Are You Keeping People Away with Your Body Language? 10 Tips to Improve Your Body Language

This is part of a series on interpersonal communication.

How is your body language when with other people?

Are you aware of your body language when communicating with others? Are you conscious of your body posture, gestures, facial expressions, and eye movements? Are you aware of the vibes you exude to others as a result of your body language?

Research has suggested that between 60 and 70 percent of meaning in human communication is derived from nonverbal behavior. This means that only 30 to 40 percent of meaning is derived from the words themselves, which is arguably low, given that words is the very medium people use in communication!

Some would even go as far as to claim that body language makes up 90 percent of meaning in human communication (James Borg, Body Language). Now, that’s a REALLY high figure if that is indeed true!

My Past Body Language

I have never given much thought to my body language until lately, when I started my Lunch Actually journey. I began to put more thought into understanding my body language and verifying if the vibes I give to others (from my body language) are congruent with my intentions and my real self. My interest in body language mainly stems from my desire to further my connecting ability and ensure people are perceiving me correctly, true to my real intentions.

This exploration has made me realize that I might have been sending vibes of aloofness and solitude to others in the past (truer for the people I’ve just met, since people who already know me would know that I’m not like that—in fact, far from it).

First, let’s take a look at my body language when conversing in the past:

  1. Whenever I conversed, I would maintain a fairly serious expression.
  2. My head would be poised in a perfectly upright and still position throughout the conversation, as opposed to some people who would tilt their heads. I wasn’t even aware that I was doing this until my date coach pointed it out.
  3. I would abstain from giggling or smiling unless there was a reason to (e.g., a joke was being cast, there was happy stuff being discussed, and positive news was being shared). This is largely due to my past belief that to giggle incessantly was to be rude, bimbotic, and simply not take the other person seriously. (I no longer think this way now, as long as the person doesn’t giggle like, at EVERY comment!)
  4. Half the time, my arms would be folded and my legs, crossed. Occasionally I would switch to locking my fingers together and cupping my knee caps with my interlocked hands. Like how I was like in the first ten seconds of my 2010 CNA interview.
  5. I tended to recluse when contemplating. I would do things like look away from the person (or look down or to my side), fold my arms, cross my legs, become 100% quiet, wear a super serious expression, and carry a slightly firm brow line. All subconscious in nature. These actions would not last long, just a split second or two, long enough for me to think. Once I was done, I would return to looking at the person and share what was on my mind.
  6. I would be pretty still, with minimal movements, because I felt movements would be distracting, both to myself and to the other party.
  7. Other than speaking, I would be fairly quiet. I would try not to use filler words or filler sounds like “umm” or “ahh”, I would not think out loud nor do anything which would create noise (e.g., drum fingers and scratch surface area of stuff), because I felt these would detract away from the conversation, which is about connecting and knowing the other party.
  8. Throughout the conversation, I would maintain a state of neutrality. It didn’t matter even if the person said something which shocked, surprised, repelled, or agitated me—I would process the feelings internally and appear neutral on the outside. This was especially so for negative emotions.

    Why? Firstly, to maintain control. By looking calm, the other party would not be aware of what was going on in my mind. This meant I wouldn’t be vulnerable.

    Secondly, I always want to hear unadulterated versions of people’s thoughts. Outwardly displaying emotion, while the person talks, might bias the person in sharing things which he/she thinks I want to hear, rather than what he/she really wants to share. This is especially true in Asia I feel, because the heart of Asia’s culture is about gaining acceptance vs. asserting individuality.

The above actions applied to most of my past interactions. I would behave differently if I was with a very, very close friend or if I was talking about a topic that I was very excited about; in such cases I would become crazy animated and hyperactive to the point of infinity.

Getting Feedback (and Revelations) on My Body Language

Since I’m currently working on bettering myself in the area of body language, I decided to ask my godsister, Rita, for feedback on my body language. I believe feedback (from choice sources) is one of the best and fastest ways to learn. (I’m currently conducting the Sep run for Be a Better Me in 30 Days Program now, and the upcoming task on Day 17 is on getting feedback from others.)

My godsister is one of my dearest friends; she is young (22) yet highly intelligent, and I love conversing with her. I believed she would be able to offer me excellent advice in this area.

So even though Rita and I are quite close, we have not had much face time with each other, as she lives in Hong Kong and me, Singapore. We were acquainted two years ago while I was in Hong Kong to speak at a conference, and we have been keeping in touch through online chat (now Whatsapp) ever since. Three weeks ago, she came over to Singapore to visit me, which made it the first time we met since two years ago. 

So after reacquainting and hanging out for about two hours, I asked her for feedback on my body language. Here’s the gist of what was exchanged:

  • Me: Meimei (i.e. “younger sister” in Mandarin), my date coach mentioned that I might come across as “intense” in person. I know that I can be perceived as quite intense sometimes. What do you think?
  • Rita: Hmm. I think the people who don’t know you might think that you are aloof and disinterested when first talking to you.

    However, after chatting for a few minutes, it becomes obvious that you are not being standoffish and are simply very focused on the conversation. You actually put a lot of thought into what is being discussed and the responses you give are very well thought out. You also have a genuine interest in the other person and what he/she thinks.

  • Me (zooming down to her first statement): You mentioned that people might think that I’m aloof and disinterested. What makes you say that?
  • Rita: Well, earlier when we started talking, I was a little worried as I thought you were not engaged in the conversation. You looked very stern and you were really quiet. I thought maybe you were bored or something. However, I later realized that I was wrong, because you began to ask some very deep questions relating to our topic, deeper than things which other people would ask. It was evident from the exchange that you were genuinely interested in what I had to say.
  • Me: Besides looking serious and being silent, were there any other things (I did) that made you feel that I was not engaged?
  • Rita: For example, looking away or looking down while we are talking (Celes: she was referring to the times when I was thinking).

    Folding of arms. (Celes: Which ironically, I began doing right after she said that! I frowned a little, then changed to cupping my kneecaps with my interlocked hands, after which R said…)

    Even cupping your hands over your knee caps also feels a little enclosed. It’s like a self-protective, defensive, stance. (Celes: *facepalms*)

    Having an overall neutral expression.

    These make me feel a bit worried because I don’t know what’s going on in your mind and what’s happening in the conversation.

  • Me: But these are subconscious actions. They come across as normal to me and they are just my usual behavioral stances whenever I think. What would you recommend me to do?
  • Rita: Maybe smile more? Include the person in your thinking process. For example, you can do some body gestures (e.g., some movement), make some facial expressions (e.g., pursuing your lips, having a thoughtful look, and carrying a light smile), make some sounds (e.g., “hmm”), and have some eye contact, all of which would be signals that you are thinking. Doing them would make me feel like I’m part of your inner world and I know what’s going on in your mind. Even if it’s just thinking, at least I would know that you are thinking.

    I feel doing this will also include an element of vulnerability in you too, which is a good thing. (Celes: As being vulnerable means being more approachable.)

  • Me: Hmm. *starts practicing what R shared by making a thoughtful look, slightly puffing my cheeks, and putting my index finger to my cheek*
*after a couple of seconds*
  • Me: Oh, and how about my speech? Sometimes people say that I speak quite fast. What do you think?
  • Rita: I don’t really think it’s a speed thing. Maybe some fluctuation in tone (varying between high and low) and fluctuation in speed (varying between fast and slow).  It will make you feel more alive and engaged. Your current voice adds to the seriousness of the conversation because you are speaking in just one tone and at a constant speed.

Rita’s feedback was an eyeopener for me.

You see, I have always suspected that certain aspects of my body language were a little “enclosed” (such as arm folding), but I had never ever thought that my body language would zone me as being “aloof”, “disinterested”, or even “reclusive”.

After hearing Rita and digesting her words, it made perfect sense though. All my body language (while conversing, especially while thinking) were indeed indicative of reclusiveness.

Why I Exhibited Such Body Language in the Past

After realizing the perceived aloofness of my body language, the next step was for me to understand “why” I was behaving this way.

I don’t believe in blindly changing the exterior without creating internal change. I believe permanent change comes from working through the issue inside out, by addressing the roots of the “issue”. My qualm with most people studying body language is that they focus only on changing their external actions, which may create their desired impression to others, but only covers up the original problem (whatever had created the problematic body language in the first place).

Read: How To Create Real Change In Life: Address Root Cause vs. Effects

Tracing my body language to its roots, I realized that I had exhibited said body language because firstly, I was afraid of letting others disrupt my thoughts. Secondly, I didn’t want people to “trample” on my personal space. But most important of all…

I was afraid of letting people in onto my inner world.

As a result, I had subconsciously enforced a “safe zone” for myself through reclusive body language patterns. By erecting a barrier around myself (by folding arms, crossing legs, looking away when thinking since thinking is when I’m in my vulnerable state, etc.), no one would be able to “intrude” into my personal space. No one would be able to enter my inner space. No one would be able to hurt me.

Upon realizing this, it was clear what I had to do—to let go of my subconscious, separation beliefs, and to convert them into oneness beliefs. While I had already embraced the oneness mindset at the conscious level, apparently I still had subconscious separation beliefs, which gave rise to my reclusive body language.

For more about the separation mindset and why it’s detrimental to forming meaningful social connections, read: The Secret To Meaningful, Fulfilling Social Relationships (How To Remove Social Anxiety)

Embodying a More Open Body Language

Hearing Rita’s comments, and realizing that my body language had possibly held me back from connecting with others, made me feel a little heartbroken, actually. Heartbroken, not because of the criticism (far from it—I see criticism as a good thing), but because of the realization that I might have been self-sabotaging my efforts at connecting with others all this while.

Connecting with others is essentially a life passion of mine. How could I have been stepping on my own toes this whole while? I was more annoyed at the lack of self-awareness of my body language than anything else.

Since then, I’ve been working to address this potential reclusive vibe I give others, from inside out. On the inside, I’ve been reworking my inner beliefs. On the exterior, I’ve been working on embodying a more open body language, via the following steps:

  1. Loosen the boundary over my personal space. Stop trying to exert a barrier between me and the world. While it is fair to want some personal space, the way I had demarcated and exerted this space in the past was quite rigid and forceful. It’s now time for me to remove this boundary I had exerted and blur the separation between my personal space and the external world.
  2. Include the other party in my thinking process (i.e. open myself up; allow myself to be vulnerable). Give indicators when I’m thinking, such as filler sounds (e.g., “hmm”), giving a thoughtful look, and thinking out loud. Continue to maintain eye contact even when thinking.
  3. Soften my gaze. How? By smiling, maintaining eye contact without bordering into staring, grinning where appropriate (not like a cheshire cat of course), and softening my facial muscles.
  4. Introduce some movement for a more dynamic interaction. For example, occasional movements like brushing my hair, gently moving my hands to express myself, and touching my face. All done as slow, fluid movements to be weaved into the conversation, not quick, rapid movements as they can be disruptive (unless the speed is necessary to illustrate a point).
  5. Be more open and receiving in my body language. For example, when someone is talking to me, wear a gentle smile while receiving the message, vs. staring while mentally analyzing what the person is saying (the latter being something I used to do in the past). In my idle state, keep the space in front of my upper torso open vs. closing it off (e.g., don’t fold my arms and put my bag at my side rather than hugging it to my chest or putting it on my lap).

I’ve only been doing the five action steps in the past week, but I feel I have been making some good progress. :D It almost feels like they are a part of me now and I have been doing them forever! I look forward to applying them on a deeper level.

10 Tips To Improve Your Connection Through Body Language

If you would like to improve your connection ability with others, here are my 10 body language tips for you:

  1. Smile. :D 
  2. Keep the space open before your upper torso. Meaning, try not to fold your arms, put your bag on your lap, hug your bag, or do anything that covers up the upper front part of your body. Closing the space in front of you sends the invisible signal of “Don’t talk to me; I’m not interested in engaging with anyone.” On the other hand, keeping the area open will make you more approachable.
  3. Have eye contact. Very important in making a connection. Eye contact helps to establish connection and let the other person know you are listening. …However, don’t stare. Look away from time to time to give the person some space. Then re-establish contact after a split second. Some people might feel uncomfortable under a constant, unwavering gaze.
  4. Be comfortable in your space. Don’t fidget, squirm, or lose yourself in your body. Own your space. Your body may take up physical space by default, but do you actually own that space? This is where self-confidence comes into play. Read: How To Be The Most Confident Person In The World
  5. [Specifically for ladies] Something which my date coach shared with me—if you have to rest your head on your hand, keep the inner side of your hand (with the palm) faced outwards, toward the person (as opposed to resting on your knuckles, with the outside part of your arm facing the other person). The former makes yourself appear more open than the latter.

    Refer to the picture in the beginning of this post. The way the lady rested on her hand is an example of what NOT to do. You should turn the insides of your arm (the part which tends to be fairer) outward to the other person.

  6. Minimize movement that distracts, such as finger drumming, nail biting, skin peeling, scab picking, etc. Some of these are pretty bad habits anyway, so it serves to quit them. Read: Cultivate Life Transforming Habits in 21 Days
  7. Slow down your pace. If you speak fast, consider slowing down, especially if you keep having to repeat yourself. It usually means the other person can’t catch you. If you have to brush your hair, cross your legs, or make any movement, do them at an adjustable pace. Sudden, fast movements like suddenly swinging your leg from one side to another, flicking your hair, and wildly waving your hands, can take the other person by surprise and detract from the conversation.
  8. Be inclusive in your actions. Do movements that include, rather than exclude, the person into your space. (Of course, if you feel the person is shady, like he/she might be a molester or something, then keep your distance.)

    Actions that separate and demarcate boundaries include arm folding, legs crossing, putting items between you and the person, and increasing the physical distance between you and the other party. Actions that are inclusive include reducing the physical distance between you and the other party (not to the point of being inappropriate), smiling, shaking hands, linking arms (for close friends), hand holding, maintaining eye contact, occasional gestures toward the other person, and keeping space in upper front part of you open (see point #2).

  9. Be open with your emotions (but not in a cathartic manner). Allow yourself to be vulnerable by wearing your emotions on your face. If you feel sad, then express sadness. If you feel surprise, then express surprise. If you feel happy, then express happiness. Don’t keep your emotions inside yourself. Wear your heart on your sleeve. ♥
  10. Pace yourself to match the other person. At the end of the day, everyone is different. Tips #1 to #9 I have shared above are gold standard ideals to work toward. However, not everyone may be ready for them.  Some people might take a v-e-r-y long time to warm up and might be intimidated by any upfront display of emotion in the first meeting (see point #9). Some people might be immensely shy and feel intimidated by any eye contact (see point #3). Some people might be very defensive and be taken off guard when you adopt an open posture (see point #2).

    It’s important that you assess each person individually, adopt the body language that will help you to best connect with him/her, and work your way to opening him/her up through gradual shifts. Embrace Tips #1 to #9 as ideals to execute, but also give yourself leeway to improvise where needed. Some people may be in lower developmental stages which require you to adopt more “defensive”, “enclosed” type body language to connect with them in the beginning, before moving to more open, connective forms of body language. Remember there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

I hope you have found this piece on body language useful. Be sure to share it with others on your Twitter and Facebook; let’s help others to gain more awareness about their body language and work towards a more connective, inclusive, society.

Be sure to check out: Benefits Of Having A Good Posture (And 13 Tips To Getting One)

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] 10 Tips To Improve Your Body Language

This is part of a series on interpersonal communication. Check out the other articles in the series:

  • JadePenguin

    One word: oops :mrgreen: Been doing the recluse as well. I’m quite surprised about the not looking away when thinking cause I’ve always felt that’s perfectly okay to do :o

    I think most of my reclusive body language is because I think others won’t care what I have to say anyway, so I might as well be the first to reject. That’s just a hypothesis for now though. I’ll have to keep up the observations and try making some changes :)

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Hey Jade! Great to see your comment. :D Thanks so much for sharing about your body language!

      I don’t think there’s anything against looking away when thinking, just that if you combine looking away+being completely silent+looking stern+what I had mentioned in the post, and you imagine that happening 30-40 times in a conversation (if it’s a well-thought-out discussion), it can give the impression that you are in your own head a lot and hard to “access” and “reach”. Some people may also feel at a lost (like my godsister R) because they don’t know what’s going on in your head while you are doing that. If you soften that up with Tip #8 in the list of 10 tips, and Step #2 of my five action steps, I think that will really help. :D

  • Fufu

    Good advice Celes but in my case I’d have a really hard time to get over this. I would be simply terrified to open up to people in this way and might even go into panic attack. I know it’s a deep root issue I got to deal with :) The world to me has always been a scary and mysterious place. Interactions are scary things for me because I am afraid what others might say of me. I tend to say yes yes yes and agree with things I don’t – going as far as to lie an entire life my actual personality to my family – because I’m afraid of disappointment others might feel for me or causing others sad feelings with my actions. I don’t like hurting others but in doing so I hurt myself.

    It’s sad but my family does not know a thing about the real me. They never have because I hid my entire personal life, actual feelings and life expectations from them :(

    And I never look at anybody in the eye because I forget what I’m saying because to me the eyes distract from the conversation! :sweat: I don’t even look at my girlfriends eyes :/

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Hey Fufu! :D :hug: Thanks a lot for your comment! Perhaps try to understand what’s the root behind “this”, whatever this is? :) As I mentioned in the post, it’s definitely about making change from inside out. There is no point in enforcing change on the external level (body language) without understanding how said body language even came about to begin with. I believe there’s probably a reason why our body language is the way it is today, and understanding it can go a long way to shedding out external shells and bringing out the real us.

      • fufu

        Thank you for the advice Celes! :) But I’m still curious about how I can’t stare at people’s eyes. I’m not afraid of it, I just totally forget what I’m saying and find eyes distracting. I think it has to do with me relating staring at eyes with romantic love. I have this belief that only people that love each other deeply and have a certain level of trust can stare at another person’s eyes but only occasionally. It’s an emotional impact for me and it actually attracts me to others. :shy:

        Ironically, even though this is my false belief the more I like the person the less I look at their eyes because I consider it a huge impact in my emotions and my skin is white so I actually get red and I only think of the eyes and my mind goes blank. :sweat:

        By the way I asked a trusted friend(Let’s call her J) about my body language and even though I did know some of the things she said I was totally shocked and had an eye opener. This is how it went:

        Me – “Hey can you tell me what do you think of my body language and how can I improve with it? What vibes do I send others when I’m talking? What type of person do I seem like? ”

        J- “You seen like a weirdo. Well I’m used to your introverted personality but you show it TOO much. You have this sort of walk that looks like almost skipping and like your upper body has some sort of springs. People look at you like ” Is she okay?” and you look like if you were a damn fan of someone but in a childish way. O_O no offense. Your body language looks like if you were this cartoon with the dumb personality. >,> forgive me. You are not dumb in any way. You’re a very smart and brilliant girl and I am very aware of your smartness. It’s just your body language when you find one of the people you know among a crowd you don’t know make you look that way in others eyes. They always tell me you look like a character. I’m sorry. I’m just saying basing on what I’ve noticed. Well you just be yourself. In my personal opinion it looks like you act that way to hide the real you even if you aren’t aware of it.”

        Me- “Hmm no no it’s ok :) this gives me insight to know. So what do you
        mean by inverted personality? Why do people see me like a cartoon? And
        why do you think I am this way to hide my personality? Another thing
        I’ve noticed is that people tend to treat me like a little sister”

        J – “‘ people see you like a cartoon because you tend to apply anime movements anime conducts and for them is a cartoon like. You look like this mega damn sweet anime girls that would always be happy saying “Big Sister or Big Brother”. That’s why people treat you like a lil sister. You have this lil sister personality. Hm I think that maybe you hide your personality because you may have lots to talk about maybe you are another girl but something in you stops you and makes you react like this lil girl everyone sees.”

        Me – “o.o XD I laughed when you said the big sister thing. Well that makes me kinda happy and to be honest I don’t do it on purpose :p Sometimes I AM being serious but I’m just naturally childish. That’s why I think being a preeschool teacher is a perfect job for me. Even A told me when I cut my hair the first time that I looked like an anime character and G agreed O_O

        And yeah I do have a lot to talk about. It’s one of my major issues but I don’t because I’d rather talk those things with strangers on the web who would agree with me. You’d be surprised at the type of people you meet in anonymous forums. Since nobody knows each other we are more open and honest about exchanging opinions. The most I can do is make a blog for that.

        My childish way of talking originates from me indirectly making fun of people before actually. O_O I would speak childish in a playful way kinda like jokingly and somehow I got used to it and now it’s how I actually speak. I’m always eternally joking to be honest but at the same time being serious. It’s kinda like I find something funny and ironic in almost everything except sad moments and stuff.”

        —————-

        After this conversation I was really shocked. As you can see, with people I know, I tend to speak in a childish tone which I realized contradicts with the real me, which is a serious person who is open minded and thoughtful about things but occasionally funny. I used to complain why people rarely took me seriously and now I understand why. I walk with big steps because I get desperate walking slow and besides that I psychically have walking problems. This is how I deal with work as well. I talk childish out of fear of being hurt because my real self is really critical and direct. I hate hurting others feelings because I’m sensitive to others emotions and I don’t do so to evade feeling that mental stress and conscious of knowing another person is bothered by something I might had said(which could even be something normal like saying no to looking for some papers because I have my own things to do)

        I do in a way act like an anime character but subconsciously. I don’t even watch anime anymore but it’s still in my subconscious. I realized I was trying to speak childish to seem friendly and open minded so people could trust me in asking me controversial or smart topics as a mentor figure(not a little sister figure) but I realized it was just making me look dumb and not the way I thought people saw me. It’s just like the article said. In the end it all related with various inner problems we must deal with. In my case I have a lot but that doesn’t mean they can’t be dealt with. :)

        • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

          Hey fufu!!! Wow, that was a HUGE revelation, me thinks! I’m so glad that you took the step to ask your friend and gain awareness of how others perceive your body language. I think most of us just assume our body language is fine or we assume we know how our body language is. That’s where feedback is so crucial. I have learned much from asking my friend, R, about my body language too, as I have shared in the post.

          I’m also really glad that you came to that revelation!!! That sounds like a huge breakthrough. I can actually relate to you speaking in a “childish” manner so that others can relate to you easily. I think it’s simply a result of reacting from past subconscious beliefs that have not been addressed, and you now becoming aware of them (or at the very least, one of them), is certainly the first big step towards unrooting the behavior permanently.

  • Kiedra

    Interesting. Very interesting. :)

    Upon reading your article, I realise I may have unconsciously be manifesting some of those traits too…

    Secondary school/polytechnic friends have always commented (sometimes in a hurtful way due to their frustration…doesn’t help that I become defensive too! :) ) that I am weird, strange, aloof, too serious, hardly smile or laugh etc.

    Yet that is totally at odds at how I am with family and online friends whom I have known for years. Maybe its because family is used to my body language (having grown up with me) and online…one only hears my voice and sees my face (Skype) so my whole body isn’t shown and thus, there’s probably less clues to my whole “body language”. Plus, I am perhaps much more in my comfort zone and feel unconditionally accepted so I may have relaxed guards I don’t even know I put up!

    In the workplace, people do not take me seriously. I wonder if I subconsciously have “childish behavioral habits” because perhaps, I have tried to seem friendly, more approachable and not so “serious”, which in combination with my lack of height and clueless dress-sense(working on it… lol…someone find me a makeup-to-look-older guide hahaha ), give people the impression I’m 10 years younger – a clueless teenager. My boss even once accidentally called me “Hey Girl!” then a split second later, realised his huge mistake – I’m not his 9 year old daughter… Yet I know he knows I can do the job even if I consistently give people the impression that I’m a young intern of some sort.

    I hope I can find a trusted friend who can give me feedback on my body language. :) I might have to ask someone I’m not close with perhaps, because that’s where the “aloofness” shows. :) Not sure who I can ask about my workplace body language though. :)

    I do not quite understand Point 5 of “10 Tips To Improve Your Connection Through Body Language” however, is it possible to sometimes include pictorial examples? Preferably near the points you are talking about? :)

    For example, the sentence you had about the photo at the top being the wrong posture was very helpful. I initially thought that was the RIGHT posture until I read “Refer to the picture in the beginning of this post. The way the lady rested on her hand is an example of what NOT to do.” then I had to scroll all the way up. It would be helpful if at point 5, you had an example of “What Not to Do” and “An open posture”. Perhaps it’s because I’m also a very visual learner, such examples could help tremendously! :)

    Thanks for the informative article!

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      It would be helpful if at point 5, you had an example of “What Not to Do” and “An open posture”.

      Hey Kiedra!!! Believe me, it was in my intention to include a picture of what to do and what not to do following that point. However, try as I might, I actually couldn’t find a picture that showed the correct posture (after much searching). I hope the description is sufficient for people to get what I was trying to say.

      Why not just casually ask some of your colleagues at work on their feedback? :D I don’t think it’s necessary to ask someone you are not close with or someone you are very close with; anyone would be able to give good insight, I feel. Of course, pick the people whom you know have sharp observation skills and good judgment, because they would probably be able to give you a good opinion.

      I’m glad the article helped you to consider this topic in more depth! I think body language is such an integral part of our lives, yet not everyone pay good attention to it. I didn’t used to before, and I’m glad I’m doing so now, because I feel it’s making quite a positive change.

      • Kiedra

        I thought of asking my boss but then I just got out of a meeting where despite my protestations, I got “arrowed” by a majority vote into doing some additional ad-hoc stuff which I am highly reluctant to do…Guess this is one extremely negative side effect of not being taken seriously – “No” is trampled upon. It’s probably a matter of my body language giving out cues of “bully me”… On the plus side, I stated my reluctance clearly (even if it was disregarded), rather than simply sat quietly. Small victory.

        I’m planning on asking my parents on my body language. :)

  • Dane

    This is my first time on the site, & I think it’s awesome! I just practiced being conscious of my body language while watching TV. I felt it was good practice to react as if I were a live audience, and consciously think about my response to what’s happening. Of course, it’s much different when there’s people actually present because they are actively responding to your communications as well. I found the TV exercise beneficial because it raised my own awareness of how I react when something is being communicate to me, without having to worry about judgement of others. I then found it much easier to be conscious of how I’m reacting to real people! It may feel awkward at first, being so interactive with the TV, but it will really help eliminate that awkwardness in an actual conversation. As for the website, great job! You have a great way of communicating some of the core human values that tend to get ignored in today’s society. I look forward to supporting the community here & contributing whenever I can!

    - Dane

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Hi Dane! :D First off, welcome to the PE community! I’m glad you somehow found your way to the site while surfing the web. :)

      Your suggestion of the TV exercise is ingenious, I feel! It’s like putting yourself in test situations and thinking through your answers as the character on TV responds with his/hers. This is undoubtedly phenomenally helpful in when you go to the actual “live” field (i.e. real life).

      Thanks for offering to support the community and I definitely look forward to your comments! :) You already sound like such a conscious individual and you are undoubtedly a great addition to the PE family! :)

  • http://hijackmyheart.com Sulthana

    Thanks for sharing this Celes, something I didn’t think about either but would like to investigate further about my own body language.

    What struck me is the reason you gave for your body language, “I was afraid of letting people in onto my inner world.”

    … because you share so much of your world with us here online, I would not have thought that would be an issue for you.

    But it is something I relate to a lot. Especially now that I am setting up an online blog soon and I’m struggling with how much to share because I know by being personal you will connect with your audience better.

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Hey Sulthana! :D That was quite an interesting revelation for me as well. I would say it was an subconscious undercurrent thought that I did not realize was there and which had been enforcing itself silently. The instant realization that this thought is there has done tons in dissolving it, since my conscious self is one that does not have problem with sharing and being put in a vulnerable position. (I’ve already consciously addressed such fear-based sharing/vulnerability issues a while back.)

      Congratulations on your decision to set up your blog! :D I hope you do well with it. I think you should just share whatever you are comfortable with. Don’t worry about having to share a lot and don’t worry about sharing more than what you are ready to. Just do your thing and let the things flow by themselves.

      On a semi-related note, not sure if you have checked out my earlier article on criticism – you might find it helpful! There, I share a few of my past experiences on getting criticism on my blog and why I love receiving them: http://personalexcellence.co/blog/why-criticism-is-good/

  • Sara

    Thanks for this great post Celes… :D

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      You’re welcome Sara. :D

  • Nad

    Hi there celes, I’ve just happened to stumble upon your website, and I have to say that you are an inspiration and a role model to me! Im only 14 but I find your articles and your website very helpful and moving! Also you seem pretty awesome! And I totally do that cross arm thing, espcially at school :S. I’m feeling really lonely as I don’t have any friends this could be one of the many reasons why! It’s just that my biggest worry in life is being alone and if I don’t do something now, It’l be too late :( I just wanted to say thanks a lot because your really helping me and as I can see a lot of other people! Btw how do you pronounce celes? :D

    • JadePenguin

      Hi Nad! I can relate to the fear of being alone – I didn’t feel very close to anyone in school for years and every time I go to a new place, the same problem comes up. It takes me quite long to get comfortable with people (although it has been getting better and better). I don’t have much faith in most people I meet either, which probably doesn’t help. I’d suggest going to events or meetups that interest you or pick up a hobby where you could meet people – doing something together really helps to break the ice :) And I’m sure that once you find a few folks to hang around with, it will be easier to talk to others too.

      You can watch an episode of The Celes Show to hear her pronounce her name ;)

      • Nad

        Haha thanks jade! I’ve just come to the sudden realisation after reading another article on here that confidence is everything which it is! I mean imagine what you could do with it, anything you want! I’m currently doing kickboxing near my area which i just started recently and it’s going well but I’ve still yet to strike a convo with anyone! Thanks for the good advice and I’ll check out the celes show! I’m a bit lonely and if you want to talk I wouldn’t mind :) email me at pspdoggy [at] Hotmail.com

  • Al Verraneault

    This article helped me to eliminate a very tense situation with my current boss. I explained that when she is talking to me, or giving criticism, I am not looking away, flaring my nostrils and crossing my arms as a way to ignore her. I had a most productive conversation with her about it. Things are 100 percent better at work because of your article. Thank you. It changed my life. I was going to quit my job, but that article saved it. Great job. Keep em coming. Al

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