Assertive Body Language


You can tell a lot by someone’s body language. ‘
Harvey Wolter

The way that people naturally carry themselves can help or hinder their communication goals. We give off unconscious signals with our bodies all the time, letting others instinctively understand our status, our mood and our character.

Using body language that automatically conveys power, assertiveness and confidence will make people more likely to be influenced by you.

Assertive body language is relaxed. It moves at a steady rate, indicating that the person is feeling at ease. Even when they are speaking passionately, their movement is smooth and under control.

Their voice is natural and even. It goes up and down in time with the words, matching the expression. The sound is warm, friendly and melodious. Vocal volume goes up and down evenly, not suddenly becoming loud or quiet, but in a natural way that sounds honest and persuasive.

When a person looks around they do so in steady sweeps. They do not have eyes that dart about furtively nor do they stare nor are they downcast.

Gestures are used to emphasize truths, although not in an exaggerated way. Hence the head nods, outstretched forearms bounce downwards and open and the body may lean slightly forwards.

A gentle touch may be used as encouragement and steady eye contact used to show determination.

There should be no barriers across the body. Arms hanging down or are held outwards. Hands are often palms-up rather than fists or placating palms down.

Openness includes smiling, accepting and listening. The assertive person is attentive and checks that they have understood what the other person has said. They also respond to the concerns of others, showing this in their body language.

‘Body language is a very powerful tool. We had body language before we had speech, and apparently, 80% of what you understand in a conversation is read through the body, not the words.’
Deborah Bull


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