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How to Use Your Body to Get What You Want

Hulton Archive
It's not like that! Have you ever wondered how some people seem to have everything handed to them? Well, research shows that subtle gestures and movements can help you talk people into getting what you want and I'm here to help you.


Getty Images
Getty Images

Eyes

 
 

It's a cliche, 'The eyes are a window into the soul' but it's true. Many of the non-verbal messages you send come from how you look at someone and it's sort of beyond your control. When you see something or someone you like, your pupils dilate, but there is one thing you can control. If you're trying to build trust, make eye contact 60 to 70 percent of the time.

 
Getty Images
Getty Images

Arms

 
 

Think Journey on this one. Open arms indicate someone who is open and confident, someone who has a constructive attitude and a positive impression. If you're trying to influence someone, don't cross your arms. It shows a closed attitude and can be off-putting. Instead, it's a good idea to give them something to hold. It makes them unlock their arms and gives them something they have to focus on. If you're in a group situation and aren't familiar with those in the group, keep your arms by your sides, or place your hands at waist high and fold one over the other.

 
Getty Images
Getty Images

Hands

 
 

Your handshake says a lot about you. If your handshake is limp, it gives the impression that you're aloof and in men, a weak handshake can construe femininity, but don't overdo it. A bone crushing handshake can sometimes be worse. It can be read as overcompensation for ineffectiveness. A firm handshake is best. If you want to show you have the upper hand place your hand facing slightly downward prior to the shake. If they give you a bone crushing handshake in return and you want to re-establish control, place your other hand on top of theirs to create a double handed shake. It's just a subtle way to regain control.

 
Getty Images
Getty Images

Stance

 
 

Our status comes from the way we stand. If you want to be perceived as powerful, stand with your legs slightly apart. Taller people usually gain respect easier because of their height, but sometimes have a tendency to slouch to diminish their stature and give up their authority. The straddle (legs apart, hands on hips) is typically a male posture, while the way a lot of us women stand is the scissor stance. We typically stand with our legs crossed and that can send a message of negativity such as submission and insecurity, so un-cross those legs (but don't do the Angelina Jolie).

 

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