Positive Body Language: Examples & Signs

Instructor: Holly DeLuca

Holly has taught special education students and has a master's degree in special education

In this lesson, we will learn about approaches to positive body language such as standing up tall, handshakes, and smiling. We will also consider the ways in which we move our bodies that do not signal positivity, and ways we can change those things for the better.

What is Body Language?

The movements and positions of our bodies which express our thoughts or feelings are what make up body language. For example, have you ever stood with your arms crossed, tapping your foot? What might that mean? Are you bored, or maybe impatient? How about if you have a smile on your face and hold your hand out to introduce yourself? This could mean you are happy to meet the person you are shaking hands with. This is an example of positive body language. In this lesson, we will explore some examples of positive body language, as well as look at what those body language signals mean.

Busy Feet

One way to know how someone really feels about the situation they are in is to watch their feet. People who lack confidence or are nervous will shuffle or slightly kick their feet. They may also fidget with their feet or wind them around furniture. Often, these things are done in a subconscious way...meaning, we do not know we are doing them. By paying attention to your own body movements, you can learn to lessen these cues that you are nervous or stressed. Keep this in mind the next time you are in a stressful situation or are meeting someone for the first time. Or, ask someone else to watch this for you and point it out. You will be surprised to learn that you didn't know you were moving your feet so much!

Your feet may display nervousness
feet

Ways to Portray Yourself Positively

Have you ever been on an interview for a job you really wanted? You already have all of the qualifications and the right schooling. So, what else can you do to make a great first impression? Use your body language, that's what! When introducing yourself, stand up tall. By doing this, you portray power and success. When you have good posture, you also look like you have confidence in yourself. Think about it. If you see someone hunched over and looking at the ground, do they look like they feel confident? Probably not.

A smile displays happiness and positive body language
happy woman

The next thing you should do is maintain positive eye contact. This might be awkward and difficult if you are introverted or shy. But by doing so, the people around you will know that you are interested in them. This also signals to people that you are paying attention to what they are saying. Likewise, when someone asks you a question, talk with your hands and use open gestures. By showing the palms of your hands while speaking, you subconsciously tell people that you have nothing to hide, which signals credibility. Finally, by using a strong handshake and a smile, you create a bond and leave a lasting positive impression.

Using a firm handshake
handshake

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