If you want to become successful, then it is imperative that you hone in on your bodily-language. I’d go as far to say that it’s just as important — even more important at times — than vocal language because it subconsciously conveys how you really feel, even when your words might not. Since the emergence of this fact, people have been polishing their own body language as well as their ability to detect them in others.
This has sprung popular TV shows such as Lie to me, best selling books like The Definite Book of Body Language, and numerous websites dedicated to the cause. We thought that since everyone with their eye on success — whether in business, relationships and so on — is capitalising on this new wave of non-verbal’s, we should compose a list of 10 body language secrets every successful person knows, and give them to you. Apply these in day to day life and you’ll be rocketing to success without having to say a word.
Some call this basic, I call it fundamental. We all know that smiling is a great tool in gaining instant trust and acceptance from others, however the key is knowing when it is appropriate. When meeting someone new or giving feedback to a boss, yes. When discussing why you failed to hit your quota for the month, or why your relationship isn’t working, no. Smiling when inappropriate conveys insecurity and a lack of confidence. Know when to smile, a fundamental key.
If there is anything which shows submission when first interacting with someone, it’s this. A weak handshake shows a weak person, and weak people are rarely successful. A job interview, a business venture, meeting possible partners, you name it, just don’t take this to an extreme and turn it into a squeezing match. Bonus tip: when shaking hands with someone rotate your wrist so that your hand is slightly on top of theirs, a subconscious display of dominance.
People sure love to be listened to, it shows respect, interest and trust. Now whilst solid eye-contact can be great, it can be overly-intense. Using what’s called the facial triangle not only helps to lower the intensity of a gaze, but by rotating between the two eyes and the mouth, you show that you are reading their lips, a sign of intimate attention. What’s great about this is that it applies to every direct communication scenario you can think of. Watch as peoples trust in you rockets.
We all know this one, the universal sign for anxiety and stress. This displays that you can’t handle the work set out for you, or are worried about how your work/image/business is being received, and if you lack confidence in yourself, others will lack confidence in you also. Successful people don’t do this (not publicly at least), they show security and strength even when the odds are against them.
If you want to come across as interesting, intelligent and confident, then you should adopt this trademark gesture. Also known as the “Merkel-Raute”, this is a favourite amongst politicians as it shows that they can (according to them) be trusted with important duties. This works better in more formal environments, use it when talking to your superiors and watch your credibility go skywards. Tip: Don’t lower your steeple mid-conversation as this shows a sudden loss in confidence.
Whilst it’s great to be on equal terms with people, whether they are your boss or your employees, it’s damaging to pretend that you agree, when in truth you completely disagree. This is the employee who nods uncontrollably whilst their boss lay’s blame on them. Don’t be afraid to show a curious, or even a bewildered expression when a false statement is made, then follow it up with your reasons. There are some crazy people out there, if you’re not disagreeing with some of them then you’re probably doing it wrong.
Yes, this is the superhero’s go-to pose — and for good reason — because it literally powers you up! Research has shown that they not only make others perceive you as confident and powerful, but that it makes you feel just that. Practising power poses before a high-stakes scenario raises your bodies testosterone levels, whilst decreasing cortisol levels (your stress hormone). In business, successful people know the incredible power of this pose, a confidence booster not only in yourself, but in others opinions of you.
This one can mean a multitude of things, and they’re all negative. From fear, anxiety, distrust, ignorance to contempt, not facing someone — let alone making eye contact — when you’re engaging with them will see that your success stays a product of your imagination. Success is more often than not a team effort, and if you can’t build a team who is even fond of you, the only way you’re going is down. Don’t be ignorant, you wouldn’t appreciate someone doing this to you.
Nothing says sloppy like someone who can’t even carry themselves physically, let alone mentally. Poor posture is often a product of our lifestyles, too much time sitting or craning your neck over your phone for instance. Not only is it bad for your health but it’s bad for your appearance and your respect. It’s hard for others to see you as equal or as a superior when you’re foreheads facing the floor. You’ll add a couple of inches to your height, and perhaps some zero’s to your pay-check.
It’s hard to take someone who is overly flamboyant seriously, exaggerating your gestures in an effort to come across as enthusiastic or confident will only cause others to think the contrary. There is no shame in remaining reserved, in fact it is often a sign of maturity and mystery. Successful people know not to be boisterous if they want to remain respected. Though you may want to appear energetic for that job interview, too much is overkill.