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More Than Words: The Science of Body Language

By: Jase Peeples
12.12.2011

Many people worry about saying the right things on a date, but the biggest part of effective communication is often the most overlooked. Kurt Lee, a psychotherapist from San Francisco, CA says, “Body language is a key part of communication. An individual’s posture, muscle tension and facial expressions usually reflect what’s going on for them internally. Most often, this takes place without a person even realizing it.”

So if your body has a mind of its own, how can you make sure that it doesn’t say the wrong thing to that guy sitting across from you? By learning, practicing and improving your body language.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro in the art of dating, or someone who gets sweaty palms just thinking about introducing himself, take a moment to make sure your body and mouth are working together to spotlight your confidence, charisma, and charm.

Awareness Is the First Step
Practicing awareness is an ideal way to make sure your body talk always compliments and never contradicts your words. Make a habit of checking in with yourself throughout the date and take note of exactly what your body is saying. How are you sitting when you’re eating a meal or just chatting? Does your posture say you’re engaged? You may be slouching because you’re tired, but it can give the impression that you’re uninterested. Keeping yourself aware of your body can help break old habits that may send the wrong message and derail a great date.

Watch and Learn
One of the best ways you can improve your use of body language is to study others in action. How do your friends interact with you and the people around them? Take note of what works and what doesn’t. Practice the best, while you avoid the rest.

IStock_000012198045XSmall Let Your Eyes Say It
Maintain eye contact with your date not only when you’re speaking, but when he’s talking as well. Great listeners don’t just use their ears, they use their whole body. Create an atmosphere of openness by getting rid of visual barriers such as crossed arms or legs. This will make it clear that he has your undivided attention and will give him the impression that you think he’s the most important person at that moment.

Get Animated
Avoiding gestures will only make you appear stiff and boring. That doesn’t mean incorporating the body movements of a mime troupe, but let your hands do some of the talking to show how passionate you are about a subject. It will give your date a greater peek at your personality as well.

Above all, remember to relax and give yourself time. Body language isn’t an exact science, but with some practice and patience you’ll be fluent in no time.

 

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