Top 6 Body Language Tips for Success in 2016
The Steeple: The steeple is made with the fingers pressed together and pointing toward the sky – resembling a church steeple. The steeple gesture signifies confidence, power, and authority. If you want to get your point across to a friend or co-worker, whip out the steeple. This silent gesture conveys the message that you’re confident in your delivery and you have wisdom to share. It subconsciously tells the receiver that you indeed know what you’re talking about, even if you don’t. Warning: Don’t use when building rapport because it can seem arrogant. Do use at the end of a job interview or end of a date!
2. Fronting: We show agreement, liking, and loyalty by aligning the upper body with that, e.g.,
of our boss. It is often possible to identify the most powerful (i.e., highest status) person
seated at seated at a conference table by the relative number of torsos aimed in his or her
direction. While the less influential may glance freely about, and turn their heads toward
colleagues as they speak, their torsos remain loyally oriented to the individual they most
respect. Aiming the upper body conveys greater feelings of liking (i.e., of immediacy) than
when the body is angled away. A non-aligned, parallel orientation discloses neutral or
passive moods which may grade into disliking or disagreement.
3. Palms: Palms up vs. Palms down – When you ask someone about their vacation with your
palms downs you are saying, “I don’t want to hear about what you did and by the way we
talked about you in the office while you were away!” I use this gesture with my kids when I
want them to stop doing something or when they were little and would get close to the
street. You see this used in law enforcement when they say, “Get down on the ground!” The
palm down gesture is aggressive! You do it when you are trying to get someone’s attention
to stop immediately. Who do you know who used it….. Hitler! Instead – use a palm up
gesture. It makes you likeable and says give me what you’ve got because I am giving up I
have. You are showing your hands which increases trust and builds instant rapport which
will ultimately get you what you want; therefore increase your success!
4. Barriers: Physical obstructions are especially detrimental to collaborative efforts.
Take away anything that blocks your view or forms a barrier between you and the rest of
the team. Even during a coffee break, be aware that you may create a barrier by holding
your cup and saucer in a way that seems deliberately to block your body or distance you
from others. A senior executive told me he could evaluate his team’s comfort by how high
they held their coffee cups. It was his observation that the more insecure individuals felt,
the higher they held their coffee. People with their hands held at waist level were more
comfortable than those with hands chest high instead.
5. Power Pose: Research at Harvard and Columbia Business Schools shows that simply holding
your body in expansive, “high-power” poses (leaning back with hands behind the head and
feet up on a desk, or standing with legs and arms stretched wide open) for as little as two
minutes stimulates higher levels of testosterone—the hormone linked to power and
dominance—and lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.
Try this when you’re feeling tentative but want to appear confident. In addition to causing
hormonal shifts in both males and females, these poses lead to increased feelings of power
and a higher tolerance for risk. The study also found that people are more often influenced
by how they feel about you than by what you're saying.
6. Mirroring – Often when you get along with a person, when the two of you get a good
connection, you will start to mirror each other unconsciously. That means that you mirror
the other person’s body language a bit. To make the connection better you can try a bit of
proactive mirroring. If he leans forward, you might lean forward. If she holds her hands on
her thighs, you might do the same. But don’t react instantly and don’t mirror every change
in body language. Then weirdness will ensue.