In the last article, we discussed the nuances of reading and understanding body language. How the influence of body language works? We discovered that you have to learn how to read body language in the proper context and pick up on all the signals from your subject, in order to get the most out of reading body language.
How The Influence of Body Language works?
In this article, we’re going to talk about some practical ways that you can utilize concepts in body language to build up a rapport with your subject and immediately increase your power of persuasion via nonverbal statements.
Where you stand when speaking to someone – how close is too close?
Assuming you want to convey thoughtfulness and respect when speaking to your subject, you want to employ what is referred to as proper zone distances.
These zones are invisible boundaries that determine how close you can get to another person without invading their personal space and causing them anxiety. Keep in mind these four personal zones: intimate, personal, social, and public.
The intimate zone is the closest zone to the subject. Practically speaking, it measures about one and a half feet away from where the subject is standing. This type of zone is appropriate if you are a close friend or family member.
When socializing, the practical distance to stand is approximately two feet away from your subject. This is the appropriate distance when you are speaking to someone of the opposite sex. To get closer than that might make you seem too forward and send a signal that you are attracted to the other person when you are not.
When you are speaking to strangers or acquaintances, a distance of four feet from your subject is appropriate. You will still be able to interact with the person effectively and still respect the personal space of the other person.
If four feet seems to close to you, you may extend it out further. Chances are your subject will still feel comfortable with a greater distance as long as it’s not too excessive.
If you happen to be addressing two or more people at one time, a distance of six feet is appropriate, so that you are able to address all members in the conversation. If you stand too close, you may not be able to interact with everyone in the group adequately. Some members may even feel as though they’ve been left out of the conversation.
Cultural Reminder: Keep in mind that there are some countries, France is one of them, where the social zone is a lot shorter than in most other countries. If you’re not sure what a normal distance is in a particular country, take time to observe the locals and emulate them.
Using hand gestures
Just like zone distances, hand gestures are an important tool for conveying the correct message to your subject.
Some things to keep in mind when gesturing with your hands:
Open-handed gestures, exposing the palms of the hands, indicate honesty and sincerity. The speaker is saying, “Here’s the truth.”
There are some people who may even use this gesture when they’re telling a lie, but there are other micro-signals that expose their deception.
Making a Request
When you want to make a request, avoid gesturing with your palm facing downward. This gesture has a negative connotation. It suggests that the person you’re talking to is of lower stature than you.
Even if this is a reality – you are the boss and you’re talking to someone who ranks lower than you – when you use this gesture, you are initiating resistance in your subject. Use an open palm when you’re making a request and avoid “chopping the air” when you’re providing details of your request. Chopping the air is a strong gesture that insinuates your power over everyone else and can cause resistance among those you are speaking to.
The Pointed Finger
A pointed finger, similar to chopping the air, is another power gesture. The person on the receiving end may feel as though they’re being pressured to do something they don’t want to do.
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If you can help it, do not use a pointed finger for any kind of emphasis. The only place where it would be appropriate is if you’re pointing to a map or drawing attention to an object.