Displaying positive body language can help establish trust and strengthen bonds in relationships. After all, most people pay more attention to nonverbal cues during conversations. Smiling, having a firm handshake, and maintaining eye contact will help you make an excellent first impression. However, most people don’t consider how their body language impacts others.
Many people operate on autopilot and never stop to consider how others receive their energy. For instance, slouching, looking at your phone during conversations, or averting your gaze could seem rude. It can make you appear uncomfortable or disinterested in the conversation.
Counselors Reveal Seven Ways to Show Positive Body Language
Since nonverbal cues play a crucial role in communication, learning these skills can improve your conversational skills. Positive body language can make you appear more confident, even if you’re not particularly outgoing or talkative. Below, we’ll discuss a few ways to master the art of nonverbal communication.
1 – Maintain Non-Aggressive Eye Contact to Appear More Positive.
If you want to seem welcoming, look into others’ eyes when speaking to them. Of course, you shouldn’t stare at them for prolonged periods, but periodically making eye contact can help build rapport.
It shows the other person you don’t have anything to hide and that they can trust you. Too little eye contact can make you seem submissive, while overdoing eye contact may appear aggressive.
According to studies, maintaining the right amount of eye contact can make you more credible.
Other benefits to a mutual gaze in conversations include:
- People will find it easier to remember your face following a discussion.
- Eye contact can help people recall more of a conversation, even if it happened days prior.
- People will perceive you as more intelligent and self-assured.
- Direct eye gazing can enhance people’s ability to read and mirror other nonverbal cues.
2 – Smile to Display Your Positive Message.
People usually gravitate towards others who have positive, magnetic personalities. After all, they say happiness is contagious, so people naturally want to surround themselves with those who uplift them. Not only does smiling send joyful energy into the world, but it also makes you more approachable.
Most people perceive body language by reading someone’s facial expressions. So, those who smile will seem more genuine and content, making others feel comfortable around them. Studies show that the most sincere smiles reach your eyes and create wrinkles around them, known as a Duchenne smile. Many consider it the most authentic expression of happiness.
Of course, you don’t have to go around with an ear-to-ear grin to win people over. Even a small, polite smile shared with strangers can light up the room. Another study found that people naturally want to mimic others’ expressions and behaviors.
Seeing someone smile activates a brain reward center called the orbitofrontal cortex. So, looking at a smiling face can make people feel more satisfied. Positive body language with a smile encourages others to reciprocate the gesture, helping elevate their mood.
3 – Stand Your Ground.
When you’re comfortable taking up space, it exudes confidence and assertiveness. To show people you feel at ease in your skin, stand or sit with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your feet rooted firmly to the ground with your head held high. By changing your posture and stance, you will project positivity that draws people to you like a magnet.
Of course, you don’t want to overdo it and seem cocky or overbearing with your body language. However, others also won’t approach you if you withdraw into your shell. Finding a happy medium with a strong, poised posture will improve your communication skills.
4 – Relax Your Posture (But Not Too Much).
Since people notice your posture and appearance before anything else, it plays a huge role in body language. A slouched, lazy posture can make people think you are not interested in others. However, open body language produces the opposite effect, making you seem approachable and friendly.
You generally want to stand up straight with your arms relaxed at your sides. Remember, you want to appear confident but not too rigid. A natural, open posture lets others know you’re available for conversation and want to connect.
5 – Face the Person You’re Talking To.
Directing your feet and gaze toward the person you’re speaking with is a sign of respect. It also shows you feel interested and engaged in the conversation. Giving your undivided attention to others when they talk helps build a connection and establish trust.
Slightly leaning in during a conversation can also help reinforce a bond with someone. However, you want to respect their personal space and not get too close unless they feel comfortable.
6 – Convey Positive Thinking by Mirroring the Other Person’s Body Language.
Mirroring involves imitating another person’s body language, facial expressions, and energy to encourage a meaningful connection. You probably do this unconsciously when talking to people since it stems from our biological need to belong and gain approval. We naturally want to feel accepted in a group, so we adjust our behavior to match those around us.
That doesn’t mean you must change your whole personality to connect with someone. However, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as long as you don’t mimic the other person’s every move.
7 – Be Present and Practice Active Listening.
We saved the best and most influential tip for last. Learning to listen and hold space for people will make others feel safe in your company. After all, everyone wants to feel like they matter and that someone out there cares. Countless studies show that active listening promotes empathy and trust in relationships. So, a key component of positive body language involves being present during conversations and listening nonjudgmentally.
Final Thoughts on How to Convey More Positive Body Language
Your body language can reveal so much about you before you even say a word. After all, people can only make judgments about your appearance at first glance. So, your posture, facial expressions, and eye contact (or lack thereof) greatly influence people’s perception of you.
If you want to exhibit positive body language, imagine yourself as calm, collected, and self-confident. Then, your body and demeanor will gradually match how you feel about yourself.