There’s no certain way to use your body language. Depending on who you’re talking to and the setting, what you do and say might be interpreted in different ways. When talking to your boss, you will want to use your body language differently than when talking to your coworkers or friends.
A slight change in your body language can have a great impact on the people around you. But before starting changing your body language, you have to know your body language. Pay close attention to how you stand, how you sit, and how you use your hands and legs when talking to someone.
One of the best ways to know your body language is to practice in front of a mirror. While it seems a bit ridiculous, it really helps. After all, no one is watching you. You will see how you look to others and how you use your body language.
You can also visualize how you’d sit and stand to feel relaxed and confident or visualize how you’d communicate with someone. Watch your coworkers, friends, celebrities, role models, and other people you think have great body language and communication skills. Watch what they do and what you don’t.
However, don’t compare yourself to others. Just because they have better body language doesn’t mean they are better than you. You just need some time to develop your own body language.
At first, you might feel like you’re faking someone and something, but ‘fake it til you make it can actually help you to improve your body language and communication skills. Don’t be afraid to play around a little. Practice a lot and monitor yourself to find your comfortable balance. This is the key to success!
Here are a few recommendations for improving your body language. Read on.
Table of contents:
- Eye contact
- Arms, shoulders, and legs
- Sit up straight
- Take up some space
- Smile and laugh
- Don’t fidget
1. Eye contact
Make eye contact, but make sure you don’t stare. If you’re talking to a few people, give everyone some eye contact to make a better connection and ensure everyone is listening to you. If you don’t make eye contact, you might seem insecure, inattentive, and confused.
But don’t give too much eye contact since people might think you are creepy. If you are shy, making eye contact will be a little tricky in the beginning, but when you get used to it, it will feel much easier.
2. Arms, shoulders, and legs
Never cross your arms and legs as it indicates that you are feeling defensive or guarded. You should also pay attention to your shoulders. When you feel nervous, you may notice that your shoulders are tight and tense. Try to relax your shoulders by shaking them a bit and moving them back and down slightly.
When you want to feel confident or when you want to be taken seriously, keep your head level both vertically and horizontally. When you want to be friendly, nod once in a while to show that you are listening; just don’t overdo it. You don’t want to nod every minute.
Your mouth movements give away clues about you, too, and not only when you’re speaking. We purse the lips and twist them to one side when we think or hold back some angry comments we don’t want to reveal. People might notice it, and even though they won’t say anything, they’ll get a feeling that you don’t want to communicate with them.
5. Sit up straight
Learn to sit up straight but in a more comfortable and relaxed way. If you want to show that you are sincerely interested in what the person is talking about, lean toward them, but not too much. Lean back a bit to show that you are relaxed and confident in yourself. But don’t lean back too much because it can make you look distant and arrogant.
6. Take up some space
Feel free to take up some space when talking to someone. When you sit or stand with your legs slightly apart, you are self-confident and comfortable around other people.
7. Smile and laugh
Stop taking yourself so seriously. Just relax. When someone says something funny, smile or even laugh. If you are a positive person, people will be more inclined to listen to you and be around you.
However, don’t be the only person who laughs at your jokes, or it will make you appear nervous; when you’re introduced to someone, smile, but don’t fake your smile. People may notice that your smile is fake.
8. Don’t fidget
Make sure you avoid doing fidgety movements and nervous ticks like tapping your fingers against the table or shaking your leg. When you try to get something across, fidgeting can distract others. Slow down, take a few deep breaths and relax. This is one of the most important steps to improving your body language.