There’s no question that body language is important.
And according to Leil Lowndes in her book How To Talk To Anyone, you can capture — and hold — anyone’s attention without saying a word.
We’ve selected the best body-language techniques from the book and shared them below.
The Flooding Smile
“Don’t flash an immediate smile when you greet someone,” says Lowndes. If you do, it appears as if anyone in your line of sight would receive that same smile.
Instead, pause and look at the other person’s face for a second, and then let a “big, warm, responsive smile flood over your face and overflow into your eyes.”
Even though the delay is less than a second, it will convince people your smile is sincere and personalized for them. According to Lowndes, a slower smile can add more richness and depth to how people perceive you.
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“Pretend your eyes are glued to your conversation partner’s with sticky warm taffy,” Lowndes advises. Even after they’ve finished speaking, don’t break eye contact. “When you must look away, do it ever so slowly, reluctantly, stretching the gooey taffy until the tiny string finally breaks.”
You can also try counting your conversation partner’s blinks. In a case study, subjects reported significantly higher feelings of respect and fondness for their colleagues who used this technique.
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In a group of people, you should occasionally look at the person you are interested in, no matter who else is talking. If your attention is drawn to that person even when they are simply listening, you show that you are extremely interested in his or her reactions.
Be warned — using full Epoxy Eyes can be a bit overwhelming to the subject and could leave them feeling uncomfortable. You should primarily watch the speaker, but allow your glance to bounce to your target when the speaker finishes interesting points.
The Big-Baby Pivot
People are very conscious of how you react to them. When you meet someone new, turn your body fully toward them and give them the same, undivided attention you would give a baby. Lowndes says, “Pivoting 100% toward the new person shouts, ‘I think you are very, very special.'”
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Limit the Fidget
If you want to appear credible, try not to move too much when your conversation really matters. “Do not fidget, twitch, wiggle, squirm, or scratch,” Lowndes says. Frequent hand motions near your face can give your listener the feeling that you’re lying or anxious. Instead, simply fix a constant gaze on the listener and show them that you’re fully concentrated on the matter at hand.
Hang By Your Teeth
This visualization trick will help you look more confident with your posture, which Lowndes describes as “your biggest success barometer.” To do this, visualize a leather bit hanging from the frame of every door you walk through. Pretend that you are taking a bite on the dental grip, and let it sweep your cheeks into a smile and lift you up.
“When you hang by your teeth,” Lowndes says, “every muscle is stretched into perfect posture position.” Your head will be held high, shoulders back, torso out of your hips, and feet weightless.
This trick also works because of the frequency people walk through doorways. If you visualize anything often enough, it becomes a habit. “Habitual good posture is the first mark of a big winner.”
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Hello, Old Friend
When you first meet someone, imagine they’re your old friend. According to Lowndes, this will cause a lot of subconscious reactions in your body, from the softening of your eyebrows to the positioning of your toes.
An added benefit to this technique is that when you act as though you like someone, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy — you might really start to like them. Lowndes says, “What it boils down to is love begets love, like begets like, respect begets respect.”
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