Body language—or kinesics as many anthropologists call it—is a language of confidence and self-assurance. Isn’t it quite fascinating that your body language reveals to the world perhaps more than what you intend to disclose? In his book Silent Messages, Professor Albert Mehrabian reveals that 55 percent of communication takes place through body language. It means people pay more attention to our posture and gestures than the words we speak.
Your stance, posture, gestures, and gaze can reveal whether you are a leader, a follower or an average Joe. We only get one chance to leave a lasting impression; why then should we not make the best use of perfecting the body language? In this feature, Soulveda lists different postures and gestures that can reveal the real you to the world, even before you speak a word.
Assuming the posture of a leader
Imagine, sitting at a job interview or at a meeting with an investor slouched, with crossed arms, crossed legs, and locked ankles. Your presentation is flawless and you’ve answered all of the questions without a stutter. Yet, the interviewer seems unimpressed and the investor just checked his wristwatch the third time. Why? Your body language or in this case a ‘closed’ posture is speaking to them, louder than your words.
A closed posture is a marker of low confidence, nervousness, and uncertainty. A listener with crossed arms displays an air of indifference and disapproval. When a speaker adopts the same posture, it shows that they are unsure. Leaning backward with crossed legs while seating on the chair is considered aggressive. It’s as though one is yelling and throwing offensive remarks without saying a word. A slouch is the biggest red flag in the vocabulary of body language; it screams of one’s timidity, insecurity and lack of authority and makes you look unattractive and frightened.
An open body is the posture of a leader—a sign of power, dominance, and control. Whether you are standing or seated, an open body exudes confidence. For an open body posture, keep your spine straight, spread your knees and feet till your shoulders’ width, and keep your arms beside your thighs. It is a power-posture that CEOs, presidents and several people who demand authority and respect assume.