How to Make a Good Impression Without Saying a Word
8 body language tips you need to know
Say you’re interviewing for your dream job. We’re talking corner office and cold-brew coffee on tap. You’ve gone through your talking points no fewer than 76 times. You’re ready. Or are you? Turns out, what you do with your body says as much--if not more--about you than your actual words. Whether it’s a job interview or the first PTA meeting of the year, familiarize yourself with these eight body language tips to show you’ve got yourself together.
Perfect your posture
Aim to sit or stand up straight, but not so straight that you seem rigid and uncomfortable. Pull your shoulders slightly back, engage your core and imagine your head being gently pulled upward by a string.
Strike a (power) pose
Remember that viral TED Talk about power posing? Yeah, well, do that. Stand with your chest open, kind of like a superhero. As for your hands, you’re not going to go full-on Wonder Woman and place them on your hips. But you should at least avoid putting them near your face and mouth, which makes you seem nervous or self-conscious.
Don’t cross your arms--unless you’re in a group
Scientifically, crossing your arms forces you to engage both sides of your brain, making it easier to focus and solve problems. Problem is, when you’re one on one, crossing your arms makes it seem like you’re shutting yourself off. In a group, however, crossing your arms signifies that you’re listening intently.
Make eye contact--but not too much
This one’s all about balance. A lack of eye contact conveys disinterest, but too much eye contact conveys…that you’re creepy. Maintain steady bouts of contact with the person you’re talking to (shoot for 50 to 60 percent), but look somewhere else when formulating your thoughts. It will seem much more natural than staring into someone’s eyes while you’re thinking. (Ew.)
Lean in--but not too much
Similar to making eye contact, leaning in requires restraint. Tilt your body slightly toward theirs, but be careful not to encroach on their personal space. No one likes a close talker, but a subtle lean shows that you’re interested and engaged. If you can smell the onion bagel they had for breakfast, you’ve gone too far.
Use props wisely
If holding a soy latte while chatting makes you feel more comfortable (let’s face it, who really knows what to do with their hands?), be aware of where you hold the cup. It should be closer to your waist, since holding an object near your eyes and mouth makes seems like you’re putting up a physical barrier between you and another person.
Talk with your hands
Studies have shown that talking with your hands improves your thinking process. It also shows whomever you’re talking to that you believe in what you’re saying, therefore making you appear more credible.
Be a copycat
Mimic the motions of the person you’re talking to. Taking note of someone’s behavior and subtly mirroring it signifies that you’re in agreement or on the same team. Just be sure not to be too obvious--we don’t want things to get weird up in here.