Have you ever been to a party/event where you didn’t know anyone? Did you make the appearance – diffidently, so no one can notice you, or did you walk straight ahead to the host, nodding and smiling back at the other guests? In both the situations you have thrown a storm of signals, through your facial expressions, body movements and posture. This is the power of non-verbal communication, commonly known as body language.
People who know you well are often able to decipher your body language. Like a silent orchestra, micro expressions like hand gestures and posture register almost immediately. Whether you’re anxious about an approaching deadline, feeling livid over an argument, or excited about good grades at school, you are sending signals that reveal your internal state, whatever is happening on the inside is reflected on the outside.
Human body with its crafty mechanism even has the ability to send mixed messages, where we say one thing but our body language reveals something else. Our body language reveals information about our personality, intentions, and attitudes.
Break the Shackles of First Impression Jitters with Positive Body Language
Do you know human communication is 20% verbal and 80% non-verbal; and hence it is a no brainer that it just takes a quick glance, maybe three seconds, for the other person to evaluate you when you meet for the first time. These initial few seconds are incredibly important, while what meet the eyes, the other person is forming a quick opinion about you based on your appearance, your body language, and your demeanor.
So whether you are meeting someone professionally or personally, it is imperative to create great first impression, because you only get one shot at it. It only takes bit of observation to look for the body signals to identify whether the person is feeling confident or not.
Be the best version of yourself by self-consciously becoming aware of your strengths in 5 simple tips.
1. Just be Yourself
There is nothing like being comfortable in your own skin, if you are feeling edgy, your body language is going to speak the same for you, creating wrong first impression. Even if you are feeling nervous, try to stay calm, take a deep breath, appear relaxed, stay focused and confident.
2. A Winning Smile
Nobody, not even you would like to meet a person with a big frown and a ‘don’t bother me’ look plastered all over the face. You smile and the world smiles with you. A warm and confident smile will instantly put you and the other person at ease. So smiling is a sure winner when it comes to creating great first impressions.
3. Be Open, Relaxed and Confident
We all have heard, actions speak louder than words; this goes with all the social interactions we come across within our daily lives. Use positive body language at your advantage to radiate confidence and self-assurance. Don’t slouch, stand tall, relax your muscles, make eye contact and greet with a firm handshake.
4. Winning Over Your Butterflies
We all feel nervous when heading for a job interview, entering an exam hall, or meeting someone for the first time, which can unconsciously lead to nervous habits or sweaty palms. Be positively aware of your nervous habits, so you can keep them in check. There is nothing wrong in being candid in a light hearted way about your anxieties, this will give you confidence and help you put at ease.
5. Mirror the Other Person
When in conversation try to mirror other person’s body language without making it too obvious. This creates a sense of familiarity and we instantly become more comfortable and accepting, when someone looks or sounds like us. But use mirroring technique discreetly, only when appropriate, or you might end up irritating the other person.
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus
Although both genders use facial expressions and gestures for non-verbal communication, however, there are some fundamental differences in the way they communicate through their body language. It doesn’t imply one gender is better than other, but there are differences in their behaviors and tendencies. For the reason same body language can be decoded differently among both the sexes.
Understanding gender differences in nonverbal communication helps when dealing with the opposite sex.
- Women like to be approached from the front while men prefer to be approached from the side. For men, approach from the front can seem aggressive. Women feel threatened if someone come up from behind them and tap them on the shoulder.
- Men and women nod for different reasons altogether. When a man nods, he is trying to show agreement, however a woman nods to show she is listening and wants the speaker to continue.
- Women in general are more cheerful and that’s the reason they smile more than their counterparts. Men do not smile that much as they want to assert power over others.
- Women like to build connection by reaching out to others by touching their arm or giving them a hug. Men on the other hand pat back or place their hand on other person’s shoulder to show superiority.
- Men touch their nose repeatedly when disgusted or stressed. Women do that and also wrinkle their nose when disgusted.
- Women keep their arms next to their bodies and cross their legs. Men keep their arms away from their bodies and sit with their legs apart.
- To show they are listening, women would lean forward, nod, and tilt their head, men do not do anything like that. It is hard to follow if they are listening at all.
The Infamous Presidential Handshake
Handshakes are meant to be relatively simple affairs, a civilized greeting, but not anymore. Ever since US President Donald Trump took charge of the White House, his arm jerking, clasp patting handshakes have taken the world (specially the recipients) by surprise, generating endless debates among the body language experts. His prolonged handshakes are not act of peace and goodwill, but his clasp and yank have turned them into a battle of supremacy.
There are several explanations to this behavior; one, it is significantly different from the normal practice and usual expectations, and second the aggressive yank-shakes will make it look as if he is the man in charge. Whatever the intentions; the diplomatic world is trying to come to grips with a gesture that not only breaches required etiquette but lacks general protocol as well.