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Let your body do the talking: advice on body language

Do you want to seem more powerful? Try grabbing your chin thoughtfully. More intelligent? Tilt your head to the left. More attractive? Tilt your head to the right. Whatever you do, don’t grab the skin on your neck when addressing someone.

These are just some of the tips body language expert and self-proclaimed Lyin’ Tamer Janine Driver gave attendees during yesterday’s Trademark Administrators Brunch. Driver’s high-energy, interactive talk included advice for how—and how not—to approach your boss (don’t rush into a room with good news—stay in the door frame and speak casually); what your body is saying in a job interview (keep your head straight and belly button facing out); and how a hand shake can literally reveal which party has the upper hand (do whatever it takes to be the hand on top).

As a former federal law enforcement officer with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Driver specialized in assessing body language to detect deception. Today, she is president of the Body Language Institute and a bestselling author.

Upon entering the room yesterday, Driver made some quick judgments about the attendees. “This woman is either important, or she thinks she’s important,” she said of one who was leaning on the seat next to hers. This is the kind of observation our coworkers and loved ones make about us everyday, and they contribute greatly to others’ perception of who we are.

Attendee Tracey Mosley of Borden Ladner Gervais said Driver’s talk motivated her to be more aware of certain habits, particularly when training others. Karla Charles of Gardner, Linn, Burkhart & Flory agreed, and added: “I think this is the best brunch we’ve ever had.”

Other tips from Driver

Don’t be a tall skinny candle when standing; be a short fat one with legs wide apart and solidly planted; when people are truly sad, their eyebrows pull together and up—when there’s no eyebrow activity, it’s fake; nodding yes while denying something can indicate dishonesty; making a steeple with your hands designates authority; rocking back and forth on one’s feet denotes confidence; hiding your thumbs in your fists or pockets can mean you need reassurance.

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