The subtleties of something like body language can have a significant effect on any situation, not just your dating life! In the context of work and business, you can do and say all the right things, but if your body language causes concerns then you’re getting nowhere. Although this might seem unfair, the physiological issues behind certain types of body language actually do make sense. If you want to make sure your body language isn’t holding you back then watch out for the following:
1. Crossing your arms. This is always taken as a sign of defensiveness and self-protection and most people will also glean a resistance to ideas, cynicism or even anger from this kind of body language. If you’re standing up then let your arms hang by your side and if you’re sitting then just have your hands in your lap so that nothing is forming a barrier between you and the other person.
2. Eye contact. Most people would assume that someone who cannot look them in the eye has something to hide or is not being truthful. You may just be painfully shy but if you can’t initiate and maintain eye contact you also risk appearing uninterested and unconfident. Regular eye contact is key but there’s no need to stare – remember to blink and allow yourself to look away occasionally so that the eye contact feels natural.
3. Physically withdrawing. This could be one of two types of body language: either physically shrinking or turning away from the person you’re interacting. The former – hunching down, slouching, or sitting small – will demonstrate a lack of confidence and perhaps even poor motivation and laziness; the latter – where your body is angled away from the person you’re talking to – shows disinterest in the conversation and an inability to engage. Sit up straight, turn your body towards the other person and try to gently mimic their gestures to demonstrate you’re in harmony with each other.
4. The smile. There’s nothing more damaging, body language-wise, than a fake smile but a genuine smile is a winner in terms of coming across as approachable and trustworthy. Try to avoid forced smiling and work on smiling with more than just your mouth – the eyes are particularly important, as a fake smile never makes it to this part of the face.
Body language really is worth considering if you want to avoid subconscious signs holding you back. In the same way that you can jeopardize a business transaction as much as you can a date with bad body language, once you get it right body language can be a huge asset.