Power-Packed Body Language Tips For Making A Killer First Impression


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body language tips

Want to leave a great first impression when you meet someone new? Here are a few body language tips to help you create a lasting first impression, whether at an interview, business meeting, or a date.

The Importance Of Body Language

All of us wish to make a good first impression. By leaving a strong first impression on someone we meet for the first time, we can increase our chances of being liked and favored. Workforce and talent management expert Ashira Prossack explains “First impressions matter – a lot! You only get one shot to make a first impression.” 

In fact, it is easier to leave a great first impression than to fix a bad impression. And the key to doing that is focusing on your nonverbal communication and body language. When you know certain body language tips, you can use them to your advantage to accomplish your goal of impressing someone. Studies have found that 93% of our communication with other people is nonverbal. This is why, how we use our body language is very important.

Read Your Body Language Doesn’t Lie. Here Is How You Can Strip Down Naked Everyone’s Personality

The Need To Make A Good First Impression

Bestselling author Peter Economy explains “It’s especially important to make a good first impression. Why? Because within the first few minutes of meeting someone, we are already making decisions about what the other person’s intentions are, and whether or not the person is credible.

According to Dr. Lillian Glass, a body language expert, the way we carry ourselves in public can significantly influence the first impression we leave on others. She says “Introverts and extroverts need to be mindful of their body language to make a good impression. You have to convey that you’re confident, that you’re an open person, and that you’re the type of person that someone wants to work with or do business with.”

Body language and posture are the basis for building a powerful image. It makes us appear graceful and confident instantly. Posture is the reason why celebrities and business leaders captivate and allure us. Body language expert India Ford explains “Our body language has the power to amplify our presence in any situation. The way you walk, stand, sit and make eye contact can super-boost your image when walking into a room full of people.” 

Read This Image Test Can Tell You What Others First Notice About You

Body Language For Best First Impressions

According to author and founder of The Art of Manliness Brett McKay and his wife author and editor Kate McKay, we need to need to focus on 3 distinct aspects of nonverbal communication:

  • Openness
  • Confidence
  • Interest
body language

A. Body Language Tips For Showing Openness

When we appear “open” to others, instead of looking “closed”, we seem more welcoming, approachable, warm, and safe. Openness enables us to build a stronger connection with someone. By wisely using our body parts, we can communicate openness in a nonverbal manner to people we meet for the first time.

Here are a few body language tips for appearing “open” while communicating with others:

1. Eyes

body language eye

Confidently make friendly and warm eye contact with the people you meet and interact with. By having an open gaze and looking around you will communicate that you are approachable and invite others to initiate contact. Brett and Kate suggest “Don’t wear sunglasses unless you really need them. And try not to blink excessively.”

2. Throat

body language throat

When you have an open neck, you show that you are welcoming and warm in a social setting. On the other hand, covering your neck with a shirt and tie shows that you have a protected authority.

“So in your off-hours, remove your tie, and unbutton your shirt a little. Or wear a v-neck tee, which not only reveals your neck but offers a little more access to your heart as well,” added Brett and Kate.

3. Mouth

body language mouth

Smile every time you meet someone new. It is as simple as it is effective. The McKays add “A smile signifies an invitation. It bespeaks friendliness, warmth, and openness. And when you smile at someone, they feel as though you find them appealing.”

4. Hands

body language hands

Make sure not to cross your arms while talking to someone. This posture appears defensive and creates a distance between you and the other person. “Sit and stand with arms by your sides rather than crossed over your stomach,” they suggest. Moreover, by showing open palms, you will communicate that you are open, trustworthy, and honest.

5. Feet

body language feet

Our feet often reveal our inner truth. When you cross your feet and wrap one leg over the other, it depicts that you are a closed person. So keep your feet open and pointed towards the person you are talking with.

By keeping your body parts open, you will be able to establish a better connection with someone.

Read Body Language: From Common Signs to Spotting Lies

Power-Packed Body Language Tips For Making A Killer First Impression

B. Body Language Tips For Showing Confidence

Although you want to seem open to leave a good first impression, that doesn’t mean you have to look docile and timid. Being confident while being open and vulnerable shows that you have enough mental strength. Confidence is a crucial ingredient and one of the most important body language tips that you need to keep in mind.

“Confidence is an in-demand resource, not only in ourselves but in those we associate with. People like to partner up with others who raise their own status. And they like comrades who will help them navigate life with aplomb; everyone wants someone with moxie on their team,” explained Brett and Kate.

Being confident, comfortable, and relaxed will help you build the image you want to by making others feel comfortable and safe around you.

Here are a few body language tips for confidence:

1. Don’t hide your insecurities

body language dont hide your insecurities

We often try to mask or cover up traits and aspects about ourselves that we feel ashamed about. Most of us feel embarrassed and insecure about certain unique physical flaws that we try to hide from others. However, by trying to mask our flaws we end up bringing more attention to them. This makes us self-absorbed leaving less energy to focus on others and create a killer impression.

Confidence can truly compensate for a lot of physical shortcomings. People are drawn to those who embrace themselves, have fun with their flaws, and really don’t seem to give a damn,” writes the husband-wife duo. It is only when we become comfortable in our own skin, we become truly attractive and confident.

2. Practice poise

body language practice poise

Your posture and poise are extremely important when trying to create a first impression and appear confident. When you fidget, bite your nails, crack your knuckles or tap your foot, you appear stressed, nervous, and anxious. However, when you are still and have control over your posture, you appear calm and confident.

The McKays write “Stand with good, balanced posture. Good posture signifies health and confidence. You don’t want your posture to be too rigid though; you should be standing up straight, but your body should feel relaxed.

Stand with your feet about 6-8 inches apart when in a social gathering or meeting someone. This will make you seem powerful and confident.

3. Approach others and initiate contact

body language initiate contact

One of the greatest signs of confidence is initiating contact with someone you don’t know or haven’t met. “It’s nice to be approached, naturally, but people find it flattering when you move towards them. Step towards others while projecting a warm disposition and with a smile on your face, so that your approach seems friendly, rather than threatening,” the authors add.

Respect the other person’s personal space and stand your ground as you start interacting with them.

4. Focus on your feet

body language focus on your feet

Our feet often depict our true emotions and it is the least consciously managed body part. When we meet someone new, our fight, flight, or freeze response kicks in and we often step back unconsciously. “You may find them subconsciously pointing away from the person you’re interacting with, and towards an exit – contradicting the impression that you’re confident and present,” explained Brett McKay and his wife Kate McKay.

Make sure your feet are firmly planted on the ground and there is adequate space between your feet to appear more confident. 

5. Use hand gestures

body language hand gestures

Utilizing your hands and gestures when you interact with someone new is one of the most helpful body language tips you can get. By naturally using your hand gestures while talking, you can make your communication more effective and interesting.

As mentioned earlier, keep your hand open and be natural. The authors suggest “Not only have expressive people been found to make others feel more comfortable, but making gestures has also been shown to cut down on your tendency to say ‘uhhh’ and ‘ummm’.”

Read 15 Common Body Language Blunders That Successful People Avoid

C. Body Language Tips For Showing Interest

Authors Brett and Kate McKay suggest that by showing interest in others, we encourage them to show interest in us. And one of the best ways to show someone that you are interested is to use your nonverbal communication. Our behaviors and mannerisms can bring a whole new level in conveying interest.

Here are a few body language tips for showing interest in another person:

1. Smile frequently

body language smile frequently

When you have a pleasant smile on your face the first time you meet someone and continue to keep smiling as you interact with them, it shows that you are involved in the conversation and you are enjoying their company. In fact, when we smile, it not only improves our mood, but also the moods of those around us.

2. Acknowledge

body language acknowlege

When you are conversing with someone, make sure you acknowledge what the other person is saying. This can be done by the simple gesture of nodding your head. However, keep in mind that acknowledgment doesn’t necessarily mean agreement.

3. Lean forward

body language lean forward

Leaning in is a classic sign of interest and is one of the simplest body language tips you can find anywhere. It shows that you are listening attentively and you are mentally and emotionally close to the person.

The authors suggest “You needn’t spend an entire dinner at the edge of your seat, however; lean back when the conversation moves through lighter lulls, and forward when the discussion dips into heavier and more personal topics.”

4. Make eye contact

body language make eye contact

As mentioned earlier, making positive, non-threatening eye contact can help you build an instant connection with someone. As long as you don’t stare at them and make them uncomfortable, eye contact can show how much interested you are in the other person.

The McKays add “aim to make eye contact about 60% of the time during a conversation, looking away or down at their mouth about every 5 seconds or so.” It is also important that you face them straight on, particularly when speaking to someone of the opposite sex.

Read 5 Body Language Hacks That Can Increase Attraction

5. Mind your legs

body language mind your legs

In case you are seated while interacting with the other person, make sure you don’t extend your leg straight out in front of you. This creates a mental wall between you and the other individual.

As for your feet, “keep them pointing towards your partner,” suggest Brett and Kate. This is one of the simplest body language tips for communicating interest in someone.

6. Touch

body language touch

According to a 2015 study, touch has a crucial role to play in our lives and is important for improving both our physical and mental health during childhood and adulthood. The study states “Touch is central in building the foundations of social interaction, attachment, and cognition,” and has neurophysiological and epigenetic benefits. Another study found that “Casual social touch influences emotional perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors of interaction partners.”

Touching in a non-threatening way can promote intimacy, warmth and create an instant connection. It shows that you find the other person appealing and attractive physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This can be highly beneficial in dates and romantic encounters.

However, touch can help to show interest in non-romantic interactions as well. “Light, friendly, affirmative touches like a handshake, a pat on the back, a hand on the shoulder, or even just a tap to get someone’s attention or direct it somewhere else, can build a warmer bond between colleagues,” they add. But the authors warn that “ one has to tread carefully” during this time of “heightened sensitivity to sexual harassment.”

Here are some other quick body language tips to help you make a great first impression on someone:

  • Always greet someone with a firm welcoming handshake. This can set the tone for the interaction and decide how the entire conversation flows.
  • Observe the body language of others and watch what kind of nonverbal cues they use to communicate with you.
  • It is a good idea to mirror the other person’s body language and facial expressions. Align yourself with them. This will show you like the person and acknowledge their presence.
  • Laugh openly, but appropriately. It will help to make the other person relax and feel comfortable. Moreover, it will break the ice and lighten the mood.
  • Don’t blink too much. Excessive and rapid blinking shows that you are uncomfortable, nervous, stressed or even sick. This can greatly hamper your conversation.
  • Monitor your voice and vocal quality. Keep your voice low and depict credibility and confidence through your voice. Speak softly, slowly and emphasize on important words. Also make sure you don’t engage in a hesitant speech pattern.
  • Avoid dominant postures like putting your hands on your hips unless you want to convey arrogance, superiority or disapproval to the other person.
  • Avoid dropping your head to tilting it to the side. This sends the message that you lack confidence and so you are avoiding eye contact.
  • Respect cultural differences. Learn about their cultural norms before meeting someone so that you don’t end up disrespecting them unintentionally.

Nonverbal Communication And First Impressions 

Did you know it takes only 27 seconds to make a first impression? According to new research, 69% of Americans form a first impression about somebody before the other person even speaks. According to the study by Dollar Shave Club, factors like smiling (53%), being well-spoken (49%), being polite (53%), being a good listener (48%), smelling nice (46%), and making eye contact (49%) are crucial for creating a positive first impression.

The researchers also observed that 44% of people think that body language is a determining factor in forming a positive first impression. Apart from these, 83% of participants claimed that confidence also plays an important role. On the other hand, if you behave arrogantly (62%), dress shabbily (49%), and smell bad (66%) , then you will end up creating a poor first impression. 

This is why it is crucial that you are aware of your nonverbal communication and body language during the first 27 seconds when you meet someone new to make a positive impression. Nonverbal cues like smiling, eye contact, posture, and body language can significantly enhance or weaken the first impression you make on someone.

Read The Art of Sexual Communication: How to Strike the Best First Impression

Leave A Lasting Impression

Jeff Haden, author of The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win, writes “When you meet someone, make sure you’re sending the right signals. Sure, your body language is a fundamental part of who you are. Chances are you don’t even think about how you stand, sit, and move. You should, of course, because other people instinctively pick up the nonverbal signals you send.

The body language tips mentioned here can help you appear more open and confident and show interest in someone to make a killer first impression. This will allow you to connect better with everyone you meet on a regular basis.

Here is an interesting video that you may find helpful:

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