Video:

Body Language

6 February 2021

Body Language

How would you use your body language to create a positive impression?... Our tips on how to improve your communication skills through the effective use of body language.

Q: how would you use your body language to create a positive impression with the other person or group: face?

  • establish warm, open eye contact
  • nod whenever appropriate,
  • have an appropriate, empathetic facial expression

Head

  • Body posture

Gestures

  • this will mainly be to do with your hands.
  • keep them visible; historically we have learned to unconsciously mistrust people whose hands are hidden – they could be carrying weapons
  • either keep them still, so they are not a distraction; or, if you want to use hands expressively, which is fine, then keep all hand gestures within your shoulder line (imagine two vertical lines, one from each shoulder to the ground; all hand movements should be within those two imaginary lines)

Body position

  • generally speaking, it is more helpful to be sitting than standing.
  • one key reason is that sitting equalises heights, which makes it less intimidating for whoever is smaller
  • sitting reduces the likelihood of aggression; it is just harder to be aggressive when sitting (not impossible – just harder!)
  • whether sitting or standing, make sure you are not backlit – eg by having a window or strong light behind you. That will make your face more difficult to see, so less easy for the other person to ‘read’, which they will find uncomfortable, plus they may be uncomfortable looking at such a strong light source
  • if you are both sitting, then it is better to sit at a 45% angle to each other, not directly across from each other, which is regarded as adversarial
  • if you need a table, have a low and ideally circular ‘coffee table’ you can sit around; avoid a traditional table or desk, which can form a barrier

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