If you fail to reach your communication goal, the problem may be your body language. After all, we express a lot through it, sometimes, even the things we would not want to show. Here are 18 ways to improve your body language.
1. Do not cross your arms or legs
Do not cross your arms: it gives the impression that you want to close yourself from others or to protect yourself. This also applies to your feet. Be open.
2. Keep eye contact
If you lead a conversation with several people, maintain eye contact with everyone to create a connection and make sure that you are being listened to. Do not overdo it, or one might get the impression that you are trying to suppress the interlocutor. If your eye contact is too weak, you will seem insecure.
3. Mind your posture
Take a confident posture of a person who feels at ease
4. Relax your shoulders
When you are tense, your shoulders are tense as well. They are raised and slightly moved forward. Try to relax, shake your shoulders, and pull them back.
5. Nod when your interlocutor is talking
Nodding from time to time, you demonstrate that you are listening. However, do not overdo it, or you will look like Woody Woodpecker.
6. Do not slouch, sit up straight
Keep your posture, but do not strain.
7. Lean a little
If you want to show that you are interested in what someone says, lean slightly toward the speaker. If you want to show that you are confident and you feel comfortable, lean back a little. However, do not lean too low, or you will look like you desperately need support. If you lean too far back, you can seem arrogant and distant.
8. Smile and laugh
Treat everything easily; do not take things too seriously. Relax. When someone says something funny, smile and laugh. People are ready to listen to you if you seem friendly. However, do not start laughing at your own jokes first – it indicates that you are nervous and you need external support. Smile when you are introduced to someone, but do not stick a constant smile onto your face, or you will look insincere.
9. Avoid touching your face
This indicates that you are nervous, and it will distract the audience or interlocutors.
10. Keep your head up
A lowered head is a sign of insecurity and helplessness. Look the interlocutor straight in the eye.
11. Take your time
This is done for the following reasons: when you walk slowly, you not only calm down and become more confident, but gradually get rid of stress. When you are addressing someone, do not turn in their direction too quickly, do it as slowly as possible.
12. Do not fuss around
Avoid nervous movements such as leg shaking or tapping your fingers on the table. Try to get rid of these habits. Fussiness indicates that you are nervous; it distracts listeners and prevents you from bringing your message. Make your movements orderly so that they do not to interfere with what you are saying. Try to relax, take things slowly, and mind your movements and gestures.
13. Make your gestures confident
Use your hands to describe something so that your arguments seem more convincing. However, do not overdo it – too many hand movements distract the audience. Moreover, do not repeat the same gestures all the time. Control them!
14. Hold a glass lower
Do not keep the drink too close to yourself, or you will look too closed and “protective.” Try to keep things (not just drinks) not higher than the heart level and not closer to yourself than at the toe level.
15. Keep your spine straight
Many people could sit or stand straight and beautifully, but they think that their back ends where the neck begins, so they stretch the neck forward, not realizing that it is part of their posture. Your back ends where head begins. You should try to keep your spine straight, and then your posture will be really good.
16. Keep your distance
Do not stand too close. It has long been known that if you stand too close to the other person, he or she will start feeling anxious. Allow people to have a private space, and do not try to invade it.
When you are on good terms with someone, you often mirror each other unconsciously when you talk. This means that to some extent you borrow someone else’s body language. In order to communicate better, you can consciously use the mirror effect. If the person leans forward, you too can lean forward. If the person reached out to take something, you can do that too. However, do not repeat the person’s every movement, or you’ll confuse them.
18. Be open and calm
Finally, always take everything and everybody positively, be open and calm. Your attitude can change your body language and make it completely different.