Building friendship through non-verbals

Over 50% of our communication is about body language, so being conscious of your body language and the other person’s will help you build rapport.

Confident Body Language: Submissive body language
  • Upright, relaxed body posture
  • Direct eye contact
  • Open Gestures
  • Relaxed facial expressions
  • Unambiguous hand signals
  • A clear, confident voice
  • Quietness
  • A nervous disposition
  • Slumped postures
  • Defensive gestures
  • Self-conscious behaviour

Non-verbal communication

  1. Make eye contact: The more eye contact you make, the more you become aware of, and understand other people’s intentions and meanings. To gaze indicates interest, but avoid staring. Remember communication is as much a question of accurate reception as of skilful transmission.
  2. Smile. Lively and expressive facial expressions evoke positive responses from others, providing information about us which words cannot supply. Anyone can appear attractive if they smile.
  3. Nod Approval. You express approval and indicate interest in others by using head nods. The more encourage other people to talk, the more likely it is that they will trust and warm to ‘you.
  4. Open up. Expressive gesturing that is neither contrived nor affected, suggests openness. Avoid defensive barrier gestures. Palms up, or palm-outward gestures convey a sense of welcome.
  5. Look confident. An upright posture suggests confidence and conveys active interest and involvement. Avoid stooping and slouching as these give the impression of sloppiness and lack of interest.
  6. Don’t back off. In western cultures we tend to distance ourselves more than in other cultures, so there are advantages in encouraging closeness. You soften stressful encounters by relaxing your body stance.
  7. Good timing. Be aware of the other person’s body language and harmonise with it where appropriate do not deliberately copy it.
  8. Watch your tone. Avoid speaking too loudly, harshly or rapidly and keep the ‘ums’, ‘ers’, and ‘ahs’ minimum. Remember, tone of voice can be as important as the words themselves.

Choose a set of conversations, or meetings and monitor what you did in that situation

Body Language Situation 1 Situation 2
1. Make eye contact
2. Smile.
3. Nod Approval.
4. Open up.
5. Look confident.
6. Don’t back off.
7. Good timing.
8. Watch your tone.

Notice your body language affects others

(Heppell, 2015)

Your Body Language Your other might think you are… You?
No eye contact
  • Not interested
  • Not friendly
  • Untrustworthy
  • Not confident
  • ew to job
  • Unhappy
  • Disagreeing
  • Angry
  • Disapproving
  • Nervous
Overuse of hand gestures / pointing fingers/ tapping fingers
  • Aggressive
  • Impatient
  • Bored
Cross arms
  • Defensive
  • Unwilling to listen
Use of faulty equipment
  • Pays no attention to detail
  • Your organisation doesn’t care enough / has no money to put things right
  • Too Casual
  • Have no respect
Wear snagged tights / dirty shoes / are generally dirty and unkempt
  • Unprofessional
  • Uncaring
  • Not fit for a job
Have bad breath / body odour
  • Saying “stay away from me”
Have badly applied make up
  • Trying hard but could do better
Work in an untidy way
  • Uncaring of yourself and your customers
Speak very loudly and quickly
  • Aggressive
Raise your voice during conversation
  • Angry
  • Stressed
Speak very softly
  • Not confident
Work in an untidy way
  • Uncaring of yourself and your customers
Use of out of date literature
  • Untrustworthy – incorrect information

Seven Secrets for attractive body language

(Pease, et al., 2008)

  1. Face: Have an animated face and make smiling a part of your regular repertoire. Make sure you flash your teeth
  2. Gestures: Be expressive but don’t overdo it. Keep your fingers closed when you gesture, your hands below chin level and avoid arm or feet crossing
  3. Head movement: use triple nods when talking and head tilt when listening. Keep your chin up.
  4. Posture: Lean forwards when listening, and stand straight when speaking
  5. Territory: stand as close as you feel comfortable. If the other person moves back, don’t step forward again.
  6. Mirror: Subtly mirror the body language of other.
  7. Eye Contact: give the amount of eye contact that makes everyone feel comfortable. Unless looking at others is a cultural no-no, lookers gain more credibility than non-Iookers.

Posture and Preparation for Meeting New People

(Lowndes, 2003)

  • Imagine the recipient is an old friend
  • Visualise a successful meeting / party
  • When walking through a door, look up
  • Look first for a second. Pause. Then give a big warm smile
  • Make the smile exclusive to the recipient
  • Do a full body turn to them and give them your full attention
  • Look at the person when they talk – or bounce between the speaker and the contact
  • Glue eyes on the person – keep looking after they’ve finished talking, and then break slowly
  • Limit the fidgets – don’t twitch, squirm etc – it could be mistaken for lying
  • Look receptive
  • Open Hands and open wrists
  • Arms uncrossed
  • Legs slightly apart
  • Small smile