Thirty years ago an American psychologist, Albert Mehrabian, found that only seven per cent of what we say counts for our credibility. Body language and facial expressions, on the other hand, make up a whopping 55 per cent of our credibility ranking.
On top of this, a 2013 study from Princeton University found that body language is more important than facial expressions.
No pressure or anything, right? Before you start over-analysing your every movement, there are some easy ways you can tweak your body language to make people respond positively to you.
1. The baby pivot.
Just like an enthusiastic baby, try turning your entire body to the person you are trying to win over. This indicates to the person that you are very interested in them. “Pivoting 100 per cent towards the new person shouts, ‘I think you are very, very special,’” Leil Lowndes, author of How To Talk To Anyone, tells Business Insider.
2. Fidget less.
If you want to draw attention to your words, then ensure you’re not fidgeting. Watch that your hands don’t move too much around your face, as that can be a sign of anxiousness or even that you are lying. “Do not fidget, twitch, wiggle, squirm, or scratch,” advises Lowndes.
3. Strike a power pose.
Using your entire body, try to take up as much space as possible. You could be standing with your legs and arms stretched open, or leaning back with your hands behind your head and your feet up on your desk. These are called "high-power" poses, and research from Harvard and Columbia Business Schools have found that holding those poses for just two minutes can make you feel more powerful, and less stressed.
Why? Well, body language expert Carol Kinsey Gorman explained to Forbes that the "high-power" poses stimulate higher levels of testosterone, which is the hormone linked to power and dominance, while also lowering that pesky hormone called cortisol, which is a stress hormone. (Post continues after gallery...)
4. Avoid "prayer hands".
If you want to look truthful and open, avoid making "prayer hands" while in conversation. "Prayer hands" are exactly what it sounds like - putting hands palm-to-palm, or even just fingers-to-fingers, in a prayer-like pose.
Dr Nick Morgan, a body language expert, analysed a TV interview with Edward Snowden, the controversial former US government worker who had leaked classified information. When Snowden made the "prayer hands" during the interview, Dr Morgan remarked to Business Insider that Snowden "hid behind his hands" and appeared nervous, self-conscious and introverted, which made him appear untrustworthy.
5. Use open gestures.
An "open gesture" will make you appear honest and, well, open. For this body language trick, it's all in the arms and hands. While you are in conversation with another person, Gorman suggests making sweeping, large gestures with relaxed arms, while showing the palms of your hands. She describes this as the "see, I have nothing to hide" gesture. Just think of Maria (Julie Andrews) as Maria in The Sounds of Music, who was known for her honesty and sweet nature. An "open gesture" is the exact opposite of the more defensive "closed" gestures, which include crossed arms or hidden hands.
6. Walk in smiling.
Every time you walk through a doorway, remind yourself to smile and improve your posture. Lowndes calls this technique "hanging by your teeth". To do this, you'll need to use your imagination. Picture a strap of leather stretching across the doorway - like a leather bit - and imagine biting onto the leather so that it forces your mouth into a smile. See? Now, you're smiling and standing up straight!
Watch: Mamamia co-founder, Mia Freedman on all the toothy questions she gets asked. (Post continues after video.)
What's your best body language tip?