Our previous two blogs in this series highlighted the importance of understanding body language and how the most successful people read non-verbal cues in others. In this blog we explain how we can join the elite and allow our body language to do the talking for us. As matchmakers we are keenly aware of how important it is to be conscious of what we’re communicating to others non-verbally, because research has shown when non-verbal and verbal cues are contradictory, we base our judgement on body language.
What you show yourself you show the world
Let’s start with making ourselves feel great, because the better we feel the less self-conscious we are and the more inspiring we are to others and the better our relationships. Therefore, do everything you can to make yourself feel comfortable and look your best, as this will instantly alter your posture and deportment. If you feel anxious, deliberately assuming the posture and gestures of someone confident sends feedback to the brain that all is well, and consequently you start to feel the way you are behaving.
Assume the demeanour of a king to inspire confidence and reverence
As Fox Cabane (2012) says, to understand poise, visualise the behaviour of a king in his court, composed and collected, and compare this with a king’s servants, over-eager and anxious to please. Excessive non-verbal reassurance, head-nodding and fidgeting are associated with low rank. Truly exceptional, high-end people do not behave in this way, as they are not desperate for approval. Therefore avoid being over the top with gestures, conveying restlessness, finger tapping and excessive head-nodding if you want to present with confidence and charm.
Make or break the date with your eyes…
Without the right eye contact, all other attempts at creating expressive body language will fail. We can read so much from people’s eyes, which is why poker players often play with sunglasses on! We have all had the experience of someone looking over our shoulder when we are talking to them. Many a date has been ruined by such behaviour – roaming eyes are one of the top complaints men and women have about each other when dating. Eye contact is powerful. In an experiment where strangers were sat opposite each other and asked to count the number of times their counterpart blinked, the result was feelings of affection and even passion in the other person. This is due to a hormone called PEA which is released into the bloodstream when eye contact is intense. So don’t be afraid to hold eye contact (without overdoing it, which could produce the opposite result) and use a soft focus when talking to your date. Eye contact alone can be pivotal in creating the ultimate romantic relationship.
Mirroring the body language of your partner or date is what successful people do instinctively. To get insight into the mind-set of the other person you are with, literally mirror back their posture which will also serve to put them at ease. Most people stop at this point, but to truly excel with this technique, mirror then lead. Use mirroring first, then gradually adopt a more relaxed stance as if you were in luxury surroundings, and generally the other person will follows suit, paving the way for a strong connection.
‘Love is always open arms. If you close your arms to love you will find you are only left holding yourself’. Leo Buscaglia
Hands and arms, like eyes are speaking volumes about our intentions, insecurities and inner state when interacting with others. Wringing and clasping convey nervousness, as does clinging which is a survival action developed through evolution. When making introductions here at Seventy Thirty, we encourage open, relaxed arms which convey warmth and can be seen to be inviting. Upward palms and outstretched arms communicate honesty and signal trust. Steepling the hands indicates presence and high confidence and is frequently seen in leaders. Be careful about drawing hands away quickly which suggests a change in mood or a change of heart, which may or may not be a miscommunication to your date.
To increase your expertise in non-verbal communication further, read our ‘Matchmaking in different locations’ blog series which includes some international perspectives on cultural differences in body language.
Navarro, J. & Karlins, M. (2008). What every body is saying. Harper-Collins, New York.
Fox Cabane, O. (2012). The Charisma Myth. New York: Penguin Group.