People judge you with their eyes before anything else when they meet you, so your body language is important in making a first impression and being remembered.
Practicing strong, impressive body language can change your career whether you’re interviewing for jobs, networking, asking for a raise, or anything else.
This article is going to quickly walk you through the most powerful, easy-to-implement body language tips so you can start making a great first impression with everyone you meet…
Maintaining eye contact shows confidence. Avoiding eye contact shows submission, nervousness, and a lack of confidence… especially while speaking.
And the best way to build strong eye contact is to practice in everyday situations.
That way when you’re in a “big” moment it’ll happen naturally. The biggest mistake you can make is waiting until important moments to start *trying* to maintain eye contact. It’s much easier to just build a habit of it by trying right now, and every day.
Pay extra attention to your eye contact while talking. Most people can quickly learn to maintain good eye contact while listening, but find it harder to do when speaking.
If you practice being aware of your eye contact in every interaction you have, you’ll find it very easy to maintain eye contact in high-pressure situations where body language counts for a lot!
Stand with your head straight when you walk. Imagine a string is pulling you up from the top of your head. Tuck your chin in slightly.
Walk slowly and calmly. Ever see a CEO rushing around, running to catch a door as it’s closing, or anything like that? Heck no. You haven’t.
They move slowly, confidently and deliberately.
So relax, move slowly and walk as if you’re confident and not worried. I don’t mean that if you’re going on an interview you should walk at half of your normal speed down the hallway and make people wait. But avoid any actions that seem “panicky”. Important people don’t run around in a panic.
How you sit is as important as any body language tip. Especially in job interviews.
Sit in an open stance. Try to take up a lot of space. Don’t scrunch into a small space with your arms or legs folded. Taking up more space shows confidence. It’s called a “power position” or “power stance”.
This is how *not* to sit. Notice this person is making themself small and appearing “closed off”. You can’t even see their face yet you can tell they’re not confident! This is the opposite of a power stance.
Crossing your arms or folding your hands is a defensive posture. It shows you’re hesitant, closed off, worried, etc. So avoid doing it. Keep your arms open. On your sides, on the table, etc.
Every once in a while, when you’re just meeting with friends or in a low-pressure situation, try to take up as much space as possible. Spread your arms out. Put your hand far out on the table, as far as it can reach, and leave it there. It feels good. You’ll see…
Don’t do this in an interview, but remember that feeling. That’s how you should feel. Never make yourself smaller or cross your arms out of nervousness or fear. It’ll just make you more nervous and apprehensive. Not good!
One more thing: Don’t fidget. It’s distracting and is another sign that you’re uncomfortable nervous.
Just like the eye contact, practice being aware of fidgeting in small, everyday situations. You can’t just “turn it off” in a big moment if you haven’t been practicing. It’ll be almost impossible. So notice when you’re fidgeting or tapping your hands/feet while talking to friends or family.
That way when you get into a big moment, your powerful body language will be second-nature.
This shows confidence. It shows you’re relaxed and having a good time. And it’ll make people more attracted to being around you.
You want to seem like you enjoy your work, and you’re enjoying the conversation with whoever you’re talking to. Smiling is one of the easiest ways to do it.
It’s okay to feel a bit nervous in a conversation. It happens to everyone. But try to avoid clenching your jaw, wrinkling your face or looking tense. People can sense this stuff immediately and it’ll change how they remember the interaction (and not in a good way).
Not too hard, not too soft. Keep it firm and confident but don’t try to squeeze the life out of their hand like it’s a fight to the death!
Practice with friends, your parents, siblings, etc.
If you get a halfway decent handshake that’s “normal”, it won’t be an issue and nobody will think twice about it. This is one of those body language tips where you just need to be decent at it. You don’t need the world’s best handshake. That’s the good news.
Just like someone instantly judges your body language, facial expression and posture when they meet you, they also judge what you wear. If you’re going for a job interview, wear fitted clothes that look GREAT, and if in doubt… over-dress a little bit. This is one of the things I recently covered in my interview do’s and don’ts article.
It’s better to be a little bit over-dressed. If the company seems to wear business casual, wear a tie. If the company dresses very casual (jeans, etc.), wear business casual instead (slacks, a shirt tucked in, no tie).
You now know the 6 best and most important body language tips that you can use to be more impressive in negotiations, networking events and first meetings, and of course job interviews!
Use this as a checklist as you practice in everyday interactions! (If you read the article and didn’t skip to the bottom, you’ll know why practicing NOW is so important instead of just waiting until the big moment and hoping you can change all of these body language habits at once. Because it’s extremely difficult that way, if not impossible).
If you do this and make an effort to practice and notice your body language in everyday situations, you’ll also have good language in high-pressure situations where you’re counting on your body language to portray the right image.
Get our free PDF with the top 30 interview questions to practice. Join 10,000+ job seekers in our email newsletter and we'll send you the 30 must-know questions, plus our best insider tips for turning interviews into job offers.