Posture & Nonverbal Communication

Couple sitting face-to-face at restaurant table, smiling

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What you say is more than the words that come out of your mouth. Posture and how you move your body are important elements of nonverbal communication, which can affect how you are perceived by others. The article "Nonverbal Communication" notes that body language may reveal even more about a person than verbal communication does. Being aware of your posture can help you make the right impression in many areas of your life.

Open Posture

Open posture portrays friendliness and positivity. In an open position, your feet are spread wide and the palms of your hands are facing outward. The University of Northern Iowa College of Business Administration notes that people with open postures are perceived as being more persuasive than those with other postures. To achieve an open posture, sit or stand up straight with your head raised, and keep your chest and abdomen exposed, advises the article "Body Language." Combine this pose with a relaxed facial expression and good eye contact to come across as approachable and composed. During conversation, keep your body facing toward the other person.

Closed Posture

Crossing your arms across your chest, crossing your legs away from someone, sitting in a hunched forward position, showing the backs of your hands and clenching your fists are all signs of closed posture. The University of Northern Iowa College of Business Administration notes that a closed posture may give the impression of boredom, hostility or detachment.

Confident Posture

If you want to come across as confident, even if you are feeling anxious, stressed or nervous, make subtle changes to your posture. Pull yourself up to your full height, hold your head high and keep your gaze at eye level, advises body language expert Judi James tells Fran Creffield in "5 Body Language Signals and What They Mean." Pull your shoulders back and keep your arms and legs relaxed by your sides.

Postural Echoing

Judi James highlights the important of postural echoing, or "mirroring," when trying to attract someone in the "The Guardian." This is a subtle but highly effective flirting technique. Observe and imitate the other person's style and pace of movement. For example, if the other person leans against the wall, do the same. If you want to know if you are on the same wavelength as another person, make a few adjustments to your posture and see how the other person reacts, suggests sex and relationship expert Tracey Cox in "Cosmopolitan."