Getting your body language down is imperative in life. Whether you’re a businessman or a deli clerk, if you deal with people you have to know how to communicate effectively with them.
They say up to 93 percent of communication is non-verbal. Therefore, it’s essential that you understand what you’re saying beyond just the words you’re uttering.
Here are 11 tricks to better understand body language and communicate more proficiently.
1. Use mirroring
Mirroring is doing what the other person you are speaking with is doing, albeit subtly. You don’t want to blatantly copy every little action they make, but you do want to delicately do, as they do. By mimicking their actions, whether it’s crossing your arms if they have their arms crossed, speaking soft if they speak soft, or keeping great eye contact if they keep it on you—you build a rapport with the individual. They feel more like you and therefore they feel more connected to you. It’s really effective in this sense. It can be used anyplace, but is especially helpful on dates, business meetings, and when meeting someone new.
2. Don’t make unnecessary adjustments
Oftentimes, nervous men will cross their arm over their body in an attempt to make an adjustment to say a cuff-link or a watch on that arm. They may be walking in front of a large crowd, or walking up to a beautiful woman, or perhaps getting on stage to make a speech, but by making this unnecessary adjustment on their arm, they’re displaying a great amount of insecurity. They do this as an unconscious attempt at covering their body with their arm. This action is all too common in guys and must be avoided. Stop fiddling around with something you don’t need to and you will not reveal your potential uncomfortable-side to the world. Instead, keep your arms on each side and confidently stroll into wherever you are going!
3. Do the power pose
The power pose is the extension of your arms up and over your head as high as possible. It creates a V-shape over your head. This pose actually has been studied and documented to increase testosterone, confidence, and leadership qualities in all who make it. Next time you’re feeling nervous or unsure of yourself before a big meeting, raise up those arms of yours and strike a power pose! You’ll be happy you did.
4. Uncross those legs
When people cross their legs, they signal that they are really resistant and unreceptive. It can be great if you want to distance yourself from someone, but if you are negotiating a great deal on a new car you want to buy or if you’re trying to convince your boss for a new raise, displaying resistance is not a good idea! Instead, uncross your legs and be open with your posture. After all, we all love getting a great deal!
5. Laugh to really connect
What’s better than a smiling, happy face? A smiling, happy, and laughingface. Laughter signals the ultimate form of connection between two people and it speaks so many volumes of rapport and bonding. Laugh when you want to really connect with someone in a business sense or a personal sense. Laughing on a date or making your date laugh are incredible signs of attraction and affection. Telling a playful and pertinent joke during an interview can be a great ice-breaker and a great way to connect with your potential boss! Laughing, and getting someone else to laugh, can be extremely beneficial when it comes to communicating effectively!
6. Uncross your arms
Just as crossing your legs can be a bad body language position to take, so can crossing your arms. Crossing your arms signals defensiveness and skepticism. When you cross your arms you distance yourself from whoever you are speaking with. Instead, uncross your arms next time you are trying to connect with someone you’ve just met and you’ll notice it’s easier to build a rapport with them.
7. Lift your chin up
When you lift your chin up, you display a great amount of pride, confidence, and dominance. If you’ve ever seen someone with their head down, you’ll understand the importance of lifting it up! By keeping it up you show you’re content with yourself and secure in who you are. Next time you want to display confidence, such as on-stage making a speech, telling a story to a group of friends, or interviewing for a desired position, keep your chin up!
8. Keep your palms up, too
When you are communicating with your hands, make sure you effectively incorporate the palms-up position. By doing this you subconsciously communicate trust. This shows that you are open and not hiding anything with whoever you are talking to. You don’t have to have your palms up the entire time, but regularly having them up is a good idea. This technique is incredibly effective in sales, marketing, or in trying to convince someone of something. Basically, any place where honesty or integrity may be in question.
9. Nod your head
When trying to build rapport with someone speaking to you, nod your head on occasion when the person says new things. This is a huge sign that you are in agreement with them and that you are listening and accepting what they are telling you. It creates a great bond in conversation when the listener is nodding their head and displaying that they are really listening. Next time a friend or spouse is telling you a story, nod your head occasionally and you’ll find them happier because they appreciate your listening skills.
10. Refrain from tapping your foot
Look, you may be bored, and you may want to do something else—like hit up that new burger joint down the street—but tapping your foot while your manager is making a point about something important, is not going to make him happy! In fact, it’s going to annoy him because you’re body is telling him how bored he is making you. Instead, keep your foot still for another minute or two, and let him vent. Instead of annoying him, listen to him (or at least pretend to) and really connect with him. The next time he reviews his upcoming promotions, you might just be on the top of the list!
11. Gently touch the person on the arm
By gently touching someone you are speaking with on the arm, say when you are telling a story or making a light-hearted joke, you build the feeling of trust up. This is not to say it’s okay to go around touching people all the time, it’s not. However, this is referring more to a light touch on someone’s arm or a playful pat on the shoulder or some other non-intimate place. By doing this, you actually create a bond between you and the person, and not just a literal connection, but a mental one as well. Next time you are on a date with someone, try touching them lightly while in conversation and you’ll notice a better connection.
There you have it! 11 tricks to help you succeed in your personal and professional life! You may not be the best speaker or the best chatter, but if you can get your body language down, you can be the best communicator! And this is so much more important in the overall picture. After all, communication is what life is all about, and your body communicates almost everything!
By Justin Stenstrom
Justin Stenstrom is a nationally acclaimed dating and lifestyle coach, author, and entrepreneur. He’s the founder and creator of givingshyguysgame.com, The Giving Shy Guys Game Podcast, and the book Giving Shy Guys Game.
This article first appeared on Lifehack.