Most of us are conscious of the words we say. So why do we often send messages we didn’t mean to? Our body language can influence how confident, trustworthy, and likeable we seem to the world.
Did you know that over half of what we communicate is nonverbal?
Here are 20 things you can do to make sure you are sending the right message:
1. Mirror people’s movements.
2. Smile often. Think of something happy so it will feel genuine, rather than forced.
3. Step closer to someone who wants to feel close to you.
4. Step back from someone who indicates they need space.
5. Mirror posture in a subtle way.
6. Don’t cross your arms over your chest. This makes you seem closed off or unhappy.
7. Maintain eye contact for at least three seconds. Smile warmly while you do so.
8. Be conscious of having good posture. Avoid slouching.
9. Don’t lean on things.
10. Point your shoes toward the person you are speaking with.
11. Don’t fake a laugh. If someone makes a joke and laughter doesn’t come naturally, trust that a smile will suffice.
12. Maintain eye contact for the duration of a handshake.
13. Shake hands with light but firm pressure. Use the same force as you would to lift the handle of a pan.
14. Smile when you enter a room.
15. Take your time when greeting people. Don’t rush on to the next person.
16. Stand with your feet hip width apart.
17. Try to keep tension in your core when you walk, sit, or stand. This will help you to maintain graceful movements and good posture.
18. Relax, but don’t slouch. Imagine a string is pulling the top of your head.
19. Resist the urge to push back your shoulders and puff out your chest.
20. If you are nervous, remind yourself of something impressive you have done. Keep it to yourself. This will help you to project confidence.
“Think of good posture as your body’s projection of a positive message to those you meet,” wrote Cindy Ann Peterson. Consider the message you are sending about yourself. Is it accurate? Could it be improved? Use the tips above, and see if people react to you differently.