Published October 14, 2012
Your mouth isn’t the only part of your body that talks. In fact, all those sounds that come out of your face may not mean nearly as much as the signals you send with the rest of your body. Your posture, your facial expression, hand gestures, even that thing you do with your eyebrows when you’re nervous -- all of these things communicate information to other people.
When most guys think about being charismatic, they think about what they need to say to impress a woman, a boss or a client, but body language is just as important, if not more so. Guys need to think about the messages their body language is sending, which is why we’ve assembled this list of body language lessons from charismatic men.
Projecting positive body language starts long before you walk out the door. If you’re worried about the way your pants fit or the way your hair looks, you’ll come off as anxious and unfriendly. Wearing the right kind of clothes and taking care of your hair and skin will give you confidence, and you’ll project that confidence immediately upon walking into the room, the same way George Clooney does.
Use social contact
If you’ve ever watched Bill Clinton in action, you’ve seen effective use of social contact. With the skill of a seasoned politician, Clinton is constantly patting people on the back and enthusiastically shaking hands. He radiates positive energy; he’s both kinetic and magnetic. You can channel some of Clinton’s legendary charisma by using social contact too. You don’t want to be touchy-feely guy, but don’t hesitate to shake hands or pat someone's back for a job well done.
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A smile might say more about you than just about any other aspect of your body language. That’s why it’s on our list of body language lessons from charismatic men. When onlookers see you smiling, they instantly know that you’re comfortable, relaxed and having fun. Take a look at just about any picture of Oscar de la Hoya; the boxing great has a million-dollar smile. It’s warm and infectious. He looks like a guy you want to hang out with. That’s charisma.
Stand up straight
Standing up straight is another essential element of powerful body language. Slouchers look tired and beaten down. Guys who stand tall look like winners, like Michael Jordan. Jordan has so much charisma, he’s turned himself into a billion-dollar brand. He’s arguably the most marketable human being in history. But you don’t need to be 6’6” in order to stand tall, just keep your shoulders back and your chin up.
Keep your body open
Another important element of charismatic body language is keeping your body open. Essentially, that just means you don’t want to put objects in between you and other people. For instance, don’t stand facing the bar, stand facing away from the bar. Give people the opportunity to come up and meet you. Don’t cross your arms; try not to hold your drink out in front of your chest. There’s something subtly defensive about these postures. For an example, think of someone like Stephen Colbert. He’s always animated, always engaging, always open -- except to other people’s ideas.
Maintain eye contact
Avoiding eye contact makes you look shifty or painfully shy. Charismatic guys are confident and comfortable carrying on a conversation. So look others in the eye, especially women; they often list “eyes” as one of the most attractive male characteristics. Why else do you think Paul Newman, with his glacier-blue eyes, was considered a sex symbol for so many years?
Adjust your clothing to set the tone
When it comes to sending signals through your body language, we can all learn a lesson from the charismatic commander in chief. President Barack Obama is the most stylish president since Kennedy, and one thing he’s masterful at is adjusting his clothing to set the tone. When he’s speaking from behind a podium, he knows how to rock a suit; when he’s chatting with his constituents at a town hall meeting, he has his tie loosened and his sleeves rolled up. Whatever the occasion, he never looks out of place -- never overdressed, never underdressed.
A body of success
Much like a picture, body language speaks a thousand words. If you want to be more successful with women, in your career and in social situations generally, start committing these body language lessons from charismatic men to memory.