Body Language

How Your Body Language Affects Others (and You)

Ever thought about your body language and what it’s saying to others?

Think of the most charismatic or engaging person you know and ask yourself, what is it that makes people so drawn to them? Is it their smile? Their outgoing personality or sense of humour perhaps? This may surprise you, but it’s actually their body language.

The wallflower doesn’t stand out

One thing is for sure, they’re not the wallflower that fades into the background feeling unsure of themselves. (Not that I have anything against wallflowers – in fact, I spent most of my life as one and if you’re an introvert, you’ve likely spent time on the wall too.)

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash body language

Big and small matters y’all

We innately get bigger in our bodies when we feel a sense of pride or accomplishment, but get smaller in our bodies when we feel defeated, insecure or ashamed and this sends a strong message to others.

To look and feel confident, your body language must show it.

Body language hack #1

The easiest way for you to portray confidence is to own the space around you by standing or sitting tall. Keep your arms loose and relaxed by your side or place hands on your hips. Relax your shoulders and open up across your chest. These expansive postures will show others that you’re sure of yourself. Beware of low power postures, such as crossing your arms or turtling your shoulders to your ears as this can signal defeat and give the wrong impression to those around you.

I’ve written another blog about body language and confidence that you can read here: https://jennifergriggcoaching.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2297&action=edit

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash body language power pose

Body language hack #2

Confident people also know the power of eye contact. To increase your confidence, be sure to look people in the eye as you are speaking AND as they are speaking. Too often we look away, check our phone or scope out the rest of the room. This is not only rude, but very low confident.

Think eyes are the windows to the soul? Check out this article on scienceofpeople.com that includes a quiz to see how good you are at reading the eyes. https://www.scienceofpeople.com/read-people-eyes/

Photo by Andrii Podilnyk on Unsplash eye contact body language

Body language hack #3

Be mindful of the way that you carry yourself. Pay attention to how you walk, sit and stand and how you move through space. Whether you’re at home alone or at a social gathering, this awareness sends a powerful nonverbal cue. Carry yourself with pride in an open posture as mentioned above. When you do this, you look incredibly focused, confident, put together and charismatic.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash body language

Your body language affects you and it affects the people around you. It sends powerful cues to others and it’s something that you can adjust in the blink of an eye.

What could be better than that?

2 Comments

  • Bruce Lacillade, M.A.

    Thanks for body language hacks.
    The one about looking people in the eyes caught my attention.
    I’m retired from a 25 year fire service career with Burlington Fire. I am also a Vietnam Veteran.
    PTSD ended my Fire Service career.
    I now provide pastoral care to Vets and First Responders. Back to the eyes. I always look a person in the eyes when in conversation. However, I also ‘still’ feel to need to scan the room/ area for threats.
    Your thoughts on this?

    • JGcoaching

      Hi Bruce!
      Let me start by thanking you for the years given to the fire service, and for your courage and dedication to your country when you were in Vietnam. I can’t even imagine what you’ve been through.
      I too experienced ptsd, depression and anxiety, stemming from childhood trauma and further from my two decades in the fire service. Studying body language and becoming a trainer was the catalyst in me overcoming my anxiety and building my confidence, with years of therapy prior to that, of course. 😉
      As for your question about eye contact, research shows that the ideal amount of eye contact is 60%, and I’ve come across stats that suggest maintaining eye contact 50% of the time while speaking and 70% of the time while listening. Ideally, it’s a difficult thing to measure and it comes down to your comfort level. In your case, just being aware of the protective impulse to scan the room may alleviate some of the need to do it. Ultimately, I’m sure you’re quiet adept at decoding other people’s body language and engagement and would sense if they feel uncomfortable at all with the amount of eye contact you give them. I’d love to chat further about this if you’re open to it!

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