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Nonverbal communication is the most under-utilized tool in our arsenal.

Studies have shown at a MINIMUM, 60% of our communication is nonverbal–through body, voice tone and facial expressions. 

However, we rarely think about our body language. When you go on a date–you think about what you’re going to say. When you go into an interview you think about what you will say to answer a question. Far too rarely do we think about how we want to say something.

Body language can help you read other’s cues as well as make sure your message is coming across exactly the way you want. In the video above I explain the following concepts:

#1: Jazz Hands Rock

Our brain instinctively looks at people’s hands because they are truth indicators. Back in caveman days it was important to be able to see someone’s hands so you knew they were not holding a weapon. We still have trouble relaxing when we can’t see someone’s hands. This one is easy:

You want people to trust you, always have your hands visible. click to tweet

#2: Show Me Your Torso

You can show nonverbal respect and engagement by always keeping your torso aimed at the person you are speaking with. This might seem obvious, but pay attention at a networking event; people often point their torsos elsewhere (sometimes where they secretly want to go…the exit, the buffet, the bar…). When you point your torso away the other person will perceive you as snobby, unfriendly and less likable. So aim away and use your torso to make connections.

#3: Smirky Smirk Smirk

We are taught (especially women) that we should smile when we are nervous, smile to fake it until we make it, smile all the time because it is a badge of appeasement. I hate this advice.

Only smile if you mean it!

Otherwise you give off this fake, inauthentic grimace and that is worse than no smile at all. See the difference between these fake smiles and real smiles:

Fake Smiles Vs. Real Smiles:

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 1.44.43 PM

#4: Chin Jut What I Don’t Need

A chin jut is a nonverbal sign of anger. It can be territorial to jut your chin at someone. Men do this especially when speaking about or talking to someone they don’t like. This is a secret cue for you to watch out for. And be careful! When you see one, emotions are usually running high.

#5: Aboooouuuut Face!

If you want to really learn about human emotions you have to learn to read the face.

Hi, I'm Vanessa!

Hi, I'm Vanessa!

Lead Investigator, Science of People

I'm the author of the national bestselling book Captivate, creator of People School, and human behavioral investigator in our lab.

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