If you think of your body as a tool that you use to communicate, then it’s important to know what message you’re conveying with your body. The reality is, much of our communication goes on without us even realizing it-and the majority of those messages are conveyed through nonverbal methods.
It can be used to communicate a lot, including our thoughts and feelings-even when we don’t say anything at all. In order to get the most out of it, it’s important to understand what exactly you’re communicating-and how others might interpret your body language.
Here are several easy tips for maximizing your potential with body language!
Make Eye Contact
Eye contact is one of the most important aspects of body language, as it can be used to convey a variety of messages. When making eye contact, you’re indicating that you’re interested in what the other person is saying, and you’re also conveying trustworthiness and honesty. However, it’s important to also understand that too much eye contact can be seen as aggressive or overbearing.
Keep an Open Posture
One of the main components of body language is posture and gestures, and how it influences what others think of you. If your posture is closed off and you’re hunched over, people might see you as uninterested or even fearful. On the other hand, open postures-with your shoulders back and chest puffed out-can convey dominance, confidence, and appear alert. It may seem simple but it really does work!
Mimic Others’ Body Language
To determine someone else’s trustworthiness, we tend to mimic their movements, such as gesturing with our hands or tilting our head to the side. When we mimic someone else’s body language, it sends the message that we’re on the same page as them and that we trust them. Additionally, it can help build rapport-so feel free to start mirroring the person you’re talking to!
Avoid Crossing Your Arms Against Your Body
Crossing your arms against your body is a defensive gesture, one that can make the person across from you feel as if they’re being shut out or opposed during a conversation. Additionally, it can be seen as a sign of resistance, unwillingness to cooperate, or unapproachable. If you find yourself crossing your arms often, try to consciously uncross them and keep your hands at your sides instead.
Use Gestures to Add emphasis
Gestures can be a powerful way of adding emphasis to what you’re saying-and they can also help you be more memorable. If you’re in a meeting or giving a presentation, feel free to use hand gestures to emphasize different points. By doing so, you’ll be able to convey your message much better!
Use Touching as a Sign of Trust
Touching can be used as a sign of trust and bonding between two people-but it’s actually reserved for close friends or family members. In general, we tend to avoid touching others if we don’t have an emotional connection with them. For example, by placing your hand on someone else’s shoulder during a conversation you’re showing that you see them as a friend or ally.
Be Aware of Unconscious Gestures
Even if you’re not aware of it, your body may be sending subconscious signals to the person you’re talking to. For example, by crossing your legs, uncrossing them, crossing your arm, or fidgeting too much, you may be sending the message that you’re not interested in what the other person is saying. Be aware of your own body language so you can avoid sending this kind of unintentional message to others!
Smile to Show Approval or Interest
A smile is one of the easiest ways to make a good impression and to show that you’re interested in someone or what they’re saying. Not only does it make you look friendly and approachable, but it also makes you appear more confident. It’s a nonverbal cue that tells the other person that you’re happy to be in their company and that you’re paying attention. So next time you’re having a conversation, try to smile as often as possible!
Keep Your Distance From Others If You Want Them to Feel Comfortable
People who are uncomfortable with others come across as emotionally distant, while people who are comfortable may seem emotionally close or intimate. If you want the other person to feel comfortable around you, give them space when they’re talking or standing next to you! Otherwise, they might get defensive if think that you’re crowding them.
Use Your Voice to Your Advantage
Your voice is another powerful tool when it comes to body language. By modulating your voice-speaking softly, loudly, slowly, or quickly-you can convey a variety of messages. For example, speaking slowly can indicate that you’re interested in what the other person is saying, while speaking quickly might convey that you’re feeling impatient.
Be Aware of Your Hands
Your hands can convey a wealth of information about you-so it’s important to be aware of what they’re saying! For example, by placing your hand on your chin or tapping your fingers, you can convey that you’re interested, curious, or impatient. On the other hand, if you’re constantly wringing your hands together or pointing with them, it may indicate that you feel anxious or distressed.
Avoid Having Too Many Hand Gestures at Once
When you have too many hand gestures going on at once, it can be difficult for people to follow what you’re saying. Additionally, it can make you look nervous or agitated. Try to limit yourself to 2-3 hand gestures at a time to make sure your message is clear.
Pay Attention to Your Facial Expressions
Your facial expressions can also be a powerful tool for communication. By smiling, frowning, or appearing neutral, you can send a variety of messages to the person you’re talking to. For example, if you’re feeling frustrated but don’t want to outwardly show it, you can furrow your brow and keep your mouth in a straight line. This will let the other person know that you’re not happy without making them feel defensive.
Avoid Touching Your Face
Touching your face or putting your hands in your pockets are both examples of nervous gestures. While they might seem like small actions-and ones that don’t impact how people perceive you-they actually indicate that you’re uncomfortable or anxious about something. If you tend to do these things often, try to keep your hands by your side instead!
Lean In When You’re Interested
Remember when we said that by crossing your legs, uncrossing them, or fidgeting you were showing the other person that you weren’t interested in what they had to say? Well, it’s also possible to show that you’re interested by doing the opposite! Leaning forward with your elbows on your knees shows that you’re engaged and want to learn more.
Lean Back When You’re Disinterested
On the other hand, leaning back when someone else is speaking sends the message that you don’t care about what they have to say, so it’s better to stay still instead. To appear more engaged, pay attention to your posture-sitting up straight shows that you’re interested!
Keep Your Fingers Loose for a Relaxed Appeal
Finger pointing can be seen as aggressive, so keep them loose and relaxed if you want to avoid giving off this kind of impression. This way your hands will be open and you’ll appear more confident.
Keep Movement to a Minimum
When someone seems agitated or fidgety, it’s because they’re nervous and uncomfortable about something! If you want people to take you seriously and trust the information that you give them, try to minimize movement as much as possible. This will signal that you’re calm and collected, which they’ll appreciate.
Avoid Slumping or Shuffling
On the opposite end of sitting still is slouching in your chair or shuffling from side to side! If your body language isn’t sending the message that you’re confident and interested in what the other person has to say, then it can have a negative impact on how others perceive you.
Sit Up Straight and Keep Your Chin High
When you sit up straight, you’re using your body language to express that you’re open and approachable! To improve confidence even more, try raising your chin just a little bit so that you look like an authority figure. This will put the other person at ease and encourage them to share information with you.
Maintain Eye Contact But Don’t Stare
Maintaining eye contact is a good way to show that you’re paying attention and engaged with the other person, but staring can come off as a little intense. If they’re speaking, look at their eyes for a few seconds and then break away to give yourself a rest. To hold someone’s gaze without making them uncomfortable, try looking at their eyebrows instead of their eyes-they won’t even notice!
Avoid Shaking Your Head Back and Forth
Shaking your head back and forth while another person is talking can be seen as disrespectful or dismissive. To show that you understand or agree with what they’re saying, nod slightly so that your chin moves almost imperceptibly up and down instead of side to side.
Only Nod If the Other Person Stops Speaking
If someone is speaking and you want to show that you’re listening, nodding your head makes sense! Just remember that if they keep talking after that, it’s weird if you continue too-so only nod when they stop speaking. That way it won’t seem like you’re interrupting them!
Use Your Hands to Help Illustrate Your Points
If you want to add emphasis to what you’re saying, use your hands! This is especially helpful when you’re trying to get a point across that might be difficult to explain. Just make sure that your hands are expressive and don’t flap around like a fish out of water-that’ll just make you look more nervous!
Don’t Forget to Breathe!
Last but not least, don’t forget to breathe! You might have heard that you should take deep breaths when you’re nervous or upset, and there’s a reason for it-it helps calm you down. Even if you feel like nothing can soothe your frazzled nerves at the moment, taking some slow breaths will ensure that your body language matches what you want to say instead of betraying how you really feel!
And that’s it for this article! These 25 tips are a great way to get started with using body language to communicate better! By keeping these things in mind, you’ll be able to make a good impression and come across as more confident and engaged. Have fun using these tips in your everyday life-you’ll be surprised at how much easier communication becomes!