You adapt your body language depending on where, when, and with whom you’re talking. The language includes how you sit, stand, gesture with your arms and hands, how you raise your eyebrows, and every little movement you make. Henrik Edberg shares this guide to learning and improving your body language.

  1. Don’t cross your arms and legs, as it sends across the message that you’re defensive or closed-off to the other person’s opinions.
  2. Maintain eye contact, as it strengthens connection. If you’re talking to several people, look from one person to the other.
  3. Take up a little bit more space; it communicates self-confidence. If you sit tight in a corner, you send across uneasiness and lack of confidence. Sit or stand with legs apart.
  4. Loosen up your shoulders and relax them by moving them back slightly. They signal tension if your shoulders are slightly up and positioned forward. Sit with a straight back, but in a relaxed and slightly backward manner. The head must be aligned with your straight back. Don’t crane your neck forward.
  5. Occasionally nod while the speaker is making a point. This shows that you’re listening. Choose appropriately when to nod.
  6. To show that you’re interested, lean forward a little (not too much). If you lean too much, it shows that you’re desperate. Lean back a little to look relaxed. Leaning back too much will make you look over-confident or arrogant.
  7. Relax, smile, and laugh. Laughing first at your own joke suggests that you’re nervous. Smiling too much will make you look insincere.
  8. Don’t stare at the floor while you’re talking.
  9. Vary the pace of your speech. Talk clearly and at a normal rate. Too slow, and you’ll lose your listener’s interest. Talking too fast makes you sound nervous. Talking calmly makes you sound confident.
  10. Don’t make extra movements, like fidgety legs or rapid tapping of your fingers. It’s distracting and shows that you’re a bundle of nerves.
  11. Have control of your hands. Use them to make a point instead of scratching your head or tapping the table.
  12. When holding a glass, lower it beside your leg instead of holding it in front of your chest. You’ll come across as distant or aloof if you hold something between your heart and the listener.
  13. Keep a decent space between you and your listeners. Don’t freak them out by invading their personal space.
  14. Observe the cue that the other person is sending. If you get along really well, you tend to mirror each other’s body language.
  15. Keep an open mind about other people and their ideas. How you think about them is translated through body language.

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You might think that this guide tells you how to fake your real thoughts and intention, but that’s not its intent. The guide merely tells you to be more aware of your stance because it reveals to other people how you truly feel even when they do not fully understand how they caught the impression. This guide will help you catch the signal before you unwittingly send it.