Sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it that turns people off to you. You may be looking to make a sale or to make a friend. If your body language skills are poor, you won’t get far.
In general, it’s good to have a positive attitude. If you have this, your body language will show it naturally. However, you can’t possibly be positive every single day. Some days, you must show your overall positive outlook even though that day’s attitude isn’t good.
Also, if you improve your body language, your attitude usually follows. Psychologists know that acting happy will go a long way towards making you happy. It isn’t always obvious which comes first.
So, use your body language to project the image you want others to see. Don’t worry about the “truth.” When you use your body language to model behaviors that are positive ones, the truth is, you will become more positive.
If, for instance, you feel like walking slowly with your head down, you might be feeling down. Make the effort to walk erect, hold your head up, and go out to face the day. This body language change will initiate a change in your attitude if you are able to do it.
You might get the urge, during a college class or a job interview, to impatiently drum your fingers. At times like these, let a feeling of calm wash over you by focusing your body language on relaxing. This might include uncrossing locked ankles or letting the muscles in your hands go soft, for example.
If people complain that you don’t show enough interest in them, you can remedy this by using body language. The next time they are telling you something they see as important, look at their face as they speak. Look into their eyes, but look away occasionally so as not to stare.
You can show more interest by your body language in other ways as well. Lean towards the other person when they are sharing something especially important or intimate. Tilt your head to show that you are listening. You can even mirror their body language behaviors if you do it in a subtle way. All this will show that you are in tune with their ideas.
You can improve your body language by studying it. If you are planning to make a presentation before a group of people, you might try it out first in front of a mirror. You could even make a video record of it. Then you could review it at your leisure and take notes about mistakes you are making.
If you are going to look for a job, you will benefit from practice in job interview skills. The best way to do this, if you have someone to do it with, is to role play. Have someone fake interview you and record it so you can see how you’re doing. You will catch body language you never knew you displayed.
There are all kinds of ways to improve your body language skills. If you do, you will find that work relationships and personal relationships will be easier. It just takes a little time, effort, and observation.