Let’s face it, first impressions are crucial, and the way you carry yourself can make or break the way people perceive you.
Simply put, your body language matters, and you can use that to your advantage and make people like you from the get-go.
So, today, that’s what we’ll be talking about. In this article, I’ll lay out the body language tricks you can use to make a positive impression on others.
Let’s dive in!
What’s the first thing you notice when you meet somebody? If you’re like me, you’ll notice if the person is smiling or not.
For me, a smile is the most welcoming gesture you can make toward a stranger or a person you’re meeting for the first time. It makes them feel good about you, and that’s something backed by science.
According to a study, our smile originated as mammalian play signals, which is a way to make it clear that you mean no harm. In short, you’re letting the other person know you’re ready to play and make friends!
Amazing, huh? No wonder a smile works across cultures – even if you don’t speak the same language, you can make connections just by smiling!
2) Establish good eye contact
I get it – eye contact can be hard, especially if you’re a shy person.
But it’s something you need to do if you want people to like you. Because think about it – how would you feel if the person you’re talking to doesn’t really look at you, right?
I’m sure you’d feel uneasy, or, at best, disconnected.
You see, eye contact has a really important role – it shows people you’re present, you’re interested, and that you have empathy.
So, if you’ve got wandering eyes or you’re always looking down at your phone, many people would take it to mean you’re not interested in what they’re saying. They’ll even find you rude. That certainly won’t win you any points in the likeability department!
However, a word of caution: don’t overdo it. There’s a delicate balance between good and too much eye contact. Staring can make the other person feel uncomfortable, so make sure you strike that balance.
3) Tilt your head
Here’s another trick that can make you likable – tilt your head slightly when you’re speaking to someone.
This shows that you’re engaged and interested in what they’re saying. It conveys the idea that you’re listening thoughtfully and mulling over what they said.
You can even go a step further and…
4) Lean in slightly
Leaning in is like a more advanced version of tilting your head. If you’re feeling extra confident, this is a trick you can use to make you more likeable.
Why does this work so well?
Just like tilting your head, leaning in shows that you’re interested and fully present in the moment. It’s like you’re fully invested in what the other person is saying, and you’re eager to learn more.
Believe me, the person you’re talking to would feel so flattered!
Just keep in mind the key word – “slightly.” You want to lean in at an angle that still feels respectful of their space. Be careful not to intrude into their personal space, or else you’ll come off as pushy or aggressive.
5) Nod your head as you listen
One of the traits that make a person likeable is knowing how to listen. Now, since listening is kind of an invisible action, how do you signify that you’re all ears?
Use a tangible gesture like nodding.
When someone’s talking to you, and you nod your head, you tell them that you’re listening and that you understand what they’re saying. It’s a gesture of encouragement as if you’re telling the person, go on, I’m right here with you.
But again, a word of caution not to overdo it. Nodding too much or too excitedly can be taken as a sign of anxiety or a need to please. Just keep it natural.
In other words, really listen – don’t just nod along mindlessly. That’s going to make the other person feel positive about you!
6) Mirror the other person
This is a powerful way to make yourself instantly likeable. When you mirror someone’s body language, you’re showing that you’re on the same page and that you’re connected.
How exactly do you mirror the other person?
It’s pretty simple – you match their movements. If they cross their legs, cross yours, too. If they pick up a pen, pick your pen up as well.
In theory, it probably sounds funny. But in practice, it actually works well to build rapport and make the other person feel comfortable around you.
You can even do this with breathing. When you’re speaking to someone, try matching their breathing patterns. This can create a sense of harmony and connection.
7) Maintain an open posture
When I first met my husband, one of the first things I liked about him was that he was so approachable. Without saying a word, he just conveyed this sense of openness and honesty.
I now realize that it was all about the way he carried himself. While he talked to me, he sat in a way that was confident, with his arms and legs open and relaxed.
All of these sent me the message that he was an upfront guy who was open to ideas and interested in communicating. I found that very attractive, and I thought he was someone worth getting to know more about.
So, take this note – keep an open posture to make yourself more approachable and likeable.
8) Keep your palms up
Still on the subject of openness, here’s another trick you can do: show your palms when you’re speaking.
First of all, making gestures when speaking emphasizes your points and shows that you’re confident and engaging.
And if you keep your palms open while making these gestures, that adds one more attractive quality – it shows that you’re honest and transparent.
9) Slow down
Now, I must tell you, while gesturing helps enhance your message, it’s also important to consider the pace with which you do it.
Make sure to slow your movements down.
Here’s the deal – fast movements make you look more anxious. That’s not attractive at all. And it can even be contagious. Instead of making the other person feel comfortable, you could make them feel on edge.
In contrast, a slow pace shows that you’re calm and confident – that you don’t need to rush through what you’re saying. Slow movements show you’re relaxed, and that puts the other person at ease as well.
10) Point your feet toward the person you’re speaking to
Want another subtle trick to make you more likeable? Look down at your feet and check where they’re pointing.
You see, body language experts look at feet as an “interest radar.” They use a person’s feet to find out their intentions.
When you’re interested in someone, your feet naturally take on a V-shape, with your toes pointing toward them. But when you’re not interested, you may angle your feet away from them without realizing it.
Now, of course, the average person won’t really stop and think, “Wait, his feet aren’t pointing toward me…he must not be interested!”
But rest assured, while they can’t exactly pinpoint what it is that tells them you’re not interested, their brains will register it.
11) Use appropriate touch
Touch can be a powerful way to build connections. Research shows that it has its own language of compassion – basically, it conveys human emotion.
A pat or a brief touch on the arm or shoulder can convey warmth and friendliness. But again, be careful not to invade someone’s personal space.
I must stress the word “appropriate” here; I don’t want you touching anyone in a manner that can be taken the wrong way!
The key is to keep it brief, almost subliminal. That means touching them so subtly that they hardly notice it.
12) Show enthusiasm
Lastly, let that good and happy energy in your body radiate through animated facial expressions and hand gestures.
Nothing beats an excited look on someone’s face when they’re talking about something they’re passionate about.
The thing is, enthusiasm is contagious. It’s charismatic. Personally, I just can’t help liking a person when I see them all happy and bubbly.
Obviously, it’s more fun to be around those with an upbeat attitude that shines through even when they’re not speaking.
It’s not just about what you say, it’s about how you say it. Body language is an essential part of our communication, and it can play a significant role in how others perceive us.
So, use these tips to help you make a great first impression and build strong connections with people.
Remember to be genuine and authentic in your communication, and the rest will follow naturally.