Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Are your hands speaking for you?

Body language has a lot of power. Used consciously

We often meet charming and extremely confident people. According to author Catherine Molloy, their positive body language makes them stand out. In The Million Dollar Handshake (Hachette, 350), Molloy explains that non-verbal messages can leave a strong impression on people you are meeting.

Body language has a lot of power. Used consciously, it can help you come across as competent and trustworthy and emphasize your positive intentions when you meet someone for the first time.

Eye contact, facial expressions and gestures can communicate your mood, even before you are consciously aware. The pitch of your voice and rate of respiration can say how you are feeling. The distance between people can tell how well they know each other and if they are comfortable. Even the way you position your body can indicate if you are engaged or not.

Molloy suggests several steps to ensure that your body language is positive.

Everyday consciously try to make your body language positive. Before every action, question it. If you want to scratch your nose, ask yourself why—is it really itchy or are you distracted?

Watch how your body language—touching your face or jiggling your legs—affects others while talking.

In everyday situations, smile and straighten your posture. This increases your height and signals confidence. Use eye contact and open gestures. Do not cross your arms or stand with your legs crossed. Some might think you are too aggressive if you use your hands too much while talking.

Consider how people around you read your body language and gestures. Do not do anything that distances people or makes them uncomfortable. Be conscious and aware of your body language and then connect with others.

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