Good body language consists of non-verbal actions that convey your confidence, ease, interest and goodwill toward others. Your posture, and the positions and movements of your eyes, hands, legs, head and mouth, all give clues as to what you feel. The body language that you present gives a positive or negative impression to others, which can help you or hurt you in certain situations such as job interviews or meeting new people.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Other People Are Reading
Make steady eye contact with people with whom you speak, without making them uncomfortable. Avoid looking down or up because it can seem evasive or unfriendly. Keep your head in a level position at most times. Tilting your head slightly upward can convey interest, but a level, straightforward position proves best.
Sit or stand up straight without slouching. Hold your shoulders erect. This posture conveys confidence. When sitting, sit back in the chair. Sitting on the edge can make it appear as if you are anxious and want to leave.
Keep your hands at your sides or in your lap in a natural, relaxed position. Avoid fidgeting with your hands or making large, distracting hand movements while speaking. Don't position your arms across your chest or place your hands on your hips because these movements make you seem standoffish or defensive.
Smile at appropriate times, and slightly raise your eyebrows to show interest and attention to someone who is speaking to you.
Keep your legs together, whether crossed or uncrossed. Don't shake or jiggle them, or you may appear nervous or impatient. Avoid crossing your legs at the knee, because this makes you seem defensive.
Tips and warnings
- Keep in mind that people feel most comfortable with a bubble of 4 square feet around them at all times. Try not to invade someone's personal space.
- While smiling proves positive, keep it to a minimum. Mirror your actions to those of the person or people in front of you. Don't smile excessively or giggle and laugh inappropriately.
- Do not multitask -- text, type, or read -- while speaking with someone. This can make the person feel unimportant.
- Don't stand and look down upon someone who is seated while talking. It can seem intimidating.
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