Along with the words we say, the body has its own non-verbal language, which communicates subconsciously and conveys messages directly to the brain through physical gestures and body movements.
Interestingly, there are significant differences in the body language of men versus women. Social psychology teaches us that this is a product of a socialization process – from a young age we adapt our body language to the gender norms that are adapted to us and expected of us.
For example, the stereotypes attributed to women that are expressed in body language are politeness, sociability and cooperation, compared to those of men who exhibit assertiveness, power, strength and taking a stand.
Here are some important tips that will help you use body language with awareness
One of the most important things to remember when we enter a meeting with a new person is to hold our body with presence. Even if it feels uncomfortable, pull your shoulders back and relax them – this will immediately signal inward the feeling of self-worth and outwardly you will radiate presence. When we feel weak, our body language gathers and contracts, the hands cover the chest, the shoulders are bent, the chin and head are tilted down or to the side, sometimes the weight of the body also leans to one side. On the other hand, our body language expands, hands open, chin slightly up, lips smile, weight balanced in the center between two legs when we feel dominant and victorious.
Researcher Amy Cuddy coined the term “power posing.” She regularly recommends that we practice it daily for two minutes with hands on hips (or in the victory V position) big smile, chin up. This movement connects us to a sense of self-worth, ability and even affects our level of happiness.
Even if we don’t do it every day, we can use it for two minutes to bring confidence before a crucial meeting at work or excitement before an important date. The external movement drives an internal movement that helps us perform at our best in real-time.
“Rapport” means chemistry or kinship in French, and is like a mirror effect that is naturally created when there is a sense of common denominator in communication between people. It is possible to summon the power of rapport as well as to create identification and a sense of closeness. It is advisable not to do this in an excessive way and literally copy every body gesture. It is possible to reflect certain elements without completely “putting on” the body language of the opposite sex because then it loses its authenticity. For example, if your partner leans forward, you can join the gesture and do the same movement in front of him. Alternatively, you can also lead – lean a little forward and wait for your partner to join you. It works!
Have you noticed what happens to your body when someone compliments you? Women tend more than men to “repel” compliments with the hand, in a movement that seems to throw the compliment back to the complimenter, or even actually block it and broadcast “No, what nonsense.” If this is how you react, practice with your body full acceptance of a compliment. There is an optimal effect on both you and the person giving the compliment when you don’t push it away but remain open and say with a smile “thank you” you can even “bring the compliment to the heart” with your hands.
In an age that is so saturated with distractions, one of the most important things about dating in relationships is the ability to maintain presence and active listening. The way to do this is to use good eye contact and facial light.
Charisma researcher Olivia Fox Cabane explains that our presence in a conversation makes us more attractive. That is why it is highly advisable to avoid fiddling with your phone, looking to the side or getting lost in thoughts, and rather to increase presence in the here and now, to silence your phone or even turn it to transmit to the other side: here I am, present and ready to listen.
If it is important for us to create connection, and closeness, let the body and the space do the work for us: Remove objects that separate us, keep open hands, eye contact, a smile and a light face. This is how our body language both shapes our inner image and affects our relationships. It is said in the proverb: “As face answers to face in water, so does one man’s heart to another,” just as our face is reflected in the water, so the heart is reflected in the person in front of us, and body language is decisive and plays an important role in creating closeness, cooperation and great relationships.
The author Shani Peretz Karib is a lecturer and facilitator for performing in front of an audience and personal development, founder of the INSPIRE conference, Israel’s largest digital conference for inspiring women lecturers, facilitators and speakers, to be held on December 26-28. Registration for the live broadcasts is free of charge.