Have you wanted to be more likeable, more successful, more desired in your professional or even personal life?
And at the same time, you were hesitant to learn the secrets of how to be all those things because you thought that meant you had to be “manipulative” or in anyway false?
Well, you don’t need to worry about that. The truth is that you are sending “persuasive signals” all day so why not choose to become aware of what you’re doing?
The Positive Power of Persuasion
Being persuasive means that you can create positive interactions and relationships – and these body language tips will help you do that.
Manipulation on the other hand is when people “trick” others into acting against their own interest – which is the furthest thing from your mind right now.
- Persuasion: creating positive interactions and relationships
Manipulation: tricking others into acting against their own interest
People who manipulate try to do things like getting drunken wives to cheat or people to buy expensive products that are worthless.
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You, on the other hand, when you become a master of positive persuasion –would use your skills to make sure that same drunken wife gets safely home to her family or friends.
You’d have the power to make sure people invest in products and programs that will truly serve them.
The moral of the story is:
Use friendly persuasion – NOT selfish manipulation.
The Right Attitude Makes You Instantly Likeable
Humans are geniuses when it comes to intuiting each other’s attitudes before a single word is spoken.
In the first few seconds, a deeply embedded primitive instinct in all of us causes us to:
- Scan each other’s eyes
Watch each other’s hands (empty or not)
Analyze breathing rate, nervousness etc.
Make a split second decision between safety or danger.
And we do it automatically and unconsciously.
What most people don’t realize is that your attitude will unconsciously determine your body language.
Your attitude wills subtly supply your entire body with subtle signals about whether you are friendly or hostile, open-hearted or suspicious, superioristic or submissive or simply that you feel you are a person’s equal.
That’s why, to truly master your body language, it’s essential to begin with your intentions and how they affect your body’s signaling…
Tip #1. How to Convey Care and Eliminate Nervousness
So much nervous energy comes from our social anxiety over whether somebody likes us or not.
The quickest way to convey good will and relaxation:
- Put your full attention on the other person.
With a certain stillness, pay attention to their nuances, their tonalities.
Listen behind their words for what lights up their delight, what scares them, what inspires them, what they worry about.
Ask deepening questions. Every human carries pain and hurt and we all wear mask to cover them up. Listen for the real self behind the mask.
Everybody wants to be seen – and seen with compassion.
Tip #2. How to Treat Everyone Like A Friend
People can feel immediately if you are hostile or friendly, so it’s best to take the saying “innocent until proven guilty” up one notch – to “I will treat you like a friend until you prove that I shouldn’t.”
- One effective body language “hack” is to nod slightly as they talk.
They will feel your good will and a subtle sense of kinship – as if they are on your side.
Then take a moment before you respond, indicating you’ve put thought into your answer.
They will feel dignified.
Tip #3. How to Be a Go Giver
In our culture, we lionize “go getters” – which is a great quality that generates wealth and innovation. But when it comes to creating instant likeability, be a “go giver”.
Do something nice for someone. Ask them if you can get them a drink. Take their coat. Introduce them to someone they might like to meet.
If you take just one small action on their behalf, they get it deep inside – you are an ally in this world.
Tip #4. The Power of Touch
Everybody wants to feel special.
We all have our stories, our triumphs, our tales of woe and glory. And even if we don’t admit it – we love it when people take an interest in our unique life.
So be radically curious when you meet people.
Seek the gems of their life – what they love most, what they are most proud of.
When they tell of a hardship, simply reflect that right back with, “That sounds like it was hard.”
When they tell a tale of triumph, put your hand up and high-five or “fist-bump” them – which adds a solid physical contact as a kind of “punctuation mark”.
They will feel far more connected to you.
Want all 27 body language tricks that will instantly make you more likeable? Click the infographic below!
Or if, you are more comfortable with a subtler touch, a small physical contact at a warm moment of emotional connection builds deep and heartfelt connection.
Studies show, for example, that restaurant servers who touch the shoulder or arm of diners make 27% higher tips.
So you might say that a light touch at a warm moment or moment of sympathy or communion makes you 27% more likeable!
The Power of The Right Posture
Just as you are sending subtle but unmistakable “safety/hostility” signals with your body about your attitude, so too your posture is a veritable telegraph machine.
Posture is particular in that it especially conveys attentiveness – which means that a person will feel that you are paying attention to them or not, based on how you stand.
Tip #5. How to Stand Straight and Relaxed
When you are standing calm and relaxed, it automatically relaxes the person you are talking to.
- When your spine is straight and you relax, they will naturally match your state and relax – which makes every interaction more easy and friendly.
So here’s a dancer’s tip for attentive posture: imagine a string attached to the crown – the top point, toward the back – of your head, gently pulling your skull upward at that point – which should elongate your neck and straighten your spine.
Keep your shoulders down and relaxed and you are the walking embodiment of a likeable, relaxed, available friend.
- If your spine is twisted or you are shifting your weight from hip to hip, they will likely wonder why you are so tense.
If you overdo your relaxed posture and slump forward, they will feel as if you want to go to sleep, or be elsewhere, or that you are bored or exasperated.
Tip #6. How to Appear Open and Undefended
Think about what you do when you are angry at someone, or outraged or disappointed. What do you do?
You fold your arms over your chest.
Crossing your arms over your chest is a body language expression of self-defense, very much like holding a shield over your heart.
When you do that socially, you are sending a signal that you don’t feel safe – and thereby “accusing” your interlocutor of being a threat, if even on a subtle level.
So, keep your arms relaxed and to the side.
Tip #7. When Sitting, Sit Straight
Very much like your standing posture, as discussed above, keep a straight spine, elongated neck and alert aspect when you are talking to someone.
When you hunch over your chest, it feels protective, as if you don’t trust the person you are with.
Once you establish that level of conveyed trust and attentiveness, then you can of course, lean in and touch them gently on the leg, shoulder or arm for emphasis or bonding when exchanging emotional or funny moments.
Tip #8. Keep Your Feet Hip Width Apart
An important part of being liked is being trusted.
And being trusted means that you feel grounded and steady – and that you might not tip over any second!
If you wobble, or bounce on your feet, or totter with all your weight on one foot, you create a sense of unease and unsteadiness. Imagine an Executive, or a President or a General.
They stand solid.
So should you.
Tip #9. Breathe to the Point Just Below your Belly
Deep breathing supports a strong, upright spine and a relaxed posture. Shallow breath, by contrast, connotes nervousness.
If you take short sharp breaths, people are apt to wonder, “What are you so nervous about? What are you hiding? What’s bothering this guy?”
So especially if you are in any way nervous or have social anxiety – just take three big breaths – inhaling on a four count – and visualize pulling them right down through your chest all the way to the depth of your belly – right below your belly-button.
Hold the breath there a moment and let our slowly on a four count. Your body will naturally relax.
And people will relax with you.
Tip #10. How To Mirror and Match Their Posture
Like attracts like.
It’s an old tribal truth.
We instantly feel more comfortable with people who move, dress and look like us. So one thing you can do to create a quick sense of rapport is to – very subtly – match or mirror the posture of the person you’re talking to.
When they lean in, you lean in. When they lean back, you lean back.
When they straighten up, you straighten up. It has a powerful and an often imperceptible effect of creating closeness and trust
Tip #11. Stand Still
One of the most “untrustworthy” displays of body language is jitteriness and unnecessary movement.
You already know this is true. Someone who is hopping from foot to foot, wringing their hands, twitching their fingers – this unnecessary nervous energy suggests that they want to hotfoot it out of there as soon as they can!
Or at least that they are not at ease with themselves.
So, to make others feel at ease with you, try to stay still, though not robotic. Move slowly and smoothly and keep your fingers from wiggling about.
How to Make a Great First Impression
For better or worse, we all make instant judgements on each other the moment we meet.
As the saying goes, “first impressions last forever”.
For example, I still remember meeting a professor 30 years ago who had foul breath. I don’t care what he wrote! When I think of him, my dominant thought is about is his sewer mouth.
So yes, brush your teeth, keep your body clean and smelling like field of wildflowers on a Colorado spring day, if you can. Or, at least, not like garbage dump.
Here are some more practical tips that don’t involve smell on how to create a positive first impression…
Tip #12. How to “Own The Room”
We naturally feel that people who rush around, head down, don’t care about us.
We feel – rightly – that they are in a world of their own.
Yet, this is how so many people enter a room.
To draw attention to yourself as a powerful, confident, open-hearted person, stop in any doorway when you enter a room and sort of “breathe in” the room.
Just take in everything and everyone inside. Assess what’s going on. Feel the energy. Feel where people are connecting and where they are not.
By doing this, you are establishing yourself as someone who is both important (eyes will dart to you) and who treats everyone before you as important. You are demonstrating that you are taking the room seriously.
Fools rush in.
Wise, confident people move with assuredness, confidence and awareness of their surroundings.
Tip #13. Smile As You Walk In
Mother Theresa said, “peace begins with a smile”. And she’s right.
People immediately want to be close to someone who is smiling, because people are naturally allured to joy and good feeling.
When you enter a room, when you go to greet someone, when you take in the world around you, try smiling a bit more.
You will find that people are suddenly and markedly more attracted to you.
Tip #14. Greet Someone Immediately
It’s been said that good friends are those who “care without hesitation”.
When you enter a room or someone enters and clearly knows no one, don’t hesitate, approach them and say hi.
When you put yourself right into the flow of a room, when you are inclusive with not obvious expectations or demands, people notice.
They can feel immediately that you are open, self-assured and friendly.
Tip #15. How to Show Appreciation With Your Body
Every culture is different. Here, when we greet, we shake hands and say “hello”.
In Japan, one bows. In India, the word of greeting, Namaste literally means “I see the divine within you”.
Everybody wants to be appreciated, so when you greet someone, or offer verbal appreciation, you have an opportunity to “add punctuation” with a bow or with clasped “prayer hands” of thanks before you.
You can touch your heart with an open palm as you offer appreciation.
Or you can touch someone’s hand, arm or shoulder as you offer appreciation, depending on your comfort or level of intimacy.
How To Be Trustable and More Likeable With The Right Handshake
You know and I know that you are not concealing a dagger in your right hand – which is the danger that birthed the custom of offering your hand in a handshake upon greeting.
Yet how you shake hands will convey to someone clearly your energy, your confidence and your relationship with them.
Tip #16. How to Offer a Firm But Gentle Handshake
You know the impact of a limp handshake…
You wonder if this person has any spine, any confidence, any presence at all. And you tend not to trust them.
Similarly, if they crush your hand, you suspect they are trying too hard to establish dominance, and you’ll not like nor trust them.
Your handshake should be firm yet gentle. It should show confidence without the need to impress or dominate.
Ideally, you should take a person’s hand full in yours and grip with the firmness you would a tennis racquet.
That is a trustable handshake. And remember, trustable is likeable.
Tip #17. Keep Eye Contact as You Shake
The thing about body language is that everything adds up.
People tend to sense a “vibe” more than make decisions on a single body gesture, so see how you can combine likeable signals.
For example, when you shake hands, maintain steady eye contact rather than look over their shoulder at the next “more important” person, or look down.
Tip #18. Now Add a Smile
Shake firmly, maintain eye contact…
… now add a slight smile. Studies show that a slow smile is considered more authentic and warmer than a “stiff” or forced smile.
The key differentiators: let your smile spread slowly – and allow the crinkles to appear next to your eyes.
Tip #19. Should You Use a Second Hand?
While a single handshake should suffice, if you want to show extra warmth, appreciation or joy at meeting someone (say, who you’ve been looking forward to meeting for a long time); use your second hand.
You can gently enclose the back of their hand with it or lightly grip their forearm.
This tends to convey extra friendliness for, and focus on, the person before you
How to Position Your Body For Maximum Connection
Tip #20. Stand Directly Opposite Them
Body positioning is a science in itself.
When you stand directly opposite someone, and make sure that your body is ‘pointing’ at your conversational partner, it can connote that your focus is 100% on them.
By contrast, if you angle away slightly and your feet or body are pointing off to the side of them, it can convey fearfulness, insecurity and mistrust.
Tip #21. Stand Next to Them
On the other hand, if you are physically large, or if the person opposite you tends toward the introverted, you can create a comforting “we vs. the world” feeling by standing next to them, and looking out at the hurly burly of a social setting through their eyes.
It’s been wisely stated that love isn’t looking into each other’s eyes all the time, but rather, sharing a vision looking out into the world and the future together.
There’s truth in this for creating a sense of friendship and camaraderie as well.
Tip #22. Don’t Lean On or Against Objects
You want to stand solidly on your feet.
When you are leaning on or against an object (e.g. a wall or piece of furniture) it signifies passivity and possibly insecurity.
It suggests subconsciously that you can’t stand on your own.
Whenever you can, stand straight and with good posture. As we reviewed above – feet hip length apart, crown of the head up and sitting like a crown over your straight spine, arms comfortably at your side, and breathing deeply.
The Secrets to Likeable Facial Expressions
The tv show, Lie to Me, based on the work of Paul Ekman, has popularized public awareness of just how much messaging is created by our subconscious micro-expressions.
There are hundreds of tiny muscles in your face – especially around your eyes and mouth – and they create a whole language of communication.
Yet, most people are unaware of what they are saying.
Here are some tips to make sure your face is communicating what you desire…
Tip #23. Make Your Neutral Face a Happy Face
It’s the luck of the draw…
Some people’s resting face is a smile. For others, it’s neutral. For still others it’s a smile.
You may be conveying grumpiness or displeasure without intending to.
So watch yourself in a mirror and ask friends to reflect back to you what they feel you are saying with your resting face.
If you need to, practice a little more smile, a little more happiness, a little more openness – and pay attention to how others respond.
Tip #24. The Power of a Steady Eye
When you speak with someone, maintain eye contact.
Flitting eyes suggest that you have something to hide, that you feel some kind of shame and therefore don’t want to be looked at directly.
So maintain eye contact for as long as comfortably possible.
Don’t break it too quickly, but at a natural pause, break eye contact naturally, so you don’t come off as weirdly staring.
Tip #25. Smile Often and Genuinely
There are whole books written on the subtleties and evolutionary purposes of smiling.
Let’s keep it simple – an authentic smile is a mode of saying “I’m safe. I like you. We’re on the same team.”
What people don’t trust is the sudden false smile that flashes on one’s face then disappears equally quickly.
Let your smile spread slowly and linger – and then slowly dissolve just as naturally.
Body Language Tips During Conversation
Body language isn’t just about entering a room or speaking from the stage. That should be clear by now.
So let’s review a couple of the best ways to create and maintain connection during conversations…
Tip #26. Mirror Their Movements
Once you are in conversation, there are several ways to create rapport with your partner.
One of the most effective is to subtly mirror their movements. Not enough to be obvious but enough to create that feeling that “you’re just like me.”
So if they are relaxed, you can relax more.
If they are upright and attentive, you can spring more to attention – and match their posture.
If they lean back, you can lean back – and when they lean in to be confessional or intimate – you lean right in there with them.
These slight matching movements create a subconscious sense of familiarity – which the brain interprets as likeability.
Tip #27. Listen Actively
I’m sure you can imagine how off-putting and cold it feels that when you speak to someone and they just stare back at you, stone-faced.
So let your face and body show that you are listening – and that you care.
You can nod slightly as they speak to let them know that you are in agreement or following their words closely.
You can lean in slightly to let them know that you are listening especially closely at times.
This tends to make people feel safe and appreciated.
And you can make emphatic hand gestures – a fist pump in the air, a thumbs up, a silent clap – to show that you are on board with their point and their intentions.
These techniques are particularly useful for introverts or people who are generally less expressive.
They create camaraderie and sense of being on the same team.
In sum, you send hundreds of body-language signals every day anyway.
People cannot help but notice the signals you send, just as you can’t help but send them. It’s wired into us as humans to take notice and to pay attention – even if we don’t know we’re paying attention.
The vast, vast majority of communication takes place below the surface, beyond our conscious minds, in our subconscious. We notice twitches, tics, and tells without consciously noticing them at all.
All these small signals are tallied and recorded in the brain unconsciously. And the end result?
A strong impression, one way or the other.
Especially when meeting someone for the first time, these subconsciously noticed signals determine whether you are received openly or with suspicion, warmly or with cool distance.
But now that you know these 27 secrets, you have a wealth of powerful and effective ways to create friendship, likeability and influence with others.
Take control of what was previously unnoticed and subconscious, and grab hold of other people’s impressions of you.
You are no longer a slave to subconscious programming. Instead, you are fully in control, in charge, and aware of how to present yourself to not just make a good impression, but a warm, genuine connection filled with positive regard.
No go create some good will, and happy communicating.
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The Best Body Language Tricks To Be Likeable
- Convey care and eliminate nervousness
- Treat everyone like a friend
- Be a go giver
- The power of touch
- Stand straight and relaxed
- Appear open and undefended
- When sitting, sit straight
- Keep your feet hip width apart
- Breathe to the point just below your belly
- Mirror and match their posture
- Stand still
- “Own the room”
- Smile as you walk in
- Greet someone immediately
- Show appreciation with your body
- Offer a firm but gentle handshake
- Keep eye contact as you shake
- Add a smile to your handshake
- Show extra warmth by adding a second hand to your handshake
- Stand opposite someone to show them your focus is on them
- Stand next to an introverted conversational partner
- Don’t lean on or against objects
- Make your neutral face a happy face
- Maintain eye contact during a conversation
- Smile often and genuinely
- Mirror their movements
- Listen actively