You've heard about the influence body language can have on interactions and relationships. It can also be a powerful asset to your career, whether you utilise it in an interview, at a business meeting or to get that promotion. Body language can alter people’s perception of your opinion, argument or general persona. Right, let’s get to the good stuff!
Consistent hand gestures
A Human Behaviour Consultancy called 'The Science of People' did a survey on TED talks, and what they found was very interesting. They gathered 760 volunteers, asking them to rate hundreds of hours of TED Talks and pick their favourites, "We had four different people in our lab — people who are trained in body language — count the number of hand movements. Any kind of up-and-down, side-to-side move. We tallied all of them and took the average. Then, we looked at the number of hand gestures in each talk and ranked the talks from top to bottom. And we found that the talks that had the most hand gestures correlated with the talks that were overall favourites."
People assume you are more confident, assured and intelligent the more you move your hands. Now don’t go flapping your new found wings like a flamingo, sync your hand movements with key points of your conversation or argument.
Mimic other people’s body
Mirroring body language is a way to connect with and to build understanding with someone. It is a powerful tool that we use instinctively. If you are attempting to win someone over to your point of view, mirror their stance/posture, this will make them feel more comfortable and favourable towards you. The most obvious forms of mirroring are yawning and smiling. When you see someone 'Yawn' the majority of us will yawn right back!
The oldest one in the book? A firm handshake shows that you are confident and that you back yourself. Don't overdo it, but nothing says 'I don’t know what I'm doing' like a limp handshake.
Spot non-verbal cues
How do you read someone? What is the most honest part of the body? Joe Navarro interrogated people for a living for the FBI for over 20 years. He solved renowned murder cases from movements more slight than your average poker tell. He states that the lower torso and legs of the body are by far the most honest. The one true tell is the feet. The higher you go up the body the more people are skilled at lying. Is the person talking to you facing you but their legs and feet are facing away? Then they are not interested in what you have to say, they have already consciously or subconsciously decided they want to leave. Be more vigilant with your superiors to see which ones favour you and which ones don't.
Not quite Scarface! But I don't think 'feet' would have sounded cool enough.
"The feet chico, they never lie"... yeah definitely doesn't work.
Easy right? Andrew Merle writes about how it’s been proven that even when you fake or force a smile it can "reduces stress and makes you happier." So smiling your way to your next interview can help you handle those nerves.
Are you about to present to a large team of Directors? Are you lacking a bit of confidence before your interview? Go to the bathroom and do a power stance. Bring out your inner Wonder Woman. Spread your legs shoulder-width apart, hands on the hips, chin up, and look straight ahead. Do this for one to two minutes and see how you feel.
Steeple your hands
This is when we spread our fingers putting them together in a prayer-like gesture. It’s a display of power and high confidence, want to dominate the meeting? Try your best Donald Trump! Don’t mimic anything he's ever said though, you might get fired.
Actually, you definitely would.
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