How to Use Your Body Language to Persuade

What if you could persuade others by simply using your head or your hands? Believe it or not, you can use your body to get what you want. Simple tricks, such as mimicking the body language of others and making eye contact, can go a long way toward your success. 

If you ever attended a public speaking event, you know how powerful body language can be. The global organization Toastmasters, for instance, emphasizes the role of gestures and facial expressions during a speech. In fact, more than half of all communication takes place nonverbally. 

Ready to give it a try? Here are a few simple ways to use your body to persuade: 

Imitate Your Audience 

One of the best ways to persuade someone is to mimic their body language. Just make sure that what you're saying matches your behavior. Consider the context as well. 

Research shows that retail salespeople who mimic customer's behavior and speech are more successful at selling. A staggering 78.8 percent of customers bought a product from mimickers.  

We are naturally inclined to like and follow people with whom we share similarities. Pay attention to the audience's verbal and nonverbal cues, and act accordingly. 

For example, if you're dealing with a laid-back customer, refrain from being too formal. Use a casual tone and relaxed body language. 

Make Strong Limited Gestures

Weak or frequent gestures can either send the wrong message or confuse the audience. Use gestures sparingly to make your point. Avoid moving your hands excessively or without purpose. 

Let your gestures flow from your words. Be natural just like you are when talking with a friend. Avoid common mistakes like crossing your arms, clasping hands, or hopping in the air. 

Open Up 

When you're trying to persuade, always use an open body language. Do not cross your arms or legs because it creates both a mental and physical barrier. 

Move your arms in sync with what you're saying. Keep your hands open and your legs together. An open body language signals trust, honesty, and transparency. 

Maintain Eye Contact 

Remember the old saying, “The eyes don't like”? That applies to business too. If you're trying to persuade someone while texting or sending emails, you'll fail. 

Not looking at the person in front of you in the eyes can be perceived as dishonesty. Making too much eye contact, on the other hand, is a sign of aggression. To inspire trust and honesty, make eye contact for a second or two, and then look down. Repeat. 

Body language can make or break your ability to persuade. As a rule of thumb, always move purposefully. Use facial expressions and gestures that match your message. Observe your audience’s body language and try to imitate it.