Your words may be saying one thing but your body may be
giving out a completely different message! Most of us are very
fluent in reading body language even if we don’t realise it.

The actual words that someone uses only account for about 7%
of the message we receive with over the half the message
being a visual one (that’s one reason why e-mails can be so
disastrous at times; we only get a part of the writer’s intended

Stand Up for Yourself
Have you noticed how we tend to pay more attention to the
person who is standing? People who are standing usually look
more powerful than those sitting (this fact has particular
resonance for anyone with a disability). It’s because they are
taking up more space.

We often assume, when we see someone standing amongst a
group of people sitting, that they are of higher status. It can also
make them look busier and important, as if they have many
more demands on their time.

Sprawl and Be Noticed
If you are sitting it is still possible to look powerful by taking up
as much space as you can. Stretch out your legs as far as you
can, have your arms out over your chair, and keep your body
movements open and expansive.

When you are on the phone and want to feel more powerful and
in control, just try standing up. It will help you sound more
assertive and project a sense of urgency.

Read Your Client
If your client starts using a lot of hand-to-face movements such
as scratching their chin, holding their face etc, it most likely
means that they are thinking of making a purchase but that
something is holding them back; they have a concern about

If customers are unsure about something they often don’t ask
for clarification but just leave. Reading their body language
correctly could help you give them the information they need to
feel comfortable enough to proceed.

Nodding Off
In the Western world when we’re listening a lot of us move our
heads or nod, women in particular do this to show that they
understand. However, it can look as though we are seeking
approval from the speaker and be interpreted as a weakness.
If you want to look powerful try and keep your head movements
to a minimum.

Mirror, Mirror!
We are all attracted to those people who we see as being
similar to ourselves. It can create a sense of harmony or
belonging if two people are adopting similar poses. Just look at
people who are in agreement; they will often be sitting in a
similar fashion, mirroring each other’s body movements.
Sometimes people consciously ape the movements of others in
order to create this sense of harmony but be careful, it’s easy to
make yourself look ridiculous and simply succeed in irritating
the other person!

Stop Fiddling
And finally, just try and be aware of what gestures and body
language you adopt when you are not feeling confident. Do you
start to chew your fingernails, or fiddle with your hair? Or maybe
you revert to grooming yourself, like fiddling with your socks or
brushing down your suit?

We tend to do this when we are
uncomfortable or with someone we are unsure of. We start
grooming to make ourselves more presentable or we use the
displacement type activities like hair fiddling. All dead give
aways of our lack of confidence!

Watch and Learn
You may be surprised by how much you know about body
language. The next time you find yourself with a few minutes to
spare just sit and quietly observe the behaviour of people
around you. You will be able to tell a lot from simply watching
their body language! But be careful how you are sitting – they
may be also watching you!

Author's Bio: 

Jane grew up in a non affluent, primarily working class or blue collar area of the UK where educational achievements were not high on the list of priorities, especially for girls! However, Jane’s childhood love of books and reading (fed by raiding all the jumble sales and thrift shops she could find for material) helped her secure a place at a school which nurtured her talents and eventually led on to University and post graduate study.

Those early experiences of the lottery of opportunity had a profound impact on her and have been reflected in her career. Jane has spent a lifetime working with people of all ages, class, status, income and profession; helping them achieve to their full potential. In the spring of 2003, in her 40s, she decided to make a significant life style change herself and established her own successful company, changingpeople.

Her experience is extensive, covering both the private and public sector, ranging from small business owners to large organisations, professors at Cambridge University to those who may have no formal qualifications who know they want to change their lives but aren’t yet sure how to go about it.