(Redbook) Your gestures and posture say more than you know. You probably think a lot about what you say to others, but did you know that you also send some very strong messages without uttering a word? Indeed, body language is the single most important means of getting a point across, say experts. Unfortunately, many of us botch it on a daily basis with co-workers, family, friends and even the dry cleaner. Here's some help for some of the most common body language goofs:

Crossing your arms and legs
This gester says, "I'm closed to whatever you're saying," "I wish I weren't here," or "I'm protecting myself from something." How to fix it. Find something comfortable to do with your arms other than crossing them.

Avoiding eye contact
Refusing to meet someone's eyes says that you're not confident, nervous, or, even worse untrustworthy. How to fix it. Ease yourself in practice maintaining eye contact for slightly longer periods of time.

Twisting your jewelry, playing with your hair
You look like a nervous teenager when you do this. How to fix it. Because these habits are so ingrained, we're often not aware of what we're doing. So, whenever you feel even a little nervous, take a mental inventory.

Looking around the room when you're in a group of three or more
The conversation steers away from you and you think, this is a good time to check out what's happening around us. How to fix it. Even if the subject matter drifts away from you, look interested -- lean in or nod your head in agreement with the person speaking.

Poor posture almost shouts, "I'm not handling this well," "I don't feel competent," or "I'm depressed." How to fix it. Just force yourself to stand and sit up straight. "And while you do it, hold your head up and smile," says Debra Fine, author of "The Fine Art of Small Talk."


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