Art of Charm Podcast | The Art of Body Language (Episode 707)

Whether we’re meeting someone for the first time or trying to elevate ourselves to that next level—body language plays an integral part in our presentation of self. Listen to this episode to learn the importance of body language in our social interactions, and five simple signals you can focus on to improve your first impression.

The Cheat Sheet:

  • What are the 5 signals of body language that we can control?
  • How does our environment choose our body language without us even knowing?
  • What happens when your body language doesn’t align with your words?
  • How can we actually control our emotions by controlling our body language?
  • And so much more…

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More About This Show

It’s not about reading other people’s body language.

But the books on body language tell us it is. They say that if we can learn to analyze other people’s micro-expressions we will be able to better navigate interpersonal dynamics.

This is a fool’s errand. We, as human beings, are constantly mirroring one another. So, whatever you’re seeing in other people is actually a mirror of the energy you’re putting out. This is why putting the focus on our own body language is a critical first step.

As AJ says, “If we can control the signals we’re putting out there, we can better assess the signals we’re getting back.” When we start to get more accurate inbound signals, we can more precisely improve ourselves.

The 5 Signals of Body Language

1. Smiling

There’s a reason smiling is number one. Nobody likes being around someone who is frowning.

“A smile is a direct line for the other person to understand how you’re feeling,” Johnny describes, “You’re projecting that you’re feeling great, and also that how you’re viewing the world is in a positive manner, which allows the other person you’re speaking to, to be that much more relaxed if they can read that.”

There’s nothing worse than trying to talk to someone who appears unhappy. You feel that your opinions aren’t welcome because the person doesn’t even want to be there. But smiling removes this perceived tension from the equation.

Here at The Art of Charm bootcamp, we put a great deal of emphasis on smiling. Our clients often tell us at the end of the week that their cheeks hurt from smiling so much. For more information on our bootcamp, visit our website here or call 1-833-MY-AOC-BOOTCAMP to speak to us.

2. Eye Contact

Every book on networking or social skills says to make eye contact, but it’s not that simple.

AJ describes, “Understanding that our eye contact can hold someone’s attention, but too much eye contact can actually repel people as well. So there’s a balance.”

This is new information to most of us. It’s okay to break eye contact? Won’t the person think I’m not listening?

“The words of your response will themm them whether or not you were listening more than your eye contact will,” AJ adds.

Research shows that when we make eye contact, we’re actually taking away brain-processing power. So when we break eye contact, we can use that extra bandwidth for extra listening.

3. Posture

“It’s easier to act your way into thinking, than to think you way into acting,” Johnny says.

This concept is a core principle here at The Art of Charm. While we might think our mind is powerful enough to change us—it’s actually the inverse: our bodies are capable of changing our minds.

This is challenging because, for most of us, we spend our days sitting in front of computers. If we’re not exercising outside of work, then our bodies will naturally succumb to the effects of this lifestyle. Hunched shoulders leave us feeling out-of-shape and lacking confidence.

However, we can change the equation. “Imagine if I stand up tall, put my chest out and my arms beside me, and look you in the face and tell you, ‘I’m shy.’ Which are you gonna believe?” AJ asks Johnny.

This is the power of posture. Not only does it have the ability to fool other people, but it also tricks yourself into believing you have more confidence than what the slouched version of yourself.

4. Hands

Have you ever met someone who talks with his/her hands? It’s fun to be around.

“Utilizing your hands actually starts to show comfort and trust,” AJ describes, “When people can’t see your hands, it creates a feeling of distrust.”

We often hide our hands in an attempt to be something we’re not. “A tendency guys have is that they don’t want to be intimidating or scary—so what they’ll do is put their hands behind their back,” Johnny describes, “But for the girl, she’s thinking, ‘Why can’t I see your hands?’”

When we start using our hands to be more expressive, our minds will become more creative. Again, we find ourselves acting our way into thinking, rather than trying to think our way into acting.

5. Fidgeting

Whenever we feel awkward, it’s likely that the other person feels awkward for the same reason.

It’s our job to not let the awkwardness overtake us. Once we start fidgeting, the other person will feel that their awkwardness is justified and sink even deeper into it.

Johnny describes this domino effect: “Your nervous tics, twitching, clenching, and fidgeting is going to showcase your discomfort and ultimately make the people around you uncomfortable and feel that discomfort.”

AJ adds, “People are going to remember how you made them feel. Not what you said or what you did.”

When we put energy into our body language, other people will observe the physical difference in you and then notice how much superior they themselves feel in your company than before.  

The Positive Effects

“By taking control of your body language, you will start to take control of your emotions,” Johnny says.

“That conscious effort starts to pay some dividends. You start to get some things moving. You’re focusing on it, and it starts to move to unconscious competence, where now you’re just doing it without even thinking about it. And the world is reacting differently to you.” AJ adds.

As Peter Drucker said, “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” When we focus on our body language, we are able to gather a unique understanding for this nonverbal communication by improving our own first.

Tune in to today’s episode to learn 5 ways to adjust your body language to project a more positive posture, so other people feel more welcome and invited into your space.

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