A Crash Course in Body Language, Part 2

Body language provides an estimated 50% to 70% of the totality of human expressions. We speak not only with our words but also with our facial expressions, hand gestures, postures, etc.

Only a handful knows this but we are actually revealing more about ourselves through our body language than through our words. Verbal language is very controlled and it actually requires more cognitive resources than body language.

A person can tell the truth or try to deceive other people through verbal language because often, it springs from the conscious or waking half of the human mind. It’s different when it comes to body language.

I am not saying that we do not have any control over our body language but if you are feeling a negative emotion or if you are thinking of something bad about your audience, these ill thoughts and emotions will manifest in your body language and it would be very difficult indeed to control your expressions.

As an influencer, you have to exert extra effort to make sure that your body language is positive and effective all the time. That is what we are going to focus on today – we are going to explore the various ways that you can express good body language in any situation so you can get the results that you want.

Expert body language tips

Avoid putting your fingers or your hand anywhere near your mouth when you are talking. Some people think that putting their hand near their mouth is a sign of deep thinking or seriousness but in reality, it is a variation of the mouth-cover gesture.

The mouth-cover gesture first emerges when a person is in toddlerhood and continues into adulthood, albeit in a more toned down appearance. Do you remember how kids usually react when they are caught doing something that they should not be doing?

The usual reaction is usually to put their fingers near their mouths. It is an instinctual gesture that is believed to be the mind’s reaction to a lie. The fingers are put up there to prevent the mouth from speaking a fallacy.

In adulthood, this gesture is slightly modified. Only one or two fingers are brought up near the mouth when someone is speaking something that is only partially true or may not be the whole truth.

Never place your hands below the navel area when you are speaking. The horizontal plane below the navel is a gray area and is never used to express anything sincere or good.

To prove this, try saying “I care for you” while your hands are below the navel area. Then try saying “I care for you” while raising your hands at navel area. How did your words feel when you changed the position of your hands?

There are times when we feel that we need to express genuineness and sincerity to our audience. How can you express sincerity with just your body language?

The easiest way to do this is to gesture from the level of the navel. The navel area has been traditionally touted as the center of a person’s internal power and balance.

Gesturing from this region gives people a feeling of calm and authority that would otherwise be hard to feel especially if the speaker is feeling nervous or agitated about something. You could say that this area will give you an unlimited amount of calm and sincerity when you need to speak.

If you need to increase or decrease the intensity or excitement of what you are saying, all you have to do is to gesture from the chest are. Gesturing below the chest area lowers the intensity of what you are saying while raising it at the level of the heart or above it also raises the intensity of your expressions.

For maximum intensity, you can raise your arms above your head – but I have to warn you that this gesture is usually not acceptable in formal meetings so use it sparingly. Most messages can be conveyed with a simple gesture from the chest area, for added impact.

Never try to fake your body language – because your body doesn’t like telling lies. Even if you are able to fake smiles or laughter, your body will be sending out micro signals through your eyes and even through the color of your skin to reveal what you are really thinking and feeling deep down.

Inversely you can try catching deceit by double checking all of the body language signals that are being sent out by a subject. Do not be deceived by smiling or laughter because there are other ways to spot if the other person is not being completely truthful to you.

When explaining something to people, gesture often with open palms. The open palm is used to signify two things: one, you are not a threat and two, you are being honest.

When the palms are hidden from plain sight, the impression is that you are hiding something or you are not telling the truth. In ancient times, the concealed palm is synonymous with a concealed weapon and this can easily breed mistrust between people. Gesturing with an open palm is also an excellent way to establish rapport with your audience since your aura will be honest and open.

Handshakes are often used to signify authority and social status. The fastest way to influence another person is to make the other person feel that you are of equal social status or you have done what you can to raise his socials status.

How can this be expressed through a simple handshake? When you reach out to shake someone’s hand, make sure that you palm is parallel to his palm. The intensity of the shake should be firm but not crushing. Two to three pumps is good.

If the other person has a weak grip, lower the intensity of your shaking. If his hand feels limp (a sign that he feels subdued or inferior), correct the position of his hand immediately with your other hand and say “Let’s try that again” and shake his hand.

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