Body Language: Turn Your Body Language Into An Asset

Body Language

Body language reflects how you feel. Interestingly, it works both ways. Change your body language and you’ll change how you feel.

Look And Feel Confident

Our body language doesn’t just tell others how we feel, it communicates it to our own mind.

So… if you want to feel confident, you need to look confident.

Of course, I hear you say, it’s not that simple.

But, you’d be surprised to know that hodling yourself like a confident person for just 2 minutes will increase your testoterone levels (increasing your confidence) and decrease cortisol (associated with stress).

Fine, but what do confident people do? How do they hold themselves?
Well… confident people take space.

  • They don’t cross their arms and legs in garded positions.
  • They stand tall or sit tall.
  • Their elbows are detached from their bodies, hands on hips, on tables, on the back of a chair or behind their head (not in pockets which could mean you’re hiding something).
  • Men, in a primal way, expose their genitals showing they’re not scared (sounds silly but we do come from apes after all).

Some examples…
              body language power pose 2body language power pose 3body language confidence pose

Hold the Superman pose for 2 minutes to boost your confidence (it will increase your testoterone levels and decrease your stress levels).
Practice it in your office before an important meeting or prepare at home.
In front of people, play it cool and confident like Will Smith
(no need to look like Superman in public).

Feel Positive

By now you’ve probably guessed it. If you want to feel positive, you need to look positive.

  • Smile with your mouth and your eyes.
  • Lift your head (as if you were pulled by a hair at the top of your head)
  • Make sure your shoulders are down and relaxed.

Now, holding this pose, try to have a negative thought and you’ll find it very difficult if not impossible.

It’s also been found that frowning reinforces negative feelings (anxiety, fear, anger, pain). If you’re experiencing a painful experience (dentist pain for instance) and stop yourself from frowning or even manage a smile, you’ll feel less pain.

2 photos to inspire you…

body language positive 1body language positive 2

When you’re experiencing negative feelings, don’t frown (which would increase your stress levels) but instead force yourself to smile with your mouth and your eyes (like Jackie Chan or Nelson Mandela) to feel an instant positive boost

Break Down Defensiveness

We’ve seen a few benefits on working on your own body language. But it’s also very useful to be able to read others’ body language so you can respond to it in the best possible way.

One of the easiest body language to read is Defensiveness.
Body Language - Defensiveness

  • Standing arms crossed, feet pointing toward the exit door (feet unconsciously tell a lot about where you want to go…), body turned away
  • Sitting arms crossed, often legs crossed too
  • Little eye contact
  • Little facial expression

The crossing of arms and legs show that people aren’t open to whatever you’re telling them and you’re most probably wasting your time.

If you want people to consider what you have to say, you need to get them to uncross.

Don’t ask them bluntly to uncross. Instead, ask them to fill in a quiz, take notes (they’ll have to uncross their arms) or ask them to come round to show them something (they’ll have to physically move and uncross their legs). Or simply offer them tea and they’ll have to uncross their arms (although they might still hold their cup chest high to create a barrier).

If you want defensive people to consider what you have to say,
you need to get them to uncross their arms and legs.
Ask them to take notes, take a break,…
anything that will make them move and uncross.
Once they’re physically more open, they will be mentally more open too.

Build Rapport

Creating a good first impression and developping good relationships with your colleagues, clients, boss are very useful skills to possess.
Body language can give you a good head start in this area.

Start with a good handshake, a smile, eye contact, a subject of conversation which relaxes them.

Ideally you want them to have an open attitude: no arms or legs crossed, feet pointing towards you, right foot forward (showing their interest in what you’re saying).

To go further and create rapport, start then to mirror the other person’s body language (without making it comically obvious).
Stand in a similar way, make similar hands and arms movements, use the same tone and speed of speech. You can also match their emotional state.
They will feel like they have your attention, that you understand them. They will be more relaxed and will be drawn to you.
After a while, you’ll even notice that they then start copying/mirroring your own body language.

Body Language - Rapport

To show agreement and create rapport, mirror the other person’s body language.

Final Thoughts

Body language and what it means can vary from one person to another and cultural differences will definitely impact it. Sometimes it will take several clues to decipher it with certainty (face, body, voice).
The important point I wanted to make here is that you need to be aware of it. Pay attention to your own body language, to others’. Little by little, when you start knowing people and yourself, you’ll notice definite clues in their body language (and yours) and you’ll be able to react to them appropriately in order to achieve your objectives.
It will improve your emotional intelligence and overall success.


Body Language: Turn Your Body Language Into An Asset — 2 Comments

  1. great article, i have always been a supporter of body language analysis and became even more interested in it since i discovered the work of joe navarro former fbi profiler, i use body language in both personnal and profesionnal situation to check if my communication is effective or if i need to change it to get my message across.

    • Hello Sofia, Thanks for your comment and the reference you make to Joe Navarro. I’ve just bought his book ‘Louder than Words’. It’s easy to read, very interesting and full of practical tips. Definitely one to recommend. Thanks for that. Isabelle

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