates that you are not confident with what you are saying.
  • Don’t wrinkle your nose – it communicates discontentment with the individual you are communicating with and encourages them to be closed.

Body language – Eyes

Craig, David in his 2011 publication Lie Catcher: Become a Human Lie Detector in under 60 Minutes, tells us “your eyes are the window to your soul”.

  • Generally looking to the left = remembering or recalling something, as the individual is tapping into the memory part of their brain.
  • Generally looking to the right = imagining or fabricating something, as the individual is tapping into their imagination.
  • Looking down to the left = someone talking to themselves.
  • Looking down to the right = an individual imagining or feeling a sensory memory i.e cycling down a hill.
  • Dilated pupils – our pupils dilate when we are seeing something stimulating/attractive or we are in low light. In contrast our pupils tend to restrict when we see something negative.
  • *word of warning – above can be reversed for left handed people.

Body language – Mouth

Leil Lowndes in her book “how to talk to anyone”, suggests

  • Don’t flash an immediate smile when you meet someone as this shows lack of authenticity, instead make the person feel special – take a second to absorb the other persons face and then let a big “responsive smile flood over your face”.
  • Janine Driver suggests to not pull in your lips and hide them in your mouth as it communicates that you are holding back from your audience.

Body language – Torso/lower body

Janine Driver suggests;

  • Don’t cross your arms when you first meet people as this communicates insecurity and even hostility.
  • Do cross your arms if you are with friends – it can help your problem solving abilities as the action uses both sides of your body which consequently engages both sides of your brain; the logical left and the creative right.

Leil Lowndes suggests

  • When you first meet someone turn your whole body towards them and give them your undivided attention similar to how you would treat a baby – she calls this the “big baby pivot”.

Social phycologist Amy Cuddy tells us

  • Do sit up straight – no slouching.
  • Don’t cross your legs or ankles – these positions not only communicate lack of confidence but they also make us feel less powerful by affecting the hormone balance in our brain – read more about this here.

This article used the helpful information published by Vanessa Van Edwards for Science of people and Alan Chapman on body language for Businessballs.com.

Image curtesy Kennedy Garret on flickr called avoid yourself the image has not been amended.

Written byon behalf of PCA Law