Body Language in Special Circumstances
Below I give a brief overview of some tips for people in love, people in business, human resource and sales as well as some advice for public speakers.
Interactions Between Men and Women: Dating, Romance and Love.
Courtship is one of the most difficult and nerve-ridden times of our lives. If you are trying to meet the love of your life, or just looking for a good time, body language can change the way you interact. The tips below will help give you an edge in the dating scene.
Like Marilyn Monroe, women who are trying to entice a man tend to raise their
eyebrows and lower their lids because it looks similar to the face women make
when they orgasm.
• Looking up and to the side at a man is another 'come hither' look from a woman to a man.
• A sideways glance over a raised shoulder highlights curves and the roundness of the female face. This signifies estrogen and exposes the vulnerability of the neck and releases pheromones. Women instinctively do this when trying to flirt.
Interesting Fact: Women pluck their eyebrows higher up their forehead because it makes them look more helpless. This is attractive to men because a women’s helplessness causes hormone release in a man's brain connected with protecting and defending the female.
Women toss their hair or touch their neck when flirting because it exposes the
armpit, which releases sex hormones, shows the curvature of the neck and highlights shiny healthy hair.
• A woman’s outer genitals are proportionate to her lips. This is called self-mimicry and it helps attract males. Women call attention to their lips by wearing glossy or bright coloured lipstick..
Oddly, a limp wrist or exposed wrists are a sign of sexual submission and both women and gay men tend to do this subconsciously when in a room with people
they want to attract. This is why while smoking, many women hold the cigarette
with one wrist turned out and exposed.
Women are better at sending and picking up body language cues than men. In fact, researcher Monika Moore found men often miss a women's first eye-gazing courtship signal. On average women need to eye-gaze three times before a man takes notice.
In another study participants were asked to decode a silent movie. Women were able to guess what was happening 87% of the time, but men could only guess correctly 42% of the time. Interestingly gay men and men in highly emotional jobs (nursing, teaching and acting) did nearly as well as women.
Women might be better at reading body language because more of their brain is active when they evaluate other’s behaviour. When in an MRI women have 14 to 16 active brain areas while evaluating others, whereas men only have 4 to 6 active.
Women with large eyes, a small nose, full lips and high cheeks are seen by men as more attractive because these features are usually correlated with high levels of estrogen, which means the woman is more fertile. In men, women like legs, butt, and chest and arms. The majority of women favour a man’s butt as her favourite male body part.
Men are not nearly as expressive as women. In fact, women make an average of six facial expressions in 10 seconds, while men only make two.
It would be better if men were more expressive because men are perceived as charming when they mirror their partner’s body language—and women are the more expressive sex. The more couples mirror each other; the better they tend to get along. This is why older couples begin to look alike—they mirror each other’s facial expressions and therefore get the same wrinkles and muscle definition in their faces.
When men want to possess something (including a woman) they tend to lean on, touch or hold her. If you see a man drape his arm across a woman’s shoulders or the back of her chair—this is a possessive move. The “ideal” man has a strong jaw, large eyebrows and a strong nose because these correlate with high levels of testosterone, which for a woman, means he can better provide for her. Most men are split equally between liking a woman’s legs, butt or chest.
Tips for Men and Women:
• When approaching a woman, men should never come up to a woman from behind, as this will put her on guard. They are better off coming in at an angle and then standing at an angle.
• You do not need to have perfect looks to attract a man. Studies show that men are more attracted to a woman who engages in flirtation behaviour to show she is available over the best-looking woman in the room.
Attractive Body Language:
Having an expressive face
Keeping your hands below chin level (above can be seen as aggressive or over animated)
Minimal arm crossing
Keeping hands outside of pockets
Triple head nods to show interest
Intimate eye gazing
Leaning towards the other person
Interesting Fact: People are more likely to lie and cheat in low lighting. So beware of dark restaurants.
Business Body Language and Non-verbal Behaviour
I want to point out some special tips for those in business—whether you are an entrepreneur, employer, employee, human resource director or manager.
Finding ideal employees can be a challenge. There are some tactics you can use to make interviews more successful.
• Always conduct interviews without a table. If you must use a table using glass.
This gives you an unobstructed view of the subject’s behaviour.
• Sit angled from one another. Do not sit directly facing each other. This causes
animosity and blocks recall.
• If you see a lot of red flags, don’t hesitate to schedule a second or even third
interview. You might also have another colleague in the room to get a second opinion on odd behaviour.
• It is best to expose your palms and hands as much as possible when dealing with potential customers. This shows you have nothing to hide.
• If you see your prospect purse their lips, they are withholding a potential worry or piece of information. Counter this by building rapport. Get more information
about their needs and concerns before you go in for your big ask.
• Try not to pitch a prospect with a desk in front of you. This immediately puts you on opposing sides. Try to sit in angled chairs next to each other.
• If you have to pitch a client over a meal, don’t expect a decision at the table. The brain loses blood flow as blood rushes to the stomach to aid digestion, so is less able to reason.
• Use nonverbal behaviours that show confidence even when you are on the phone.
The moves inspire confidence for others but also for yourself. Increased confidence translates over the phone.
Steepling is a great gesture of confidence—just lightly place the tips of your fingers together.
Putting your elbows on your armrest.
Putting your hands behind your back while standing.
Not crossing your arms.
Taking up more, not less physical space.
Planting your feet firmly on the ground.
Public speaking can be incredibly difficult. By thinking about your body language as well as your words, you will be able to connect with your audience on a deeper level.
• Be careful not to point at your slides or the audience. This is seen as aggressive
behaviour. Instead squeeze your fingers together with your thumb or use an open
When looking out at the audience be sure to use broad sweeping gestures with
your eyes to make eye contact with everyone. Look at both corners and the middle of the room repeatedly to reach all audience members.
• Researchers at the Wharton School of Business found that during verbal presentations students only retain about 10% of what is said. So be sure to repeat key points and use visual aids like power points or videos.
• Never say you are nervous when speaking! The audience will then focus on finding evidence of your nerves instead of listening to the content of your presentation.
• Try to move beyond the lectern. Standing behind the lectern the entire time makes it look like you are hiding something -- the audience cannot see the bottom half of your body.
Everyone gets nervous for job interviews and tries to prepare great responses to the interviewers’ potential questions. But maybe what you say is not as important as how you say it...or what your body is saying during a job interview.
Are you communicating all of your best traits in an interview? What is your body
language and nonverbal behaviour saying to the interviewer? The tips below also work if you need to give your son/spouse/best friend some help before a job interview to help them feel more confident and get the job, so feel free to tear these out and give them to a friend.
Here are a few tips to give you the extra nonverbal edge to get the job:
Have One Bag
This might sound crazy, but research has found that when people carry more than one item they look disorganized, messy and scattered. If you are a man carry one briefcase if you are a woman have one purse with your notes or resume in the bag.
Also, jackets count. If possible, have the receptionist or secretary take your coat and hat before walking into the interview. This simple trick is a nonverbal way to make you look more sharp and put together.
Don't Forget the Back of Your Shoes!
One study found that female interviewers look at the back of a person's shoes in almost every interview -and this is the last impression you leave them with. So be sure you have them buffed, not scuffed.
Smile Right. A lot of interview advice says that people should smile more in interviews, but this is not always a good idea. What’s better is to smile right. People who smile too much are actually perceived as submissive and weak! Many studies have shown that people in positions of power actually do not smile much at all but rather smile at the right time.
You want to smile when you first meet the person and shake their hand, when you talk about subjects you are passionate about and at the end of the interview while saying goodbye. This is especially important for females--smiling too much because you are nervous or trying to build rapport actually does the opposite, it makes females look less smart not more friendly.
Sit Right, If possible, try to sit at a slight angle from the interviewer. Our brains are funny organs, research has shown that when we sit directly across from someone we recall less of what was said, we are more negative and feel they are opposing us. Simply sitting at a slight angle can change this automatic brain bias.
Don't Contract, Don't Expand, In an interview you want to take up the right amount of space. When we are nervous we tend to 'turtle' which is when you bring your neck down and your shoulders up to take up less space. We also try to make ourselves as small as possible--women cross their legs, men fold their arms over their chest. This shows the interviewer you are insecure and can make it look like you have something to hide.
So relax your arms, plant your feet and don't let your body show your tension. Occasionally men will do the opposite, they will try to claim territory by taking up as much space as possible, draping an arm over the couch or spreading legs wide while they talk. This is very aggressive and will make the other person taking subconscious (or even conscious note) of the territorial move.
Start in the Parking Lot, When possible start all of your nonverbal tips in the parking lot before you even enter the building. There are two reasons for this:
• Bosses, colleagues, interviewers might see you in the parking lot or in the elevator and you only get one chance to make a first impression. I have heard many stories of people who were friendly in an elevator and that person ended up being one of the people who made a hiring decision.
Your body language builds your confidence. Researcher Amy Cuddy has found that using powerful, confident body language actually causes you to feel more powerful. So you can rev up your confident mental state by starting early.
Loose Grip. When people are nervous they tend to grip the arms of their chair or clench their fists at their sides. This subconsciously sends the signal that you are preparing for battle or are defensive. Take deep breaths and keep your hands loose and relaxed.
No matter what, go in and be yourself. When you are not genuine, people pick up on it.
So take a deep breath, try to keep these tips in mind and show 'em what you have to offer!