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How to Improve Your Body Language ?

You walk out of an interview room after going through the communication round for a job interview or probably for getting admission to an institute/college. You believe that your answers were pretty fine and convincing. A few hours or days later, as the interview results are out, you learn that you could not make it for the desired application. You wonder what went wrong. Simple, even though your answers were good, it was the poor body language that you carried which resulted in your disqualification. The even more disappointing fact is that you never realized that your body language wasn’t apt.

Your words are only a means to communicate your intentions and thoughts. Your gestures actually define the success or failure of your communication. A body language includes a set of mannerisms, your facial expressions, your body control and position, and even your breath that impresses the other person about your personality.

It’s said that,

“The words that come out of your mouth are merely a drop in the ocean of communication”.

Remaining is all upon how pleasant or repulsive your body language is which defines you completely in the conversation with a person or a group of persons. Some people are successful orators while others can’t just be good at what they say and fail to influence, as their body language isn’t engaging.

This body language is crucial in any kind of communication and can even build or ruin the success of your conversation, be it in an interview, a meeting, a speech or even at a regular talk with your spouse or family. A conscious effort is required at times to improve your body language to see a positive outcome and make your words powerful and effective in any communication.

Now, it is important to know the signs of an affirmative and successful body language.

1. Create Awareness:

If we pay attention to the way we do everything and when we do it, it is then we are aware of our own actions. Some of you may have the habit of folding our arms or legs when talking to other people. This gesture reflects poorly upon your confidence and gives you a defensive appearance. Crosses created with your body like woman grabbing the shoulder or elbow of the opposite arm is a sign of lack of confidence. Talking with hands and arms unfolded can be a better way to suggest friendliness and openness to other people.

Believe me, you will not feel uneasy by changing your existing habit. The feeling of happiness and self-improvement that arises in you as you sit or stand comfortably talking to someone shall motivate you to talk with more happiness and inner freedom. Thus, a small change of being bodily aware (not conscious) shall make you control your body language in a subtle yet powerful way.

2. Make Eye Contact:

Our eyes play an important role in communication. It helps the other person feel more comfortable as he/she becomes receptive to your heart and your intentions when you look into their eyes. Eye contact is also a means to keep people interested in what you are saying. Looking here and there when talking to someone can create a sense of boredom and disinterest in the other person. Certain cultures find it offensive or disrespectful to maintain eye contact with strangers or elders. Remember that, you have to make an eye contact and not stare at the person in conversation.

3. Mirroring:

If you are talking to someone sitting or standing opposite to them, learn to mirror them. To mirror someone means to copy their tone and pace of talk as well as facial expressions at times.

For example:

If someone is talking about an unfortunate incident and looks sad, it is important that your face carries a frown over the part of conversation. It gives a sense of comfort to the other person that his/her feelings are being understood. More synergy and connection can be created by subtle mirroring and it becomes a part of your natural behavior as the conversation progresses.

4. Relax:

A tensed inner self becomes apparent in a conversation as your shoulders or body becomes stiff and tense. This clearly shows that you are either not comfortable or are afraid of the thoughts of the other person.

A relaxed body is important in any kind of conversation as it gives a feeling of ease and comfort to the people carrying out the conservation. A conversation carried out with a calm mind and a relaxed body will always be more pleasant and promising. So, take a Deep breath, Relax Out and you will find your true inner self talking.

5. Smile and Laugh:

If you think that seriousness in a conversation is important and it is not actually important to smile, you are staying in a completely dark world of communication. By smiling you can lighten up the conversation and make it livelier rather than boring. A laugh can also add to the chirpiness of certain conversations and help people in the conversation feel lighter.

A smile or a joke in a conversation can make you an interesting person to converse with. Smile, as a gesture makes people feel warmth and comfortable in the talk.

6. Keep Hold of Your Hands:

Keeping your hands in your pockets may be comfortable but often is a sign of lacking confidence. It gives the impression that you are lazy and disinterested or pose you as an arrogant person.

Thus, keeping your hands in the pockets is not a sign of positive body language and makes you a disliked personality. Other hand gestures done with free hands can also make a lot of difference to the words that you use and make them more meaningful and effective. You would appear more confident and clear and also would be confident about the topic of conversation.

7. Avoid Fidgeting:

Very often people are addicted with habit of shaking their leg or tapping the fingers on the table which is taken as a very unpleasant body language in a conversation. You must try to avoid or change such fidgety movements as this may also make you look nervous. The other person will find it a distraction and the conversation will not be carried out perfectly. Try to settle down a bit, stay calm and relaxed, keeping your body movements in control. Controlled body movements can make the conversation a good experience.

8. Keep Your Pace Slow:

This is true for the speed of almost everything you do-your speech, your gestures and even your movement. Walking fast can make you look nervous and anxious whereas a slow walk indicates the calm and confidence inside you. Slow gestures not only keep you less stressed but also give elegance to your body language.

For example, when you are about to answer someone, it is important to ensure that you just don’t snap your neck in their direction. Instead, be a bit slow in turning your head towards them.

9. Nod Your Head:

When you converse with someone, how well you show them that you are interested, drives your conversation. Nodding your head is the simplest way to make someone feel that you are able to understand and connect to what he/she is saying. It is the most important sign of agreement in terms of body language. When you nod your head, it is an expression of your agreement with their thoughts. Some conversations demand nodding more than others especially where other person wants to be listened without your speaking much. It does not mean that you have to simply bob your head for the sake of nodding, but make them feel that you are a good listener and is with them.

10. Lean In:

Leaning in is an important part of the body language to express enthusiasm. When you lean towards the other person, he/she feels that you are finding the conversation engaging. Leaning forward too much can however be an indication of seeking some approval and so one must be careful to not do so. A conversation where your confidence and relaxed self is to be exhibited is to lean back a bit. Leaning backwards can otherwise look arrogant.

11. Go for a Firm Handshake:

A nice and firm handshake feels really well and shows that you carry a positive feeling for the newly acquainted person. It plays a key role in building trust between people who have just got to know each other, be it personal, business of friendly relations. Remember that starting any acquaintance with a casual handshake shows the lack of confidence and good feelings for the other person. Also starting a new relationship with a person, without giving them a gesture like handshake shows lack of trust and friendliness. Thus, it is good to mirror the other person’s handshake as it matches their expressions.

12. Study Others:

When you start changing your own body language or start using some tips given to get better response from your conversations, it becomes equally important that you start studying others and their body language. Like your own body language reflects your inner self, so goes with the other person in conversation. When you admire certain people and want to be like them, you are more likely to learn by carefully observing them. Also, if there are certain people whom you dislike, you must be alert not to repeat the gestures that make them repulsive in your conversation with someone. Thus by studying others, you can bring striking changes in your own body language.

13. Lower Your Tone and Voice:

People with a loud tone or voice are often counted as dominating. There are some places like debates and speeches where they do well but on a personal conversation it goes really negative on their front. If your case is such, it is important to put in deliberate efforts to lower down your tone and volume. A pleasant level of baritone is always welcoming and will pose you as a polite and poised person. Like our gestures present your confidence and honesty, your tone and speech volume determine your elegance and down to earth attitude.

14. Never Scratch Your Head:

Scratching your head or moving your fingers through your hair can create an image of casualness in your attitude and make you sound unintelligent. This is a part of mannerisms and counts in your etiquettes in any kind of conversation. A person who is usually putting his/her hands in the head or in twirling their hair is seen as inattentive and disinterested people. So, stop this habit completely by checking yourself every time your hand tries to reach your head as this will actually improve your own confidence and make your feel aware and alert of the surroundings.

15. Do Not Rub the Back of Neck or Head:

Rubbing your neck at the back shows that you are lacking interest in the conversation and are somehow trying to get away with it. This gives a quick indication to the other person that you are trying to leave the place at once. This may turn your prospects of benefiting from the conversation bleak. Again it is something that you must keep a check on and never do, if the conversation is really important for you. Your small gestures can speak more than the words of your mouth.

16. Do Not Bite Your Nails:

Not that biting your nails displays a poor confidence level or nervousness, but it is a distraction and also not a good manner. It reflects your inner confused self and is not good to see. You usually tend to bite nails when you are in deep thinking. You should avoid biting nails as it is not a sign of positive body language and can prove negative in any conversation’s results.

17. Sit in an Engaging Position:

An engaging position is essential to make your confrontation possible with someone. Usually two people seated and conversing have a table or desk separating them and one can try to sit at an inclination at 45 degree. It makes the position comfortable and provides the space essential for an efficient communication. This is suitable for mirroring and engaging in other person’s talks.

18. Never be Dramatic:

Don’t act while you talk or convey anything to someone. Be it a fact, an experience, an explanation or an answer that forms the conversation, you must not overact and make exaggerations of expressions or gestures. Be careful about the choice of your words as well as never use exclamatory remarks repeatedly, as an overuse creates an impression of fakeness. Do not think that you can impress others by posing something. Being honest and acting like your own self is important to make a conversation sensible. Never act smart as people are smarter than you.

19. Don’t Touch Your Face:

Touching your face while talking is a sign of dishonesty, people touch their face when they are nervous or afraid of confrontation. They comfort themselves by placing their hand on the face. Many people do it unknowingly and consider it a normal gesture that doesn’t interrupt the flow of conversation. However the person you are talking to can see your under-confidence hidden beneath your words and may not be able to trust what you say. You must therefore be careful and have control when your hand tries to reach your face.

20. Trust Others

It is important to believe in the person you are conversing to actually carry on a fruitful conversation. Without adequate trust, you shall fail to benefit from following any tips. You should first understand the other person’s relation with you, be it personal, business or professional and base your conversation on a mutual trust. Your body language will carry confidence and frankness only if there is an element of trust in the other person.

21. Relax:

Having learnt about the ways to see changes in your body language, you must have somewhere felt overdosed. So this final tip is to keep your tension away. Learn to relax and comfort yourself. The more comforted and natural you are, the easier it shall be for you to adapt to the suggestions for improvement and see yourself as an improved and confident person with a positive body language.

By understanding what looks good and what doesn’t as a part of your communication skills, you can see dramatic difference in the engagement factor with others by means of your body language. For those who have been lacking socializing skills owing to poor body language, this is definitely a Good News. Other than social habits, an improved body can help generate a new confidence in you as you walk up to interview panels.

Although no gesture is universal, yet we have tried to share with you more frequently derived meanings of certain gestures and habits of certain people. Cultural differences may result in the distinction of appropriateness or inappropriateness of certain ways to behave. In addition to the tips given above, another one is to close your eyes and visualize yourself behaving in a particular way or giving certain gestures. Self-observation can help improve your body language to quite an extent.

We wish that you will be able to work on these tips and see a positive change in your self-image by gradually getting used to the right body language.

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Message from Sophia!

I would love to hear from you and read your comments on this article. Let me know what you think about this article. Is it helpful to you? Your comments and suggestions will serve as an inspiration and learning platform for me.
Regards, Sophia
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