Sometimes, our bodies just know what to do. There's something to be said about natural instincts, about inherently knowing how to react in times of extreme stress and duress. In times when we can't process thoughts quickly enough, the millions of muscle fibers and tissues that make up our living cells simply take over and do the talking for us.
That's why body language is so unshakably important; it says what our mouths cannot. If you hope to inspire awe without saying a single word, check out these seven body language secrets of very successful people.
1. Stand up straight
Having good posture is not just good for your back--it redistributes weight evenly and takes pressure off your tight lower back--it also shows people you are sure of yourself. Unabashedly taking up space by spreading your shoulders wide and keeping your spine erect projects power. So don't be afraid to show the world you think you matter.
2. Uncross your arms
It's common knowledge that standing with crossed arms makes you look closed off and unwelcome to the idea of meeting new people. The reason for this phenomenon is that putting a physical barrier in between you and someone else gives the impression that you are shutting someone out--and no one likes to feel isolated.
3. Stop fidgeting
Constantly playing with something--whether it is your hair, your clothing, or your phone--shows that you're anxious, even when you're quite comfortable in reality. If you actually are nervous in a situation, it's important to fake it until you make it. Feign comfort in an awkward situation and, sooner or later, the comfort will actually come.
4. Don't stare
Although making eye contact is extremely important to make sure that people know you are connecting with them, eye contact that's overly intense can make others feel very awkward. Take care not to accidentally end up staring at your company when talking to them. Excessive eye contact can also be interpreted as an attempt to dominate or as aggression, so be cognizant of the signals you hope to send.
5. Avoid overexcited nodding
Appearing overeager is never a good thing--not even with your supervisors. Nodding very, very enthusiastically can seem fake, like an attempt to curry favor with someone by agreeing with everything they say. It makes much more sense to take things easy and agree with a slight incline of the chin--or even a verbal "yes"--rather than bobbing your head up and down.
6. Stop checking the time
Despite how harmless this seems, since we all have things to do and places to go, it actually appears very disrespectful to the person you're with. Exuding feelings and signs of impatience, fidgeting with your hands and legs, or looking like you're itching to go just makes your company all the more willing for the interaction to be over.
7. Be consistent with your words
Perhaps the most important body language secret of all is maintaining solid consistency between your words and your demonstrated emotions. If you smile while accepting a rejection or appear sad while delivering a compliment, people won't take your words--or actions--seriously. It's super important for your body to function as a composite whole, with your brain matching your mouth and your limbs, in order for it to garner the attention and success it deserves.