Positive body language requires awareness and practice, but it is a brilliant tool to improve one’s image and create favourable first impressions.
Whether it’s a job interview, a date, or a social gathering, experts agree that body language comes top in communication. Look at ease, and others will feel at ease, look tense or bored, and restlessness will spread. It’s all about empathy, often at a subconscious level, but it’s a part of human behaviour nevertheless.
Mind and body are intimately linked, and the one is always affecting the other. That’s good news, as the mind may run wild, but the body responds to habit and, as such, is easier to control. It’s believed that if one practices positive body talks every day in a private setting, sooner or later, the auto-pilot is switched on.
Body Language First Impressions, Confidence and Image
Posture reveals how one feels about the self and creates the very first impressions. Later, it reflects how one responds to a particular situation, be it flattery, criticism, or stress. Some say it’s the most important element in body language.
Standing should reflect balance and natural alignment of the head and spine. Back straight, head up, shoulders down is good, but the body must stay relaxed. Practice the correct posture daily in front of a mirror, preferably with your back against a wall, to highlight and correct any quirkiness or bad habits. If that’s not practical, work with a friend and exchange advice.
Sitting should also appear relaxed, though not sloppy, to show quiet confidence, attention, and welcome. Avoid crossing arms or legs, a defensive gesture, and fidgeting, a sign of nerves. Sitting still can be difficult; many find it beneficial to practice in the privacy of the home.
Body Talk, Eye Contact, and Facial Expressions
Facial expressions arrive at a close second when it comes to positive body talk. Most important are eyes and mouth, where messages vary according to cultural or social contexts. Decide what is appropriate and what impression you wish to convey, friendly, professional, a sexual invite?
As a rule of thumb, eye contact expresses interest, honesty, and ease, and a smile is more inviting than a frown. Beware of facial tension, which detracts from good looks and betrays anxiety or discomfort. Look in the mirror as often as you can, put a smile on your face, relax your muscles, and let this become second nature.
It’s important to ensure facial expressions are consistent with the words you use; it’s good to smile, but it’s okay to be stern if the situation demands it.
Look and Feel Good, Space and Body Language
Confident people are comfortable with the space around them. To look and feel good, learn to use space and move with ease, even across an empty room. If nerves come to the fore, don’t panic; just take a deep breath and resort to affirmations, such as I am totally relaxed, I look wonderful, and so on. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it, practice on a regular basis, and enjoy the difference.
Finally, set aside 10 or 15 minutes to list the little mannerisms which might detract from the image you wish to project. Hands in pocket, nose scratching, fiddling with earrings or hair all send negative messages to others and the self. Get rid of them, and as the body adopts a more positive behaviour, the mind will follow suit, and confidence and image are sure to improve.