5 Ways to Control Your Body Language

Study these common poses so that you can send the right message.

1. How to signal concentration

To indicate that you are concentrating on what another person is saying, strike a “thinker’s pose.” Cross your arms, then place the fingers of one hand on your chin, with the thumb pointing down, and the index finger pointing up.

2. How to conceal your hand

After being dealt strong hands, card players often extend and touch their index fingers together while keeping the remaining fingers entwined. Beware of an opponent who strikes this pose — and try not to do it yourself.

3. How to show interest

In a job interview, project interest and enthusiasm by sitting up straight in your chair and looking directly into the interviewer’s eyes. In a less formal situation, lean forward to indicate that you’re interested in what the other person is saying.

4. How to gain someone’s trust

To gain someone’s trust or to provide reassurance, pat that person’s arm gently or put a hand on his shoulder. In a business situation, physical contact may not be welcomed by another person, especially one of the opposite sex. In this situation, smile reassuringly or shake hands firmly.

5. How to be safe.

When walking along urban streets, especially those that might be dangerous, keep your back straight, your shoulders back, and your head up. Walk briskly. This demeanor projects alertness and makes you less likely to be a target for crime.

Plus: Find out what someone’s body language is telling you.

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