How to Make yourself more Appealing with Body Language

Mar 20 09:07 2009 Sandra Prior Print This Article

Alter your body language to look and feel instantly sexier and more confident.

Ask someone how humans communicate and it’s likely they’ll answer,Guest Posting ‘With words’. The truth is, we signal around 12 things silently for every message delivered verbally. Almost all researchers agree 65% of communication is through non verbal body language – lots claim it’s more like 90%.

Some of these body language signals we’re conscious of making – giving a friend the thumbs up after they’ve made a great speech or winking at someone to share a private joke. Most, we’re not. We all subconsciously send out a constant stream of other gestures that reveal our innermost thoughts and feelings. The way we walk, stand, sit, and hold ourselves reflects our perspective on life and how it’s treated us. First impressions are hard to shake because they’re often accurate – our body language reflects our personality in ways most of us aren’t even aware of.

If you find all that a bit alarming, join the club. When I was first presented with this evidence, I too wanted to sit on my hands and not move a muscle ever again. Especially not in front of anyone I remotely fancied. Did this mean the guy sitting next to me at work could read my mind? Were my secret fantasies written all over my face? The answer is yes. If he knew enough about body language, he probably would be able to see through the ultra-cool facade to spot the true emotions (lust and infatuation) jostling just below the surface. Blimey. How embarrassing is that? Then something else occurred to me: if he can ‘read’ what I'm really thinking, then I must be able to read him. And for anyone who's ever thought, ‘I wonder if they fancy me?’ this is damn handy.

There's even more good news. Reading body language isn't just priceless when you're on the pull, interpreting your own body language can help you recognize hidden emotions. It also makes you aware of what signals you're sending others, helping you understand their reactions to you. Positively adjusting or actively altering your body language can drastically up your chances of someone liking, loving, or respecting you, often allowing you to get what you want without saying a word. How? Understanding body language allows you to gather information about people's feelings which they're too shy, polite, or uptight to admit or aren't even aware of themselves. An eyebrow flash lets you know someone fancies you before they've even registered the thought themselves. Fancy a flingette? Want a long-term partner? Want to make yourself generally more popular, confident, and authoritative? I can't think of a more effective way to do it than to master the art of body language.

This simply means if you alter your body language, you can alter your attitude, perceptions, and emotions.

How it Can Work for You

Because our body language reflects our personality, it follows that particular gestures and behaviors are associated with particular personalities. The simplest example is this: happy people smile, angry people frown. Put a smile on your face and people will assume you're happy, frown and they'll assume you're not. If you therefore imitate or adopt the body language gestures of the personality you'd like to have, you'll be seen as having that personality. Let's say you're shy. Act confident - stand up straight and look people in the eye -and people will think you're confident because that's how confident people behave. Now here's the magical part: because you're acting confident, people will now think you are. Never mind that inside you're a complete mess, all they see is a cool, confident exterior. This affects the way they react to you.

Confident people get asked for their opinions, so it's likely you will be too. While you're a bit nervous because this doesn't normally happen, you'll probably manage to volunteer something and – ‘Wow! I did it" - suddenly feel a little bit important. You start to feel confident and the chain reaction continues. Initially you're faking it - pretending to be something your not. Do it long enough, and your body language will reflect the real you because you've become that person.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for working on the cause not the symptom: you do need to address the issues that made you shy in the first place, as well as work on your body language. But whoever said there was an order to how we improve ourselves? We think too much sometimes. So how about you bypass the brain for a bit, forget about what you feel like on the inside and instead work on an outward illusion? Personally, I think it's more sensible.

Change your body language and the mind often follows. Walk tall and your self-esteem lifts as well. Facial expressions are equally as mood-altering. It's called ‘the facial feedback effect’: our expressions reinforce the emotion that caused them because the position of our facial muscles feeds information back to our brain. Stretch your mouth into a smile and the brain registers that we're smiling and releases the hormonal response that usually accompanies a real smile, feeling happy. Our ‘happy face’ and ‘feeling happy’ works backwards as well as forwards.

It’s Okay to Fake It

Hopefully, this goes some way to answering those who think it's being ‘false’ to use body language or anything else that improves our external appearance because ‘it's what's inside that counts’ and ‘it's bad or manipulative to pretend to be something you're not.’ Listen, I'm all for letting it all hang out once people get to know each other, but I vehemently believe, for certain situations like dates, job interviews, meeting the parents, it's in everyone's interest to present themselves in the best possible light. Most people make an effort to look good and be on their best behavior in those circumstances - particularly on a date. With good reason. What's underneath is important, but you've got to look OK and get the body language right for them to want to stick around and see what else you've got to offer.

Of course there will always be skeptics. Someone who says, ‘I crossed my arms just then because I was cold not defensive. See? I tricked you.’ Not. You can't read someone based on one body language gesture - everyone has their own personalized body language. The idea is to look for clusters of gestures - lots of things pointing towards the same conclusion - rather than just one thing.

It’s not an infallible science and it certainly won't tell you everything – we need words as well. But it is an astonishingly perceptive and elective way to gather information. It could even help you predict the future of your relationship. Psychologist and relationships guru John Gottman studied 700 married couples over a long period. Part of his research involved videotaping the couples discussing stressful issues in their relationship or reminiscing about how they met.

Afterwards, he analyzed their body language, focusing on facial expressions ; (including real vs. fake smiles, curled upper lips, and rolling eyes). Based on what he learnt from this, Gottman was then able to predict with 75% accuracy whether a couple would divorce within six s, simply by analyzing three minutes of body language interaction on video. Give him 15 minutes and his accuracy score climbs to 85%. Now that's impressive!

Walking the Walk

We all lead with a part of our body when we walk - it's the bit that looks as though it's being pulled forwards, ahead of everything else. Lead with your shoulders and you'll look protective and fearful. Lead with your knees and your legs look like they're carrying you places you don't want to go. If your chest enters the room before you do, you're at a risk of appearing pushy. The two best options for maximum effectiveness? A neutral walk - where no body part leads - or to lead with your pelvis. For the most dramatic results combine an exaggerated roll of the hips with squared shoulders, saucily swinging arms, direct eye contact and an ultra-confident facial expression.

Rolling hips: An exaggerated hip-swinging walk sends a powerful me-Jane, you-Tarzan sexual signal. Anatomical differences mean women have a greater rolling action of the pelvis. Switched-on females know rolling hips draw attention to hips, bum, and genitals and can mean the difference between attracting attention or being ignored.

Head held high: The higher our self-esteem, the higher we hold ourselves (actual height doesn't matter; it's presence and attitude that counts). A confident, raised head is a typical high-status display of a dominant individual.

Mirroring: Copying someone's walk is one of the quickest ways to glean clues of their true character. By imitating and getting ‘in step’ with another person for mere minutes, you can understand their world and get a good taste of what it feels like to be them. Walk in a stressed person's shoes - fast, with purpose, looking straight ahead - and you'll start to feel anxious. Mirror an ambler and the anxiety dissolves into a hazy whatever-whenever horizon.

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Sandra Prior
Sandra Prior

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