When in Doubt, Imitate the Body Language of Others to Be More Convincing.

Body language varies from person to person. Trying to perform a set of specific actions to communicate effectively with everyone is doomed to failure. If you’re talking to someone one-on-one, mimic their body language instead to be more convincing.

As the advice site Barking Up the Wrong Tree explains, “correct” body language depends on your goal. If you’re trying to sell something to someone, you may need more expressive and enthusiastic body language. If you are trying to convince someone on the fence, it is more appropriate to speak more calmly and authoritatively. Of course, your context can change from one moment to the next in a conversation. Trying to plan your body language and adapt accordingly is probably not on your mind. Instead, just mimic the body language of the person you are talking to. As Noah Goldstein, co-author of Yes !: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, says:

Retailers who subtly imitate customer speech and behavior are more successful at selling … 78.8% bought such a product from imitators, compared with 61.8% from those who do not imitate. Subsequently, the imitated buyers were more positive about the salesperson and the store … We argue that when a verbal influence strategy is embedded in a non-verbal style appropriate to its orientation, it increases the effectiveness of the strategy, while the mismatch weakens its influence. …

It works most effectively when what you say matches your behavior. Speaking with authority and confidence doesn’t really matter as long as you say, “Eh, I’m not sure.” Body language can only take you this far. However, if you’re having trouble delivering a well-thought-out message, try observing the other person for non-verbal cues.

How To Improve Your Body Language Easily: 4 Proven Secrets | Bark on the wrong tree


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