Do you know that you can communicate your feelings and attitudes to others without even speaking? How you sit, stand, and conduct yourself physically is your body language. You send messages you may not be aware of.
Use your body language to your benefit with these common body language cues:
1. Sitting with your arms crossed. When you sit with crossed arms, you’re covering up your heart and your midsection. This posture sends the message that you’re closed and you’re not going to reveal anything about yourself. Also, sitting with crossed arms portrays you’re on your guard or perhaps not all that interested in what is being expressed to you.
- Another meaning of crossing your arms during a discussion could demonstrate you’re uncomfortable with or even ashamed of your own physical appearance.
2. Head cast down. When you’re looking down, it might reflect that you want to hide your emotions or that you’re timid. When your head is cast downward, you’re not making eye contact, which is integral to any good communication exchange.
- If you’re shy, you might avoid making eye contact or looking directly at a person.
3. Drooping shoulders. Drooping shoulders basically show you’re tired or maybe even a bit bored with what is being communicated. Saggy shoulders can also signify that you’re feeling melancholy.
4. Sitting forward in the chair with head lifted and looking at the communicator. When you have your head up and your shoulders forward, it indicates you’re listening with rapt attention to what is being said. You’re showing great interest when you’re posed this way.
5. Reaching out to shake hands firmly with a person you just met. When you reach out first, it shows you’re eager and glad to meet the person. A firm handshake exudes confidence and shows others that you know who you are and what talents you have.
- Haven’t we all reached out to shake hands with someone only to take what feels like a limp fish into our hands? Make an effort to have a firm handshake when meeting new people.
6. Hands on hips. Normally, when you stand with your hands on your hips it means you’re tired of waiting for something (or someone) or feel impatient.
7. Breaking eye contact and looking around. When someone is talking to you, are you looking all around you to see what’s going on? If so, you could be communicating, “I’m not really interested in what you have to say” or “I don’t think you’ve got anything important to communicate.” You could be hiding emotions or even feeling shy.
- On the other hand, in some cultures, it’s not socially accepted to look into someone’s eyes. Interpreting eye contact can be pretty tricky and is a study of human character in and of itself.
8. Monkey see, monkey do. In the field of psychology, we use the term “mirroring” to apply to mimicking another person’s gestures, which means you’re quite interested in the person. For example, if you place your hand under your chin while you’re talking, the friend you’re talking to might do the same thing, quite unconsciously because they’re interested in you.
- When someone mirrors your behavior, they’re showing they want to genuinely connect with you and absorb everything you’re saying.
9. Jiggling feet. Upon talking to someone, if your lower leg or foot is being tapped or moved around, it could reveal you’re nervous, anxious, or even impatient.
10. Walking with shoulders back and head held high. When you walk while standing straight with your head up, you’re walking with purpose. You know what you’re after and you’re going for it. Striding this way demonstrates you have a sense of self-assurance.
Make an effort to notice how you’re moving and posing your body when you’re around others. If you see that you need to make some adjustments to portray more positive attitudes to others, use the above information to get you started.
Develop an understanding of what you’re “saying” to others through how you conduct yourself physically. Show the world the person you really are!