How to Use Body Language to Your Advantage.
When you’re focussing really hard on what to say, and how you’re saying it, it’s very easy to ignore how you’re presenting yourself to your listener or group. Today we examine how to use body language to your advantage, and ensure you’re not leaving any tricks on the table.
Good Body Language – Pointers and Considerations
Body language accounts for roughly 90% of our interactions. That’s not conjecture…it’s a scientifically proven fact. So it is somewhat baffling that many people to do not give enough credence to the importance of how it is both conveyed and received. What we may think is a typically assertive move, for instance, could very easily be seen as aggressive, or a move that we perceive to be conciliatory could be seen as weak in certain situations. It’s no surprise, therefore, that many public facing jobs such as the role of a police officer or public speaker features training in this all important discipline; after all, assertiveness and appropriate body language can pacify a situation before it turns violent. For any alpha male that wants to be seen as someone with goals, focus and the know how to get ahead, a passable knowledge of body language is an absolute must.
It’s (Mainly!) All About You
Whilst it’s true that perception cannot be controlled by us, the fact is that effective use of posture, hand movements and facial expressions are down to ourselves if we are to be a success in our personal and professional lives. For instance, when we first walk into a room, the prime sign of an alpha male is one that stands tall, with a quiet confidence…bordering the line of assertiveness without being imposing or aggressive. If we stoop or slouch, it can imply a lack of confidence. Stand straight and tall, but avoid puffing the chest out. This quiet confidence will make people listen and see the strong standing person as a natural leader, with focus and conviction. Aggression can cost us trust, a valuable commodity in any setting.
Smile, But Make It Sincere
A sincere smile is crucial to conveying a message of positivity and trust. Seriousness is fine when needed, but in a light hearted, informal environment, and when making first impressions, a smile can make us appear human and approachable; perfect for a business environment where we don’t know each other’s boundaries. However, an insincere smile is quickly picked up on, so make it truthful and smile like you mean it.
Keep Hand Contact Measured
Over use of hand contact (for instance, on the shoulder or back) can be intimidating when boundaries haven’t been properly set. Shaking hands, a casual pat on the back and taking someone’s arm during the aforementioned handshake are assertive moves; however, they are only useful in a measured way. Overuse can be construed as ‘slimy’ and insincere.
Not only will the above pointers make for a more fulfilling interaction and build trust and co-operation, they have a secondary function. Standing up straight and raising the chin, along with smiling, both release endorphins and Serotonin, natural painkillers and happy hormones respectively. As well as being seen as sincere and focused leaders, anyone who makes an effort to show good nonverbal skills will find it makes them naturally happier people.
Jack Purdie @ImJackPurdie lives in Southampton and is on a slow but steady mission to try and find a way to share some of the random, and sometimes interesting, thoughts that go through his head.
Working heavily in the event industry, but also behind a health and nutrition startup, Jack is known to always be up to something, with many projects bubbling away.