Thursday, 18 December 2014

How to be brilliant? It's all about BODY LANGUAGE

The formula really is that simple, says renowned body-language expert India Ford. Harness these basic skills and you can be the belle of every ball...

Written by India Ford
BodyLanguage-Dec19-03-176India FordEver wondered how A-list celebrities seem to effortlessly captivate everyone as soon as they walk into a room? It may come as a surprise to learn that this confidence is not always innate. In fact, celebrities go to great lengths to project this charismatic effect. The process begins with the right dress, the right make-up, the right accessories (and so on), but there is one powerful component that is seldom written about. This is the secret element that can make or break the image they project – and crucially, it is something A-listers never, ever take for granted: their body language.

Even for those of us who can’t claim to be celebrities, our body language has the power to ‘amplify’ our presence in any situation. The way you walk, stand, sit and make eye contact can super-boost your image.

So, regardless of whether you’re facing the world’s press or just walking into a room full of people, the good news is that anyone can learn how to use their body language to inject that elusive ‘it-factor energy’ into their image.

Here’s how: simply think ‘PRESS’ – Posture, Restrictions, Eye contact, Smile and Speed.

Good posture is the foundation of a powerful image. It will help you look more graceful, attractive and healthy. The way in which you ‘hold’ your body will also dictate to others how you expect to be treated. Sluggish posture will send a whole host of very negative signals (low confidence, weak, insecure), while good posture will convey the opposite – high confidence, high self-esteem and a positive attitude. Whatever ‘signals’ you project, a value will be placed on you unconsciously and you will be treated accordingly – for better or for worse – so you had better get it right!
Making your entrance A great tip direct from the red carpet is to imagine squeezing an orange between your shoulder blades. This will pull your shoulders back and down, instantly improving your posture. You can also hold your head up and imagine you’re wearing an invisible crown as you enter. Remember, if you walk like a VIP you’ll be treated like one.

When nerves kick in, most women unconsciously start to form ‘barriers’ in front of their bodies – either with their hands and arms or with objects such as handbags. The message you send when you do this is: ‘Help – I’m not feeling very confident, so please keep away.’ It’s important to keep your torso ‘clutter-free’ to give the impression of openness.
Making your entrance By keeping limbs, handbags and even drinks to your side, you will display an open, confident and sassy image. 

Often referred to as the windows to the soul, our eyes are the focal point of our body in more ways than one. When you make effective eye contact you communicate high self-esteem, trust and sincerity. Practise maintaining eye contact with family members, friends and the strangers in the coffee shop! You will quickly realise what a powerful impact this simple act can have on every aspect of your life.
Making your entrance As you walk in, look around the room and make eye contact with those around you for a couple of seconds. To really gain an edge, use this simple method: whenever you meet someone, notice their eye colour – you don’t need to remember it, just notice it. In that moment you will make an instant charismatic connection.


Confident people naturally smile more and are perceived as being more positive, interesting and happier – all very attractive traits. And amazingly, not only does smiling impact how others perceive you, but it also has an impact on your own physiology. Even a faint smile triggers your body into releasing endorphins, which naturally and instantly make you feel more joyful.
Making your entrance Have a relaxed, gentle smile on your face. You don’t have to show teeth – simply upturn the corners of your mouth and you’ll look happier, youthful and approachable.

People who are nervous and selfdoubting tend to have quick, jerky and fidgety movements. Conversely, when you slow down your movements, especially when you’re walking, you will project a persona that suggests you live according to your own agenda and are certain of yourself. As part of creating that first impression, it is vital you watch the speed at which you move.
Making your entrance Never scurry to your seat/destination. Instead, relax, take a deep breath and walk in, taking measured steps and feeling comfortable with others looking at you. Just by becoming aware of your speed and slowing down you will automatically stand out from the crowd.

Practise these techniques and they will become second nature to you. By developing an awareness of your body language, you will gain a powerful tool to help you project a confident, engaging and positive image, which will work to your advantage in whatever situation you find yourself in. Go forth and be brilliant!

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Fiona Hicks puts India’s tips to the test

I wouldn’t say I’m a shy person. The nature of my job means that I meet a lot of people, and often have to strike up conversation with those I have never met before (and may well never meet again). I must admit, however, that there are times when I feel a tad less comfortable than I’d like to. This sensation usually strikes in a party situation.

Armed with India’s tips, I was intrigued to see how they would make a difference. I decided to test them at a function at a London art gallery, where I would know few people and I was anxious the standard of conversation would be beyond my artistically challenged level.

On the street before entering, I took a few quiet moments, adopted a subtle version of the power pose as India had instructed, and summoned the feeling of chatting with my close friends. I never struggle to make conversation in that situation, and I could feel myself becoming more chatty just thinking about it.

In I strode. I had the proverbial orange between my shoulder blades, and it’s amazing what standing up straight can do for your self-image. I instantly felt more elegant, and the cloakroom assistant virtually leapt to take my coat.

The party, already in full swing, was a mass of conversational circles. Usually I would head straight to the bar, but this time I walked in a measured way, smiled at anyone I made eye contact with and relished the experience of having a bit of a nose around. When I was handed a glass of champagne, I made sure I held it to my side as opposed to in front of me. I was physically more open, which had two benefits: I felt mentally more open too, ready to take on any sort of interaction, and the waiters flocked to me with their canapés.

Within a few seconds of standing – shoulders back, drink to the side, a faint smile on my lips – I was approached by someone I had met a few parties ago. I was more relaxed than I have ever been and, I’d like to think, more engaging too. It is staggering what merely controlling your limbs and becoming aware of your body language can do for your mind, your sociability and your success. I had gone from being anxious about the party to feeling like I was hosting it.

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