I adore a good game of poker. When I play with a group of friends on the rare occasion, they like to emulate those professional guys you occasionally see on tv and wear sunglasses. Perhaps they labor under the impression their eyes will give their hand away. It doesn’t matter because body language will tell me everything I want to know.
You can say a lot without even opening your mouth. The root of body language lies in posture. Mila Kunis is one of the most gorgeous women around, but if she crosses her arms while scowling and hunching over she is going to look like she is “making ouchie ploppies” as my 5 year old would say. Trust me…this look is not sexy.
Poor posture can cost you that job interview you have been dying to score. Back when I was a manger at a large retail chain, one of the tactics we were taught was to read body language. It wasn’t an extensive training, but when you think about it all adds up. I ended several interviews early due to poor posture. Hunching your shoulders conveys fear and when you are required to deal with the public, you can’t be reserved. Likewise, I have ended a couple of dates early because they guy hunched over his food like someone was going to take it from him.
Leaning Back – This conveys boredom. Sit up and pay attention when you have someone who is taking the time to speak with you. Remember, you are probably the one trying to make a good impression.
Leaning Forward – This posture conveys interest. Be careful when doing this. You don’t want to crowd the person or appear hard of hearing. It’s best to stick with the sitting straight position and only lean in when you are discussing an important topic. Remember to retreat back into a normal, straight up position.
Pointing – “It’s rude to point!” is something my Aunt Yetta would scream as she grabbed my finger. She is right. Pointing can convey aggression. Stick with slow, open gestures. I noticed this with Obama during debates. He tried to remain stoic, but his hands would give him away. He would often making a tight, open handed, chopping motion instead of pointing, but it conveyed the same thing.
Eyes – It is always good to look someone in the eye. HOWEVER, do not stare them down. Hold eye contact when shaking their hand upon meeting them and exiting especially in an interview. When they are locking their eyes on you, return the gaze until the connection is met. After that, look at what they might be doing with their hands. Keep your general focus on their face. I like to focus on their eyebrows. It’s not a direct stare down that will come off creepy. If you avoid eye contact completely this is equally as bad as staring them down.