Guide to Making the Best First Impression Through Body Language

Before starting on topics, one should understand the basics first. So what is body language? According to know-it-all Wikipedia, Body language is a kind of nonverbal communication, where thoughts, intentions, or feelings are expressed by physical behaviors, such as facial expressions, body posture, gestures, eye movement, touch and the use of space.

Body language exists in both animals and humans, but this article focuses on interpretations of human body language. It is also known as kinesics. 

A few studies show that facial expression and bodily expression (i.e. body language) are congruent when interpreting emotions.Behavioural experiments have also shown that recognition of facial expression is influenced by perceived bodily expression. This means that the brain processes the other's facial and bodily expressions simultaneously.

facial expressions

Subjects in these studies showed accuracy in judging emotions based on facial expression. This is because the face and the body are normally seen together in their natural proportions, nd the emotional signals from the face and body are well integrated.

The way you present yourself--especially the way you communicate nonverbally in those first few crucial minutes after meeting someone new--could make or break what could potentially be a very important business relationship.

1. The Attracting Smile

attracting smile

Don't flash an immediate smile when you greet someone. If you do, it appears as if anyone in your line of sight would receive that same smile. Instead, pause and look at the other person's face for a second, and then let a big, warm, responsive smile flood over your face and overflow into your eyes. 

Even though the delay is less than a second, it will convince people your smile is sincere and personalized for them. According to Lowndes, a slower smile can add more richness and depth to how people perceive you. 

2. Positive Arms and Hands

positive arms

Keep your arms relaxed at your sides, showing you are open to what someone else is communicating, and as with your legs, keep your arms uncrossed in order to absorb more of what's going on. Use your hands to gesture when you speak--this improves your credibility with the listener. 

In addition, there is evidence that gesturing with your hands while speaking improves your thinking processes. Be aware of different cultural greetings and closures prior to your meeting

3. Concentrate

concentrate

In a group of people, you should watch the person you are interested in, no matter who else is talking. If you concentrate on that person even when they are simply listening, you show that you are extremely interested in his or her reactions. 

With appropriate nods and genuine smiles, you are showing the speaker that you understand, agree, and are listening to his or her opinions. People are very conscious of how you react to them. When you meet someone new, turn your body fully toward them and give them the same, undivided attention you would give a baby. 

4. Appear Credible

body language 1000x600

If you want to appear credible, try not to move too much when your conversation really matters. "Do not fidget, twitch, wiggle, squirm, or scratch," Lowndes says. Frequent hand motions near your face can give your listener the feeling that you're lying or anxious. Instead, simply fix a constant gaze on the listener 

5. All's Well That Ends Well

take notes

During your meeting, take notes. This will demonstrate that you are engaged and care about what the other person is saying, but remember to make eye contact regularly so the speaker knows you're still with him or her. End the meeting with a firm handshake and eye contact, showing you enjoyed your time and hope to meet again.

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