It’s normal to feel anxious in a new situation … in a new job, at a party, or a social event. We know that first impressions matter … And so many swings in the balance … And we want to seem like someone who is warm and friendly … And not like someone who is stupid, or some weirdo to avoid. Understanding body language is fundamental here … And the tips below can help you make the right impression.
1. Project an impression of openness: The number one key to appearing warm and friendly is projecting an aura of openness. This is usually achieved by using open body language – which basically involves the following:
- Don’t cross your arms; allow them to hang naturally at your sides.
- Similarly, if you’re sitting down, keep your legs stretched out and uncrossed.
- Lean forward to show an interest in the other person.
- Stand up straight; don’t slouch.
- Smile (that helps to put both you and the other person at ease).
2. Pay attention to eye contact: Making good eye contact is essential as well. It indicates you’re happy to be talking to that person, are comfortable and confident, with nothing much to hide. However, if someone won’t meet our eye, it makes them seem a bit shadier (or it can simply send the message that you lack confidence.) Also, try to be natural and don’t stare at the person, as they’ll feel uncomfortable and want to escape.
3. Adjust your signals to the other person’s signals: An astute individual is also aware of and can read the body language, of other people too. For example, if their non-verbal language seems quite closed and defensive, you may need to back off and give the person space.
4. Engage in Conversation: To create a great impression, you really want the other person to pick up the message that you think they’re wonderful! The best way to do that is to ask them open questions – so you find out all about them, and the things that interest them. For example, what kinds of things are they passionate about? What are their hopes and their dreams for the future? Then respond to their answers with other open questions – to build a fuller picture of what that person’s like.