Body Language Tips
Body language is powerful. We’re not going to tell you that every body language expert you see on the news knows what they’re talking about, but positive body language is something you need to know about. If you want to be perceived as a true gentleman, a chivalrous trailblazer, then you need to have a bit of knowledge under your belt. Some of these are do’s, some are don’ts, and some you won’t even realize you’re doing until you think back to this post. Let’s hop into the best tips you’ll read today on how to be a better gentleman.
1. Don’t Fold Your Arms
You know every movie that’s ever been made, when someone says something off-putting to the six-foot tall guy, and he crosses his arms with a scowl? That makes our point for us. It puts the other person in a slightly defensive and/or anxious position, and nobody wants that. Crossing your arms, even with a smile on your face, immediately makes you closed off. We mean that metaphorically, and because you’re actually physically making yourself appear like a bulwark instead of an approachable gent.
Folding your arms is associated with anger. Even if the person perceiving your body language doesn’t see it as aggressive, it does show that you’re intensifying your attention. It could make others feel like they’re being put on the spot, or add pressure when they’re just trying to show or tell you something. In short, this is the most common body language problem we see most men making, and it’s not doing you any favors.
2. Don’t Block the Door
This one’s an odd one, but from enough previous job experience in Human Relations, it makes a ton of sense when you think about it. If you’re in a room with one or two doors, you should never stand within four feet of it. There are two reasons for this, the first being that it could look like you’re blocking the door. If someone in the room is having a particularly difficult conversation (in my case, someone was being fired), they’re stressed and might think you’re blocking the door to cut off their avenue of escape.
Other than that, if you’re standing close to a closed door, it looks like you’re trying to leave a function or event early. It shows that you’re eager to leave, which comes off as childish and immature. Either way, you could be giving off an aggressive, intimidating or eager-to-leave feeling to others.
3. Walk Your Own Pace
There’s nothing hypothetical or cryptic about that: walk your own pace. One sign of being important and a leader is to, well, actually lead. If you’re slowing your pace to keep up with others or you spot someone you’re supposed to meet, and then do that awkward bent-arm jog over to them, you appear awkward and a bit hapless.
However you like to walk, that’s how you should walk. If someone’s trying to catch up with you, you can pivot and wait, but don’t turn and walk towards them. You’ll see a similar tip to this in a lot of toxic “Alpha male” videos and blog posts. You’re not trying to attract other people with this, you’re simply showcasing that you are your own person. When you run up to meet someone, you seem eager and like a follower. When your own pace and others are to keep up with you, you’re immediately premiering yourself as important, which commands respect.
4. Good Posture Matters
We’re willing to bet there’s a 50/50 change you’re hunching right now, reading this on your phone. Good posture is one of the pivotal signs that you’re a proper gent. You’re not only showing that you’re at full attention and aware of your surroundings, but you also appear more approachable. Nobody feels confident walking up to someone who’s hunched over on their phone and interrupting whatever they’re doing. Not only that, but when you’re slouched, you’re going to elicit questions of “Are you okay?” as opposed to “Is this seat taken?”.
Yes, people think that the dark, brooding thing can be attractive, but it certainly isn’t approachable. Smiling is one of the very best things you can do to promote positive body language, appear approachable, and engage in conversation more easily. When you get into our number six tip, approaching others, you’re showing control. However, how you approach them matters, and if you aren’t smiling, you could be intimidating.
Intimidating doesn’t have to mean aggressive. There is nothing wrong with seeming intimidating, under the right circumstances. When engaging in conversation with others, smiling opens up the narrative to be about anything. Nothing is off the table, because you’re extremely approachable. If you’re not a fan of your own smile, consider getting a teeth whitening kit or getting some dental work done. Your smile is powerful; don’t underestimate it.
6. Dress for Success
If you’ve seen The Pursuit of Happyness, then you’ll remember the scene where Will Smith answered a question with, “I’ll bet he had on some really nice pants.” We just want to make it clear that clothes don’t make the man, but you’re also not going to come off with positive body language if you’re not dressing appropriately. You don’t have to go and blow a bunch of money on a new wardrobe, just ensure that what you are wearing is free of rips, tears and stains.
A guy smiling with an open stance, one that promotes being approached, is going to do far better if he’s in a pair of fitted jeans and a cardigan over an oversized v-neck t-shirt and skull ring trousers. Dressing well shows that you respect yourself, which is in itself, a form of body language. This tip is completely context-based. If you’re wearing bright, clean-cut attire, you could still be putting off negative body language. Think of how you dress as a prerequisite to good body language.
7. Eye Contact
Has this point been stressed enough over the years? Yes. But we’re going to bring up a different scenario in which eye contact really stands out. There’s an endless amount of magazine articles that tell you your stare can be sexy, can make a woman go nuts. We’ve all read that before, so let’s focus on what it does during everything else. Job interviews, meeting with clients, talking with your in-laws, they all require dedicated eye contact and a sharp level of focus.
Like we said, people want full attention on them, especially when they’re talking. You can turn your body towards someone, but if your eyes aren’t locked on theirs while that smile plays on your lips, then you’re not going to achieve the trifecta of positive body language. Even if you’re smiling, even if your body is turned towards them, your eye contact still seals the deal. It can undo it all. If your eyes wander, if you see something over their shoulder, you should snap back towards them and apologize. Redouble your attention.
8. Locked Body Position
Whether you’re trying to win the affection of a gorgeous woman at an event, or you’re just trying to show your boss that you’re paying attention when they’re talking, this one’s a must. Body language experts used to say that if you’re in a group, your toes will naturally be pointed towards the person that you’re attracted to. That’s been recanted in recent years, because now it just shows who you’re paying attention to and listening to. If you’re sitting down and your toes are pointed towards someone, the rest of your body will be as well.
Go ahead, in your chair right now, turn your feet forty-five degrees to the side. Your body is itching to move with it, at least a little bit. When your body is locked towards someone, it shows that you’re paying attention, that you’re really listening to what they have to say. Nobody wants to speak to another person if they feel that they’re being ignored, or even half-listened to. They want full attention. We’re social creatures, and we thrive on attention (most of us). Put the good foot forward and have your feet pointed towards the person you’re speaking with, your elbows locked, and listen to tip number nine.
9. Keep Your Hands Busy
You don’t have to be fiddling with your phone, you don’t need to be drumming your fingers on a desk, but we beg of you, don’t let them just hang by your side. If you don’t have anything to do, keep them dug into your pockets with the thumb poking out. When your arms are just hanging by your side, you give off this awkward feeling, like you don’t really know if you should even be where you are. You can dig them into your pockets or cradle your chin in one hand if you’re sitting down, just make sure they’re kept busy.
10. Have a Good Handshake
If you can give a good handshake, you’re already halfway to a positive first impression. Handshakes are like a man’s first line of defense, a testament to their body language. A weak handshake will make you come off as meek, uncertain, anxious, while a good handshake will drive the right points home: you are confident, you do know what you’re doing, and dammit you’re confident about it. A good handshake not only exudes confidence but also shows professionalism if you’re looking to make a bigger impact in the workplace.
Striving to be a Gentleman
It isn’t just about glorious threads or your wallet’s density: these body language tips are crucial to shape the perception others will have of you. Some of these tips are common courtesy, some are deeper psychological signals that you’re sending. Between premiering more attractive and using your body language to show respect to others, your picture will be hanging next to “Gentleman” in the dictionary in no time.