Some of the things that really intrigue me are social interactions we all have as human beings. You can learn so much about someone within the first 10 seconds of observing them. Why is this important you may ask? In a fast-paced world like today you need to make a lasting impression with little time. People need to make quick judgements (a mental snapshot) about people because so much is happening all the time – we need to make sense of it all, and this mental snapshot is what will define you to that person. You need to stand out in the clutter of people. This is before you even say a word to them, so naturally you would think the face and the body have so much to do with this. It does.
Picture someone in your mind and name them with the first adjective that comes to your mind. You have already developed a mental image of this person. Chances are, that is the main characteristic (or one of the main characteristics) you would use to describe him/her. You want people to have a positive emotional attachment whenever they think of you. And you can do this without even saying a word. Emotional reactions occur even before the brain has had time to register what’s causing that reaction.
One of those most basic things you can do is focus on your posture, head positioning, your smile and your eyes. This can easily distinguish someone who is walking into an interview believing they will get the job, and someone who feels like they don’t even stand a chance. Positive energy attracts positive energy. Walk in feeling confident and your body will naturally react to it. You will smile without even knowing it.
Posture: Stand/Sit up straight. Your parents didn’t tell you this for no reason. We tend to associate slouching with old age = not good. It gives an impression that you are weak, conservative and introverted. Now I know I personally do slouch a lot, but hey… focus on it when it matters the most at least.
Head Positioning: Look up! There is no reason to be looking down unless you dropped your wallet. You want to be noticed, and the only way you can observe other people is by keeping your head up. This is especially important for you guys whose heads wonders down when you talk to women. Her eyes are up on her face, not on her chest! Nothing more embarrassing than making yourself look like a pervert. Ever hear of the saying “Eyes are the window to one’s soul?” No one can see your eyes if you’re not looking up. Which leads us into the next (and most important) factor to this equation.
Eye Contact: This is very important and of course, works best with the opposite sex. Even if you’re not using your eyes to potentially develop a relationship, it still works well for business. Direct eye contact gives out a sense of respect in business and a sense of affection in relationships. A study that was done by Yale researchers involved delivering a personally revealing monologue to a listener who constantly gave eye contact. The study went as planned when women told women their stories. It gave off a sense of intimacy but when men told their stories to other men, it didn’t go as planned. Some men felt threatened when other men stared at them for too long. So there is a modified version of “eye contact” when men engage with other men. I’ll get back to this.
The researchers also found that when you look intently at someone, it increases their heartbeat and shoots an adrenalinelike substance in your veins. It’s the same physical reaction we get when we fall in love. So when you use eye contact consciously, it will feel like you have captivated the other person. So when you’re talking, don’t break eye contact and if you need to, do it slowly… don’t lose the connection that you have!
In regards to men interacting with other men, keep eye contact… but you don’t need to “stick” to it as much as you would with women, especially when discussing personal issues.
Your Smile: Probably one of the most important aspects of body language next to your eyes. Two different aspects I’m going to touch base on in regards to your smile: Type and timing. There are two types: real (warm) smiles, and there are fake (cold) smiles. I hope I don’t need to explain the difference. The other aspect of your smile… is all about timing. Picture someone smiling ALL the time… it’s a little weird isn’t it? When you first greet someone you actually don’t need to smile right away. A smile is more credible when the transition is seen by your target. So take even a split second to look at them naturally, and then shine your big warm smile right at him/her. That way the smile genuine and the person knows that smile was made specifically for him/her.
Don’t just apply these skills to obtaining a job, these skills have no boundaries. They work for any kind of social interaction ranging from developing new clients to personal relationships. Remember, it’s the little things that matter most. The stuff you usually don’t ever think about plays a bigger role than you actually think!