11 Easy Ways to Use Body Language to Your Advantage
Scientists say that most of the information we get is nonverbal (from 70% to 93%). This means that rather than listening to another person, we tend to look more at the person’s body language, their facial expression, tone of voice, and so on. That’s why it’s so important to know at least the basics of those things to understand others better and make sure they get you, too.
We at Now I’ve Seen Everything prepared a few tips that you can use to communicate with other people successfully without using words.
1. Hand a warm beverage to the person you are talking to.
Experts say that people consider warmth as a very powerful personality trait in social interaction and judgment. Simply put, people react to physical warmth by feeling an increased interpersonal warmth. That means we will judge a person we speak to as generous or caring, without even being aware of it.
Therefore, a good strategy in making someone like you would be handing them a cup of hot tea or coffee before starting the conversation with them.
2. Show that you don’t hide anything with your gestures.
Show that you are honest and open by putting your hands forward with the palms facing up at a 45-degree angle. It’s a way to say that you are laying everything on the table.
Alternate: If you position your hands with the palms facing upward and fingers spread, it will mean that you need something.
3. Keep your hands at your sides
As a general rule, it is recommended that you rest your hands at your sides, as it is a good neutral position. This might feel awkward at first if you are not used to having them at your sides, but this position will look okay to other people. In fact, you will be projecting yourself as a more confident and open person.
If you feel like this position is too forced, try practicing in front of a mirror until it starts feeling more natural.
4. Space matters
Interaction distance can reveal what sort of relationship someone has with their peers. This can apply not only to couples but also to groups. For example, if you see 2 people hanging out with barely any space between them, you know that’s because they’re comfortable sharing their personal space with each other.
5. Avoid clenching your fists
While you may consider this a good option when you don’t know what to do with your hands, closing or locking your fists will actually make you come across as an aggressive person.
The same can be said for other gestures that hide your hands or fingers away. They put you in a more defensive position and it makes it harder for other people to understand your message. Other gestures that involve a partially closed fist, like pointing, are also not recommended for the same reasons.
6. Use the sand pinch gesture to make a point
The sand pinch gesture (bring the tips of your thumb and index finger together as if you were pinching grains of sand with your palm facing downward) can be used when you want to explain something important or want to make a point. It could make you look like a focused, goal-oriented, and thoughtful individual. Plus, it could help the audience remember what you said better.
7. Maintain eye contact most of the time
The sense of vision is the most important one for most people, which makes eye contact essential. Just by looking at someone, you can be communicating a number of different things, such as affection, attraction, or even hostility. It also helps you keep the conversation in check and gauge the other person’s interest as well as their responses.
As an example, you should try to maintain eye contact with someone at least 50% of the time whenever speaking to them, and 70% while listening to what they’re saying. It’ll show them your confidence while also demonstrating your interest. You can take breaks, but try to at least maintain it for 4 to 5 seconds at a time.
8. Read the eyes
The position of the eyes can be connected to our thoughts. Pay close attention to it to figure out what others might be processing in their minds.
- Looking upper right — constructing a visual image in their mind. Liars might look in this direction to create a mental image.
- Looking lateral right — constructing a sound in their head. For example, if someone is lying and saying that they had a conversation or heard something they didn’t, they might look in this direction.
- Looking lower right — remembering the feelings of something.
- Looking upper left — accessing visual memory, trying to remember a picture of something from the past.
- Looking lateral left — accessing sound memory. For example, trying to remember a song or a voice from the past.
- Looking lower left — the person might be engaged in an inner dialogue. This might indicate that they are in the process of deep thought or questioning themselves.
9. Make subtle physical contact
Psychologists say that if we casually touch the person we speak to, it may actually make that person like us more. But it has to be a physical contact that barely gets noticed. If you gently tap someone’s arm or back while passing by, you might be more likely to start a conversation with them or initiate a successful courtship.
Another study has shown that subtle tactile contact on the hand or shoulder also turned out to be an effective approach to getting more restaurant tips.
10. Keep your gestures within your strike zone
Borrowing its meaning from baseball, your strike zone refers to the area where you would gesture when you have your arms relaxed at your sides, your elbows slightly bent, and your hands hovering at waist level. Your gestures will look more natural in this position, as well as making you look confident and calm.
If you need to, you can make wider and bigger gestures that go outside your strike zone, but you should keep it at a minimum to not be distracting.
11. Use open palm gestures
Using palm up gestures is highly beneficial for information retention on the part of the listeners. By gesturing up with your open palms, you are revealing that you have nothing to hide, and you will seem more friendly. Gesturing with your palms down generates the opposite effect, putting you in a more dominant and aggressive position.
What other facts about body language can you share?