Body Language Hacks to Improve Your People Skills
“There are two kinds of people in this life: those who walk into a room and say, “Well, here I am!” And those who walk in and say, “Ahh, there you are.”
-Leil Lowndes, How to Talk to Anyone
Even the smallest gestures can reveal insights into character and shape perceptions about people. While most of my client work is focused on the clothing and grooming elements of image, I do at times work on enhancing clients’ body language.
The cool thing about putting intention into how you carry your body is that you can actually improve where you stand socially and in your relationships just by how you move your body in the world. Below is a roundup of some of my favorite body language hacks and where to get more info about them.
- If you want to come across as 100% credible to everyone, according to the book How to Talk to Anyone, by Leil Lowndes, avoid fidgeting at all costs. It’s especially important to squelch any motions around your face (wiping beads of perspiration, scratching an itch, loosening a collar, etc.), which can be read as deceitful.
- If you want to intrigue people, use the technique Lowndes calls “Sticky Eyes.” This is where you “pretend your eyes are glued to your conversation partner’s with sticky, warm taffy. Don’t break eye contact even after he or she has finished speaking. When you must look away, do it ever so slowly, reluctantly, stretching the gooey taffy until the tiny string finally breaks.” Lowndes says men should do this in particular when talking to women. It can also be done man-to-man, but just want to make your eyes a little “less sticky” when discussing personal matters so that your intentions don’t get misinterpreted.
- In Harvard professor and social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s Ted talk, she shares how just two minutes of “power posing” can affect how you feel about yourself, and in turn, how others perceive you. Power posing actually changes your body chemistry, thereby affecting your behavior and interactions with others. One pose that’s easy to remember is standing with your legs wide, chest puffed out and your arms in a wide V above your head or your hands on your hips. What’s interesting about this pose is that it’s innate — people who were born blind do it when they are victorious in events, even when they’ve never been taught to do so. Cuddy suggests doing this high-power pose in private before important meetings like job interviews in order to improve your confidence and presence during the meeting. I’ve actually used this technique myself before going into high stakes meetings and found it to be very effective.
Have you tried any of the techniques above? Or found any others that work? Let me know in the comments below!