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Improve your body language

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Improve your Body Language.
Make an impression! Good body language can convey a lot more about you than your words can. Learn how to communicate better with people by adopting good posture and an open, inviting stance.

What is body language?
The saying actions speak louder than words is actually holds a lot of truth. In fact, about 60 to 70 per cent of how we communicate with others is gleaned from body language, a form of non-verbal communication.

Body language consists of both voluntary and involuntary physical postures and movements.

  • Body posture
  • Gestures
  • Facial expressions
  • Eye movements

Speak with your body
Employing good body language can help you to improve the way you communicate with people, give a good impression and build self-confidence. If you act confident, you'll help channel this into your words and attitude. Ace that interview, impress your date and connect with others with these tips:

Good posture
Stand tall with shoulders held high and open. Don't tense up, but feel comfortable in this bearing. Practice in a mirror. You should talk to people with both shoulders pointed towards them - this gives the impression of confidence, openness and ease.

The handshake
One of the first things we do when we meet someone new is usually shake their hand. You can probably do worse than a limp 'dead fish' handshake, but you're better off making a good first impression with a firm handshake. Clasping a person's hand firmly conveys confidence and vigour. A floppy hand doesn't make much of an impression and can be real turn off.

Open arms
When engaging in conversation, never cross your arms in front of your body. This 'closes' off contact and signals unfriendliness or guardedness. Use your hands and arms to gesture in a natural way to emphasise a point or, if with someone you are more familiar terms with, make gentle contact with them. Occasionally touch their hand or arm. Refrain from fiddling with hair, jewelry or touching your face as these are interpreted as nervous gestures. Do not play with your phone, keys or rummage in your pockets as this translates to disinterest.

The eyes have it
Good eye contact helps you to connect better with people. Keep your head up and chin at a natural angle when speaking with people so that you can better look at them. Don't stare, but use your eyes to convey your emotion when you speak. It might feel nerve-wrecking to look at a stranger with full eye contact, especially if it's somebody of authority or if you're on a first date. The idea is to make full eye contact for one to two seconds and move your gaze away to focus a broader picture. Try looking at a single word on this page for a few seconds and without moving your head, just refocus your eyes to take in a whole paragraph.

Say yes with your body
Show interest by nodding occasionally, leaning towards (not too much) towards the person you are speaking with and smiling or laughing when appropriate. These 'yes' gestures indicates you are engaged with what others are saying. Another way to connect with someone is to 'mirror' their actions. People who connect with each other tend to unconsciously 'copy' gestures from each other. You can try to proactively mirror your date to build that connection. Lean forward when he or she does or touch your glass when your partner does the same. Don't overdo it, subtlety is key.

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