9 Meaningful Ways to Use Body Language to Get What You Want
From landing a job to losing weight, these body language tricks can do the work for you.
To land a job
Instead of sitting poised in the waiting room, run through a couple of power poses—such as raising your arms in a V or standing with your hands on your hips—in the bathroom or elevator. Research from social psychologist Amy Cuddy has shown that holding these postures for just two minutes can lower stress and increase feelings of power.
To connect with your partner
If your significant other holds one of his wrists and raises it in front of his body, he could be feeling hurt or sad. “It may appear that he’s adjusting his watch, but it could be a sign that he’s insecure,” says body language expert Patti Wood. Offer a few comforting words or a hug so he’ll lower his protective shield.
To calm kids
A slow voice has a soothing effect, while a loud, fast voice can stimulate anger or fear, according to a University of Maryland, Baltimore County, study. Teach your kids these benefits by playing a game with them during which you say a sentence, pausing for five seconds between words.
To entice a dinner date
If you want to convey interest, do what match.com calls the Reach. Rest an arm and hand on the table with your fingers pointing to the other person. If you’re not feeling the spark, sit on your hands to conceal them.
To bond at work
Give a high five. Making physical contact with another person for as little as 1/40th of a second can create a human bond. Touch also boosts oxytocin, which increases feelings of trust, and lowers cortisol, which reduces stress.
To lose weight
A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research showed that dieters who flexed their arm muscles when offered a choice between a candy bar and an apple were more likely to make the healthy choice than those who didn’t clench their muscles.
To be creative
Gesture with both hands while brainstorming. When Singapore researchers asked subjects to come up with unique uses for a building complex, those who talked out solutions with both hands had more creative ideas than those who brainstormed with just one hand.
To speak persuasively
A low-pitched voice inspires confidence from those around you, according to a study from McMaster University in Canada. You don’t have to fake it—relax before speaking by keeping your lips together and repeating mmm-hmm a few times, suggests Forbes body language expert Carol Kinsey Goman. Stress can constrict your vocal cords, making your voice come out higher than usual.
To correct a mistake
Mind your chin, says Greg Hartley, a former U.S. Army interrogator and a body language expert. If it’s too high, you look indignant; too low, you look weak. Keep your chin centered to exude confidence and compromise. Sources: womenshealthmag.com, forbes.com, glo.com
Originally published as 9 Meaningful Ways to Use Body Language to Get What You Want on ReadersDigest.com.