There’s no certain way to use your body language. Depending on who you’re talking to and the setting, what you do and say might be interpreted in different ways. When talking to your boss, you will want to use your body language differently than when talking to your coworkers or friends. A slight changes in your body language can have a great impact on the people around you. But before starting changing your body language, you have to know your body language. Pay close attention to how you stand, how you sit, and how you use you hands and legs when talking to someone. One of the best ways to know your body language is to practice in front of a mirror. While it seems a bit ridiculous, it really helps. After all, no one is watching you. You will see how you look to others and how you use your body language.
You can also visualize how you’d sit and stand to feel relaxed and confident, or visualize how you’d communicate with someone. Watch your coworkers, friends, celebs, role models and other people you think have great body language and communicating skills. Watch what they do and what you don’t. However, don’t compare yourself to others. Just because they have a better body language doesn’t mean they are better than you. You just need some time to develop your own body language.
At first, you might feel like you’re faking someone and something, but ‘fake it til you make it’ can actually help you to improve your body language and communication skills. Don’t be afraid to play around a little, practice a lot and monitor yourself to find your comfortable balance. This is the key to success!
Here are a few recommendations for improving your body language.
1. Eye contact
Make eye contact, but make sure you don’t stare. If you’re talking to a few people, give everyone some eye contact to make a better connection and ensure everyone is listening to you. If you don’t make eye contact, you might seem insecure, inattentive and confused. But, don’t give too much eye contact since people might think you are creepy. If you are shy, making eye contact will be a little tricky in the beginning, but when you will get used to it, it will feel much easier.
2. Arms, shoulders and legs
Never cross your arms and legs as it indicates that you are feeling defensive or guarded. You should also pay attention to your shoulders. When you feel nervous, you may notice that your shoulders are tight and tense. Try to relax your shoulders by shaking them a bit and moving them back and down slightly.
When you want to feel confident or when you want to be taken seriously, keep your head level both vertically and horizontally. When you want to be friendly, nod once in a while to show that you are listening. Just don’t overdo it. You don’t want to nod every minute.
Your mouth movements give away clues about you, too, and not only when you’re speaking. We purse the lips and twist them to one side when we are thinking or when we hold back some angry comments we don’t want to reveal. People might notice it and even though they won’t say anything, they’ll get a feeling that you don’t want to communicate with them.
5. Sit up straight
Learn to sit up straight but in a more comfortable and relaxed way. If you want to show that you are sincerely interested in what the person is talking about, lean toward them, but not too much. Lean back a bit to show that you are relaxed and confident in yourself. But don’t lean back too much because it can make you look distant and arrogant.
6. Take up some space
Feel free to take up some space when talking to someone. When you sit or stand with your legs slightly apart, it shows that you are self-confident and you feel comfortable around other people.
7. Smile and laugh
Stop taking yourself so seriously. Just relax. When someone says something funny, smile or even laugh. If you are a positive person, people will be more inclined to listen to you and be around you. However, don’t be the only person who laugh at your jokes, or it will make you appear nervous. When you’re introduced to someone, smile but don’t fake your smile. People may notice that your smile is fake.
8. Don’t fidget
Make sure you avoid doing fidgety movements and nervous ticks like tapping your fingers against the table or shaking your leg. When you try to get something across, fidgeting can distract others. Slow down, take a few deep breaths and relax. This is one of the most important steps to improving your body language.
9. Don’t touch your face
To tell the truth, touching the face (especially nose) when speaking with someone is one of my worst habits that I’m trying to break. It’s hard to break but I know I have to do it in order to improve my body language. Touching your face makes you seem nervous and it’s distracting to the people in the conversation.
10. Use your hands
Instead of scratching your face and fidgeting with your hands, learn to use them more confidently during a conversation. You can use your hands to describe something or explain your ideas. However, make sure you don’t use your hands too much, or it will be annoying and distracting.
11. Slow down
This actually goes for a lot of things. If you’ve got used to walking fast, try walking a bit slower. This will make you appear more relaxed and confident. If someone addresses you, turn your neck a little more slowly. When speaking to someone, don’t speak too fast. The thing is, speaking too fast indicates a lack of confidence and can increase the chances you will be misunderstood.
12. Keep your whole spine straight
Many of us stand and sit with a straight back in a great posture. But, many of us don’t understand that the spine ends in the back of the head, so we often crane the neck forward. Keep your entire spine straight to have a better posture and look more beautiful and confident.
13. Lower your drink
Keeping a drink close to your chest is a sure sign of insecurity. Don’t hold anything in front of your chest as it will make you seem distant and guarded. So lower your drink and hold it about belly button level a slightly out. This will make you look more confident.
14. Don’t stand too close or too far away
If you want to give off the right signals, pay close attention to the distance from others. If you stand or sit too close to the person when speaking, you might be marked as ‘in your face’ or ‘pushy.’ If you stand too far away, you might be marked as ‘offish.’ Observe how close all the other people are to one another and if you notice that someone back away when you move closer to them, pull back a little. Every person has their own personal space, which we should never invade.
If you are trying to improve your body language, mirroring can help you. Sometimes when we get along with someone, we begin to mirror one another unconsciously. If your interlocutor leans forward, you might also lean forward. Or, if they hold their hands on their thighs, do the same. Just don’t overdo it. You don’t want to mirror each change in body language.
16. Keep a positive attitude
When you feel positive and confident, it comes through in your body language. That’s why it’s so important to keep a positive and relaxed attitude when speaking to someone. In fact, when it comes to body language and communication skills, your attitude can make a huge difference.
It may take a lot of time and patience to change your body language but it’s well worth it in the end. One of the most difficult things to change is to keep you head up if you’ve got used to looking at your feet. Eye contact is highly important in any situation. Work on these body language bits daily and you will definitely better your body language. If you don’t manage to change something, don’t just give up. You will reach your goal and improve your body language no matter how hard it will be and no matter what others will say. Remember, I believe in you. Are you going to use these ways to change your body language?