The Best Body Language For Every Situation
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Let Your Body Talk1 of 10
By Woman's Day
When it comes to facing a tense situation, you may have learned the right words to smooth things over and appear confident—but what about your body language? The way you sit, stand or gesture can be a giveaway of how you really feel. To guarantee the best impression possible, make sure your speech—and body—send the right signals. Whether you're asking your boss for a raise or meeting the in-laws for the first time, read on to learn the right physical cues to use.
Disagreeing With The Boss2 of 10
Begin the conversation by listening, advises Greg Hartley, former U.S. Army interrogator and body language expert. Avoid putting up a barrier like a hand, your bag or "whatever else you have between yourself and the person with whom you are speaking," says Hartley. "Don't block the person out." Be calm, and show you're engaged by nodding as they speak.
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Going On A First Date3 of 10
As a result of feeling jittery, you might clam up—which is often conveyed through crossed arms and leaning away—or fidget by picking away at a beer bottle label while talking. To appear more approachable—and interested—try leaning slightly forward, advises Ann Demarais, Ph.D., psychologist and interpersonal style expert. Eye contact and smiling are also very important. "One study that followed an attractive woman in a bar found that eye contact alone didn't work; but when coupled with a smile, she could pretty reliably coax people over," says Demarais.
Meeting Future In-Laws4 of 10
Because it's especially important to make a good impression, excess nerves can work against you. Show grace under pressure, says Hartley, by developing a "trick," like curling your toes in your shoes. It's hidden from sight, and will help your cognitive-thinking mind regain control over your instinctive fight-or-flight mentality by forcing you to focus on an action instead of letting your nerves take control.
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Interviewing For A Job5 of 10
Eye contact and posture are key when interviewing for a job. Jonathan Alpert, a New York-based licensed psychotherapist, recommends showing you're engaged. "Lean forward to show interest and tilt your head to emphasize it," he says. "Keep your hands on your lap or on the armrest, but don't be afraid to use them to make a point. It's a good way to inject energy into the conversation."
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Giving A Speech6 of 10
In addition to standing tall to project confidence and making eye contact to connect with your audience, Demarais says movement is important when presenting information. "You want to project energy. It's about using your body and using your space," she says. You also want to be prepared, but relaxed. To achieve this, Hartley recommends practicing what you will say, but not rehearsing the entire presentation. "Know the information inside and out, but don't memorize it. When you're responding, you want it to look natural," he says.
Confronting Your Spouse7 of 10
Emphasize each point by making a downward chopping motion with your hand, Hartley says. "Stop between points to make sure it's registering. Silence is one of the most powerful tools you can learn." Being quiet can also facilitate the discussion when he's trying to talk. "If you nod while he's talking, then he'll lay out his entire argument for you," he says. Once you have all the facts, then you can approach the subject more clearly and be more well informed, allowing you to speak from a place of confidence.
Mingling At A Party8 of 10
There really is no best way to stand at a cocktail party, especially if you're on your own. The most important thing is to look at ease in order to convey an air of approachability. 'People want to talk to a person who looks confident," Hartley says. If you scan the room—or are approached—and aren't sure you recognize someone, try quickly raising your eyebrow. "When people recognize each other, their brows always rise," Hartley says. "So if you don't recognize someone whom you think you should know, raise your brow when they come over."
Owning Up To A Mistake9 of 10
Begin by putting your face forward—literally. The placement of your chin speaks volumes, says Hartley. If it's too high, then you'll look indignant; too low, you'll look weak. Holding it straight on and squarely in the middle exudes confidence as well as compromise. You want to appear sympathetic enough that your co-worker or boss won't continue to reprimand you for your actions, but not so much that you appear to be a helpless victim.
Negotiating A Price10 of 10
You want to convey that you'll consider options, but ultimately, you have a bottom line. Hartley recommends taking a firm stance and using the language to match. Stand straight with your head forward and eyes locked with theirs. Illustrate points with your hands, and be prepared to talk quickly. If they're about to disengage or disagree, then "soften up and back off," he says. If they then lower their price, then dive right in with the number you're hoping to get.
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