People skills are one of the most important things when it comes to forming relationships in and out of the workplace. It begins in school when you first start making friends, what can you do if you are not the most social person to improve your people skills? We will look at five body language techniques that will make others around you instantly feel at ease and why they are so effective.

“A good first impression can work wonders”.

J.K. Rowling

Let us start with the basics. The most effective way to open any conversation when meeting someone new is with a smile, no matter what the social situation is or who the other person is. Starting with a smile will ensure you look warm and approachable. People like to deal and do business with people they like, getting someone to like you initially will always begin with a smile. Smiling also helps you to feel happier, this will in turn give you more confidence to achieve what you set out to do.

When engaging in a conversation, mirror the other person
When meeting someone for the first time, you need to build rapport and you have a limited amount of talking time to make an impression. What can you do while they are talking to you? Without losing too much focus on what they are saying so you can still participate in the conversation, mirror their body language. If they are sitting down, sit down at the same height and in the same way, towering over them will never help. If you can mimic the gestures they are making with their hands, this will help to open a person up ensuring a deeper connection.

Maintain eye contact
When someone is talking to you, the best way to show them that you care about what they are saying is to maintain eye contact to show you are listening. If you’re looking off into the distance, this shows boredom and that your head is not really in the conversation. Who wants to keep talking to someone if they feel they are not being listened to? It can come across as being rude and for good reason. While listening, agreeing with what they are saying by an occasional slow nod with a smile here and there is a great way of showing you’re fully engaged in the conversation.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression”.

Will Rogers

Give yourself confidence by standing tall and proud
Standing tall and proud gives off the impression you are full of confidence (even if you aren’t). Standing with your shoulders slouched shows that you are not comfortable and can even make you seem of dubious character. This is not the sort of impression you want to give anyone, people like being around confident people who look like they are on a mission. Stand tall with your shoulders back in a sort of power stance and start with a firm handshake.

Pay close attention to your arms
What are your arms doing? Standing with your arms crossed can show insecurity and it can also look threatening. The whole point in the first impression is to seem warm and comfortable and this must show from your arms. Sometimes we don’t realise what we are doing with our different body parts because we are concentrating very hard on the situation and the conversation to ensure we don’t slip up. Ensuring you are showing confidence and comfort with the situation is something you need to focus on consciously, this can be done by lacing your fingers or by keeping your arms open and relaxed.

Make that great first impression, it will go a long way to you getting what you want out of life. GSY



How To Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie