Tuesday, November 6, 2007

How to Command Respect through Body Language

Some people are the center of attention wherever they go. They’re not glamorous movie stars, just ordinary people with excellent command over their body language. Here are some pointers to help you emulate these confident people and command respect from those around you.

Improve Your Standing:
Posture can say a lot about a person. Confident people seem to naturally stand tall, while those who slouch look like they're down on themselves. Be sure that you're presenting yourself in a way that commands respect.

What to do:
1. Stand tall, even if you’re the shortest person in the room. Keeping your shoulders pushed back will lend you an air of confidence.
2. Spread your weight evenly on both feet instead of leaning on one. You don’t need to stand at perfect attention, just keep your feet apart so you balance well.
3. Take your hands out of your pockets, or you may be seen like you've got something to hide. Hold them loosely by your side.
4. Stand with your arms crossed behind your back. Your shoulders will get pulled back automatically.

What not to do:
5. Don’t stand with your hands on your hips if you don’t want to come across as confrontational.
6. Don’t shuffle your feet. Pick your feet up and move like you know where you're going.
7. Don’t fidget with your feet. Drawing patterns with one foot on the floor shows you’re not interested in what’s going on.
8. Don't lean against walls or tables. You'll appear tired and lazy.
9. Don’t turn away from the person you’re talking to in the middle of the conversation, otherwise you'll show you’re not interested in continuing it.

Eye Contact:
When holding a conversation, the person you're speaking with should focus on your eyes. They indicate your emotions and can show whether you're paying attention or not. Be considerate of what your eyes tell about you: show others respect and you'll get respect in return.

What to do:
10. Look directly at the person you are talking to in order to exude confidence.

What not to do:
11. Don’t shift your attention to other people or things in the room. It shows deceit.
12. Be careful not to glare at the person talking to you. You may think you look intensely interested, but you just look mad.
13. Don’t blink excessively. People will be distracted and wonder if there's something wrong with you.
14. If you wear glasses, don’t look over the rim. It makes you look condescending.
15. Never wear sunglasses inside, especially during a meeting. Others will wonder if you have something to hide.
16. Don’t look at your watch unless you want to appear as if you're in a rush.
17. Don't rub your eyes with your hands: it signals disbelief at the situation.
18. When you pinch the bridge of your nose with your eyes closed, you'll come across in a negative manner.
19. Keeping your eyes on the door will show that you’re ready to leave the room.

Sitting Pretty:
Your posture while sitting is just as important as standing. Your level of interest in a conversation can be easily read by the position you sit in. Be careful to position yourself in a way that shows you're powerful and actively engaged in what others have to say.

What to do:
20. Sit straight so that your shoulders touch the back of your chair. Slouching promotes the image of laziness.
21. Rest your hands on the arms of your chair, place them on your knees, or fold them on your lap so that they are not a distraction.
22. Make sure your chair is positioned so you’re facing the person you’re talking to. This will show that you're engaged in what they are saying.
23. Lean slightly forward to appear interested in a conversation and stress what you’re saying.

What not to do:
24. Don’t cross your ankles. Some people think it’s a sign that you’ve got something to hide. Sit with your feet on the floor to minimize distractions.
25. Don’t tilt your chair back so that it’s standing on two legs. This shows a very casual, laid back attitude and does not earn you respect. You also run the risk of looking silly when you accidentally fall backwards.
26. Don’t cross your arms across your body. You may come across as disinterested.
27. Stretching your legs out shows you're too relaxed and may also invade others' personal space.
28. Never put your feet up on the desk in front of you. You don’t want to come across as condescending.
29. Ladies, be cautious when crossing your legs. If you'll expose things that are better left to the imagination, refrain from doing so.

Heading for Victory:
The position of your head, the frequency of your breaths, even yawning are indicators of your level of interest in a conversation. Take care to avoid looking as if you're bored or disinterested. If you seem to be involved in what others have to say, they will naturally offer the same to you and build mutual respect.

What to do:
30. Tilting your head to one side during a conversation shows you’re interested and thinking about what's being said.
31. Take regular, even breaths. Heavy breaths are a sure sign that you’re nervous.
32. Be sure to nod your head so the person you're speaking with knows you're listening and interested.

What not to do:
33. Massaging your temples shows you’re either at your wits’ end or that you have a severe headache.
34. Don’t swallow too often; it gives away the fact that you’re not comfortable with the situation.
35. Yawning is an involuntary sign from your body saying that your brain’s bored. You may not have much control over it, but yawning in the middle of a conversation will give away the fact that you’d rather be somewhere else.
36. A blank face conveys either disinterest or a lack of understanding.

Walking into the Limelight:
Carrying yourself in a confident manner is key to commanding respect. Give the impression that you're walking with a purpose so that you'll be admired by others.

What to do:
37. Walk, don’t run. Take even strides.
38. Look ahead or in front of you, not at the floor when you walk.

What not to do:
39. Don’t walk with a swagger; it indicates that you’re cocky and have an attitude.
40. Be careful not to shove people aside as you move across a crowded place: no one respects a rude person.
41. Similarly, avoid stepping on others' toes.

Win, Hands Down:
Hand gestures are great for getting attention or making a point, but be sure that you're not creating a distraction. You want attention to be on your eyes and face while speaking, not on what your hands are doing. Command respect and control the interest of the conversation by keeping your hands in check.

What to do:
42. Open, face-up palms signal honesty and straightforwardness.
43. Gesturing with your arms can help you make a point, but don't do so much that it's distracting.
44. When you stroke your chin, it shows you’re trying to make a decision. Be sure that you want others to know that's what you're doing.
45. Making a steeple out of your hands makes a good impression, as it demonstrates confidence.
46. Shake hands firmly: not too tight or too limp. You don’t want to crush the other person’s hands or come across as unsure of yourself.
47. If the situation calls for paperwork, be sure to keep your papers in order with easy access to avoid looking disorganized.
48. Make sure your palms are clean and dry. Sweaty palms indicate nervousness and are a turn off for most people.
49. If you’re trying to convince someone of your sincerity, touch your open palm to your heart.
50. Rolling up your sleeves signals a casual, get-down-to-work attitude. Roll them up or down according to the situation.
51. Removing your tie, top button, or jacket to indicate you’re getting comfortable in your surroundings.

What not to do:
52. Don’t clench your fists. You'll come off as aggressive.
53. Never point at someone, be it the person talking to you or anyone else in the room. It’s rude.
54. Don’t play or fidget with your mobile phone when someone’s talking to you. It shows avoidance and a lack of interest.
55. Don’t wring your hands: it signals despair.
56. Don’t scratch your head. You'll come across as being unsure of yourself.
57. Don’t touch your nose, play with your hair, or rub your eyes when you’re being asked for an honest answer. They’re all signs that say you’re lying.
58. Don’t tap your fingers on a table or arms of a chair; you'll seem anxious.
59. Don’t run your fingers through your hair. It shows frustration.
60. Don’t doodle on the notepad in front of you, as this indicates boredom.
61. Closing an open mouth with your hands shows you’re shocked at what’s been said or what you’ve seen.
62. Never bite your nails. It will make you seem nervous.
63. Don’t fidget with objects lying on the table in front of you.
64. Don’t chew on a pencil or pen when talking to someone. It's unattractive and distracting.
65. Don’t sit with your palms on your cheeks. It shows you’re deep in thought about something else.
66. Don’t clench the arms of your chair or your handbag too tightly. You'll portray yourself as nervous.
67. Don’t rub your hands together: it shows you're too eager.
68. Avoid a two-handed handshake. It’s usually connected to politicians who are not very sincere.
69. Do not wipe your palms on your clothing. Use a handkerchief instead.
70. If you pull at your ear, you may indicate that you're lying.
71. Don’t shake your fists at someone, as it is extremely aggressive.
72. Clenched fists raised in the air will indicate that you’re overjoyed or thrilled. Avoid doing this when situations call for restraint.

A Matter of Manners:
Practicing common courtesy is a basis for earning respect from others. If you're rude, people will avoid talking and working with you. Be polite to ensure you're putting your best foot forward.

What to do:
73. When you need to offer comfort, a one-armed squeeze, gentle hug, or a pat on the shoulder helps, depending on how close you are to the other person.
74. Open doors and allow others to walk before you.
75. Cough and sneeze into your hands or a handkerchief, not into the face of the people around you.

What not to do:
76. A handshake that goes on for an extended period of time may be considered inappropriate.
77. Ruffling someone’s hair may seem like you’re being genuinely affectionate, but in a formal setting, it suggests you’re being condescending.
78. Don’t shout when you’re on the phone. Talk in a calm, volume-controlled voice.
79. Don’t huddle into a corner with your mobile phone while in a crowd of people. Get out and mingle instead. Keep your private conversations for a time when you’re alone.
80. Don’t mock someone’s mannerisms when you think they’re not watching.
81. Avoid taking a phone call when you're in the middle of a discussion.
82. If you have a cold, don’t blow your nose loudly in public.
83. Never wipe your nose with your hands or sleeves.
84. Don’t scratch your itches, not matter how much you’re tempted to. You'll make people wonder if you have a rash.
85. Don’t multi-task in the middle of a conversation. It doesn't show dexterity, only callousness.
86. Don’t slam doors, no matter how angry you are.
87. Don’t snap or clap your hands to call someone over.
88. Don’t burp/belch loudly in public.
89. Don’t lick your lips too often. You may jut be wetting them, but it indicates nervousness, or worse, sexual aggression.
90. Don’t make faces or stick your tongue out behind someone’s back. It’s childish and rude.

Take a Good Look at Yourself:
Carefully examining the way you present yourself can help you discover areas in which you may need improvement. Carefully groom your mannerisms and outward appearance to make your best impression and command respect.

What to do:
91. Practice your mannerisms in front of a mirror so that you can discover your weak areas.
92. Additionally, try videotaping your actions so you can find out where you’re going wrong.
93. Look at others who command respect and imitate their actions.
94. Look good. You don’t have to be conventionally handsome or beautiful; it’s enough to dress neatly in clothes that suit both you and the occasion.
95. Smell good. Use deodorant and perfume, but go easy on it. You don’t want to overpower the room with your scent.
96. Keep your fingernails clean. Close cropped nails show you’re neat and orderly, but if you prefer to wear them long, make sure they’re groomed neatly.
97. Wear footwear that allows you to walk comfortably to avoid making a fool of yourself.
98. Keep your work area and personal space neat and tidy. Avoid clutter and dust.

What not to do:
99. Avoid revealing, dirty or wrinkled clothing.
100. Don't wear too much makeup. Keep it to a minimum.
101. And last, but not least, always smile. Smiles are contagious. When you smile, others can't help but smile back and feel positively towards you.

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