How to Improve Your Body Language
This isn’t the first time that you’ve heard about the importance of body language. It shapes everything we say, so having clear, managed body language is essential to really expressing yourself, and it is a vital skill to master in both professional and social settings. These easy tips are the backbone of effective body language.
There is no easier or more effective way to convey confidence and command attention than with simple, direct eye contact. That said, staring at people quickly becomes creepy. If this is unfamiliar territory, the general rule is for eye contact to mirror conversation. If one person has the floor, say for a presentation, then something close to staring is fine. In normal conversation, eye contact shows when you are listening. When speaking, briefly establish the contact before beginning, but it’s ok for animated speech to cause your eyes to drift. Most importantly, when you have to stop to think about a response, reestablish eye contact before the first word. Ultimately, the best way for eye contact to be compelling rather than creepy is to combine it with a few other techniques.
A good smile compliments your eye techniques perfectly. It shapes the mood of your face to control how aggressive, creepy or attractive your unflinching gaze can be. Also, naturally grumpy or unpleasant facial expressions are a problem for many people. It’s ok to practice your smile in a mirror so it is more accessible and easy for you to command.
What the smile begins, gestures complete. Speaking with your hands adds energy and a genuine feeling to speech. There’s a simple safety rule: don’t raise your hands above your shoulders. This might feel weird, but raising hands very high can feel aggressive or unprofessional. Just watch a video of Steve Jobs for a clear picture. There is an important exception, though. If you are genuinely celebrating, especially a sports victory, put those hands in the air.
That’s it. Three easy practices will frame your body language and give your presence more control, sincerity and power.