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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

5 Powerful Ways to Use Body Language at Work

Increase your stock at the office with these body language tricks.

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Keep your voice down

A low-pitched voice inspires confidence from those around you, according to a study from McMaster University in Canada. You don’t have to fake it—relax before a speech or important telephone call by keeping your lips together and repeating “um hum” a few times, suggests Forbes body language expert Carol Kinsey Goman. Stress can constrict your vocal cords, making your voice come out higher than usual.

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Look coworkers in the eye

People often make eye contact only 30 percent of the time, according to an analysis by communications analytics company Quantified Impressions of more than 3,000 people speaking to individuals and groups. To make an emotional connection, you should at least double that, says company president Noah Zandan. Try holding someone’s gaze for ten seconds at a time for one-on-one conversations, and for 3 to 5 seconds in group settings.

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Square your chin

When admitting a mistake at work, mind your chin, says Greg Hartley, former U.S. Army interrogator and body language expert. If it’s too high you look indignant; too low, you’ll look weak. Keep your chin in the middle to exude confidence and compromise.

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Give a high five

If that feels forced, touch someone lightly on the arm; the point is to make physical contact with another person, because doing so for as little as even 1/40th of a second can create a human bond. Touch also boosts oxytocin to increase feelings of trust, and lowers cortisol to reduce stress.

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Make yourself memorable at a job interview by showing those pearly whites. Research from Duke University found that study participants were better able to remember the names of people who smiled versus those who had a neutral expression. Also, the reward centers of the subjects’ brains lit up when panelists recalled smiling faces.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest