Oftentimes, your body language can say far more than your words or facial expressions. You may think crossing your arms is comfortable and slack, but someone else might interpret you to be cross, stern, or even bored. After all, where do you think the resting witch face extravaganza came from? You could be sending the wrong message without even realizing it.
Here are some ways you can go about improving or just becoming more aware of your body language when you’re around others:
Make Eye Contact
Sure, sometimes it feels awkward to stare directly into someone’s soul and not break eye contact for several seconds. But if you’re someone that tends to look away, avoiding eye contact at all costs, you can come across as disinterested and even rude. Fun fact: When you make a cheers at the dinner table, it’s proper manners to look each person in the eye as your drink clinks with theirs.
Slouching in your chair can make you appear lazy, tired, dispassionate, or entitled. No one ever landed a job after slumping over in their chair for an entire interview. Sitting up tall and straight exhibits your confidence and intelligence. It’s also a sign of respect for the people around you who you are conversing with.
Take Your Time
When you’re nervous, you are bound to speed up your speech and even slur your words without enunciating properly. You may not understand why other people can’t hear you or ask for you to repeat yourself. Think about your words and your movements, and slow down. You will appear far more composed.
Don’t Be Too Fidgety or Too Stiff
When people get nervous or uneasy, they either become restless and tap their feet, or they go on the defense and shove their hands into their pockets. Neither of these behaviors really display appropriate body language. Your fidgeting may make others start to feel nervous too, just from watching you. Your hands in your pockets may make you seem negative, like you’re hiding something or you don’t care. When you speak in a natural conversation with someone, your body makes subtle and relaxed movements. So if you’re speaking with someone who is frozen, not moving at all, it’s a huge sign that something is wrong. They could be angry or bottling something up.
Walk The Walk
Whether we know it or not, we all have a specific strut. It may be a confident Jersey-girl walk, or it may be an awkward, head-down teenager walk. Your walk can possibly show others your sense of self-confidence, awareness, or even trustworthiness. It’s not hard to accidentally look conceited, nor is it hard to look coy or embarrassed. Walk with the style that truly suits your personality.
Now, we aren’t saying copy the other person, but it might be a good idea to observe how the people around you are carrying themselves. If the group is animated and bubbly, waving their hands around and telling stories, maybe they are having fun. The situation is light and playful, so you can be too.
Has anyone ever told you to give a better handshake? Shaking someone’s hand in a weak, halfhearted manner makes you seem like a weak, halfhearted person. The best advice you can follow is to look someone directly in the eyes, give them a firm, strong handshake, and repeat their name back to them when you’re being introduced. It’s definitely the most respectful way to do it. That being said, you don’t want to grip a hand so hard that you end up hurting the person, either. So try to balance on that perfect middle ground on the spectrum of strength.