Body language is an interesting thing. The impact of a smile, the message of a slouch or crossed arms. A simple overview:
The most obvious pointer concerns what you do with your arms. Crossing your arms over your chest indicates a defensive, almost hostile attitude. People will be afraid to approach you or think that you’re closed-off this way. Your arms form a “blockade” keeping you at a distance from others.
When people have an unfavourable impression of you, they develop a schema (a sort of script) on how to converse or interact with you before you even meet. Keep your arms at your side, or if you’re holding a drink, don’t be afraid to switch hands once in awhile to reach out and speak with people.
If you’re sitting, you may think crossing your legs is comfortable or attractive, but the truth is that you’re subconsciously sending out signals that you’re a bit closed off.
This has the same logic as crossing your arms – it’s a subconscious signal you’re sending to tell people that you’re not sociable.
This is a simple one. Don’t wring your hands – it’s a dead giveaway that you’re nervous or anxious. One trick is to hold a drink in your hand. Not only does this make you seem more sociable, it stops you from wringing them!
When shaking hands with others, make sure you have a firm grip. A sloppy handshake can do more damage to interpersonal relationships than you think.
Believe it or not, the position of your torso when speaking to people says a lot about you. Make sure your entire body faces a person when you’re talking to them. This way, you convey a feeling of friendliness and it tells others that you’re giving them your full attention.
Lastly, your facial expression is essential to the image that you project. It’s especially important because most people don’t even realize what their faces are saying to others about them since people are not looking in the mirror all the time.
A few weeks back I was at a meeting and the person called me out, stating that they found my defensive body language very interesting. In that case, they were completely right, because the topic was bugging me. Great observation.