How to Become More Aware of Your Own Body Language

Your body language is always sending out signals about you to other people and they are reacting to you both consciously and subconsciously as a result of these signals. Being more aware of the signals that you are sending out allows you to control the image that you are presenting and also helps you to understand when you are sending out the wrong sorts of signals to other people (e.g., hostility, anger, irritation, etc.). This article provides some ways for you to become more aware of your own body language so that you can make changes where needed and improve your networking and relationship skills.


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    Take a look at yourself in a mirror, a window reflection etc. How do you think another person would perceive you right now? Are you slouching and trying to hide away or are you standing up tall and proud? A good time to check out yourself is when you are waiting somewhere, or you are in a meeting. Use this time to "step outside of yourself" and to view how others would be viewing you. Simply imagine what others might be seeing when they're looking at you. Is it a good picture?
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    Find a trusted feedback adviser. Get a good friend or a family member whom you trust to be objective. Have them tell you how they feel your body posture, facial expressions, and overall demeanor comes across to them. Tell them they are at total liberty to be honest; after all, they see you all the time when you are busy seeing them and others. Most of the time you will find that they do have an opinion; and be sure to take this as constructive criticism, not destructive or mean.
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    Tell your trusted feedback adviser how you wish to come across. Ask them for advice on how they think that you could better project your image. Try a different way of standing (stand up tall!), or try different facial expressions. Get them to give you feedback on these practice changes as you do them. Remember those that work best so that you can continue working on them.
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    Listen to the things people say. People often make short remarks about us that we either deflect or resist really taking in because we don't want to change and we don't like thinking that we're being criticized. But some of what people say about improving ourselves is very useful information. If you overhear someone criticizing you, or something gets back to you through someone else, assess this information critically rather than emotionally. If there is a grain of truth to what is being said, you have a ready-made answer to what has to be changed. For example, you might learn that people find you morose, grumpy, irritable, bad-tempered, lazy, etc. and a lot of that will definitely be showing through in your body language. Time to shape up and not react emotionally to these tidbits of feedback!
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    Use the resources at hand. Many people now have the ability to film themselves with a camera or a computer. Try it out. Find a passage to read or think of a situation to act out. Film it (or get a trusted friend to film it). Play it back. Consider:
    • What are your initial reactions?
    • What things about your performance bother you? Please you?
    • Are you cringing at anything?
    • Write a list of the things you'd like to change. For example, muttering, saying "um" a lot, looking defensive, clenching your fists, etc.
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    Keep practicing and reviewing. It's not a case of trying to be perfect; it's a case of trying to be the best that we can and to bring out the best of our personalities so that other people can see the real us and don't have to dig through the layers of self-defensiveness and poor habits. You are capable of being the real you with just a little extra effort. Once you are aware of your own body language and the signals that it is sending out, you'll be totally amazed with how effective changing the negative body language will be for boosting your self-esteem and attracting people to you. Good luck!


  • Watch for:
    • Defensive: Crossed arms, crossed legs, clenched fists and jaw, tightness of stature, short breathing
    • Afraid or nervous: Biting nails, picking at fluff, fidgeting, unfocused, eyes moving all around, stiff body, avoiding eye contact
    • Angry: clenched fists, closed mouth, short, sharp breaths, crossed arms and legs
    • Embarrassed: Avoiding eye contact, nervous laugh, red face, blush easily, trying to make yourself smaller by not standing tall, hunched
    • Not revealing: Keeping away from people, not making eye contact, trying to avoid handshakes etc., monotone voice, monosyllabic responses, tight mouth

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Categories: Language Nuances