Body cues for the right messages

When you walk into a meeting, your posture and other subtle cues may tell colleagues or clients more than you realize.
"It happens in an instant," says Elliot Hoppe, Calgary-based author and speaker on non-verbal communication ( "People make judgements: Do I like you? Do I trust you? And who do you remind me of?"
Hoppe gives these five cues you can adopt to convey the right message. 
  1. Walk briskly with your shoulders back, and give a bright smile. Slumped shoulders and slow movements say you are a follower and lack energy.
  2. If you're carrying items such as a file or a purse, keep them beside your body. " Carrying something close to your neck or across your chest show you are vulnerable," Hoppe says.
  3. How you say something is as important as what you say. "For example, if your voice goes up at the end of a sentence, it sounds like you are questioning yourself or what you said," Hoppe says. 
  4. During a handshake, if you turn your hand to be on top, you are pulling a power play. If you put your hand underneath, you are being submissive. " This is OK in some circumstances, like if you want to close a deal with a client," says Hoppe. " In that case, turn your hand up just slightly." To keep things equal, keep your hand vertical.
  5. Your feel tell your brain where your heart want to go. "If your feet or knees are facing a window or door, it looks like you want to leave, " says Hoppe. " You should face the person with whom you are speaking.
 -Abigail Cukier


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