What body language can tell you about your partner

Margaret Thatcher and Oprah Winfrey may not be natural bedfellows, but they have one thing in common: charisma. According to Vanessa Van Edwards, founder of Science People, a “soft skills” training platform, this trait requires just the right mix of warmth and competence. Van Edwards says that even the most introverted among us can learn to be charismatic by tweaking our own body language and reading others’ cues to ensure “you’re never underestimated, overlooked, or misunderstood ever again.”

According to Van Edwards, there are four types of cues: nonverbal, vocal, verbal, and figurative. From the flash of our palms to the direction we point our toes, these signals “are a universal social lubricant: they just make things go smoother.” Mixed right, they have the power to make or break careers and romantic pursuits, believes Van Edwards, a bestselling author whose TED Talks and YouTube videos have been viewed over 50 million times.

How easy is it to enter what she calls the “charisma zone”? “I’m a clumsy person… I’m not charismatic at all,” says the 36-year-old. Recognizing when and how to dial in our warmth and competence cues is key — and more of us need to master the art, she thinks. To use hints to your advantage no matter the scenario:

With a difficult boss

Warm cues include appearing trustworthy, cooperative, friendly, and open; those who show competent cues are impressive, powerful, capable, and effective, explains Van Edwards. If you want to make older colleagues like you, “warm hints will be the fastest kind of gasoline”; If you want them to know you’re capable of getting things done, turn to knowledgeable staff instead. The two most critical questions we ask each other – can I trust you and can I rely on you? – depends on cordiality and competence, she adds. Understanding which of the two traits they gravitate to “is key to figuring out how to get on the same page as them.”

Van Edwards has worked with the likes of Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft, and says when an employee rants about not being able to see eye to eye with their boss, “I always know it’s a hint issue.” She suggests “mirroring and matching” the verbal cues they give in emails — “literally in the same language” — to show you understand them. Don’t immediately copy every word they say, as the transition needs to feel natural: “It’s like a thermostat; They want to dial in slowly.”

With a partner

Oxytocin, the happy hormone, “is the chemical of trust and connection,” says Van Edwards. Even small amounts delivered through touch can create bonds: She suggests holding hands when you talk, sitting close together, and facing your partner fully when you talk, which will “chemically help you get on the same page.” get”.

She suggests facing them fully, in a demonstration of physical alignment: As for verbal cues, the murmur of assent can be “very soft and subtle, like a warming blanket.” For slow-spoken guys who don’t smile or nod much, these cues say, “I hear you, go ahead, I’m with you.”

The key modern gaffes of clues are cell phones, says Van Edwards, which add something like “an extra person to every interaction.” Cell phones on the table at dinner, say, monopolize our attention and eye contact; the flashing of messages or notifications that say “Adding [to our] Social load… the last thing we need are two more devices to worry about.”

At an interview

You don’t have to decipher the other person’s body language as much here, since it’s focused on yours, meaning “you can focus all your energies on hitting that sweet spot of warmth and competence.” Van Edwards says the main mistake she sees in respondents is when they sit in front of the waiting room and bend over their phones. First impressions are made in a split second, so don’t let your boss wannabe catch you in “defeat.” Look out the window instead of down at a device, she suggests, or speak to the receptionist.

During the interview itself, make sure you have a lot of palm interaction. “Our hands are an incredibly important part of bonding,” she explains, dating back to our caveman days when closed palms raised concerns that a weapon was being concealed. Wave when you meet and gesture as you speak: Running up warm and open signs “really helps with that trust factor.”

With someone you don’t like

Whether it’s a friend’s partner or a colleague, dislike “usually stems from feeling different; feel like they have nothing in common,” explains Van Edwards. Faking it until you make it doesn’t work as this fakeness will come out soon. She suggests finding three things you can agree on — even if it’s as simple as the coffee you drink — like, “Every time we like someone in common, we have a similarity attraction effect.” ‘ which makes us more attracted to them. This, in turn, makes it easier for us to show heat signals and mean them. When that fails, she suggests the Franklin Effect — named after the former US President — where you ask the person you’re struggling with for advice and build a relationship that way instead.

When negotiating

“Research shows that if you mirror and match your negotiator, you’re more likely to get a better deal” — in everything from buying a car to getting a promotion, according to Van Edwards. She says the biggest mistake people make in these scenarios is question bending, where people’s voices get louder at the end of a sentence. This reveals your own insecurity, which your negotiating partner will also adopt. “That gives away your power.”

understand hints What body language can tell you about your partner

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