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How to win with body language in the office Add to ...

"When someone walks into the room, how do you know they're going to be the future leader of the company?" asks Janine Driver, founder and president of The Body Language Institute in Washington and author of You Say More Than You Think: A 7-Day Plan for Using the New Body Language to Get What You Want! "A minimum of 50 per cent of what we communicate with others is non-verbal," she says. "You can use very few words, but the right body language will give you so much more." For instance, you can create a quick, powerful picture by standing within the door frame of your boss's office.

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"It frames you like a piece of art and also makes you appear to be more powerful," says Ms. Driver. "Be careful, don't stand in the middle. Put both hands up, your left hand on the left side of the door frame, the right hand on the right, your hip tilted to one side."

Locked knees and a straight torso look too confrontational, but the hip tilt lends casual charm and likeability.

Here's a sampling of top-dog moves for the workplace.

Raise the steeple. Show you can play hardball

Touching all of the fingertips together - the godfather or high steeple - is a common gesture among the alphas of the business world, including Oprah Winfrey and Donald Trump. "It tends to indicate precise thought, and it's used by people who are confident - often very educated, very successful, or both," says author Janine Driver, who calls this position the godfather steeple. "It shows power, authority and confidence."

If your colleague matches your godfather, steeple wider and higher. This will decrease their impact and power. It shows you have a plan.

Dealing with a co-worker who is a jerk

If you're at a meeting and one of your table-mates is hogging the session or is loud or rude, Ms. Driver suggests "heavy artillery" - the handgun steeple. That's clasped hands with index fingers and thumbs pressed together in a gun shape. The handgun increases your authority and "personal" power.

This aggressive pose can help you seize control of a situation, but it can also be "the kiss of death," she says. "In a job interview or when inspiring a team, you'll kill all chances of success."

Dealing with a domineering subordinate

Ms. Driver recommends being constantly mindful of your height in relation to others. For example, if your boss is standing, take a seat and look up at him. You want to feed that ego. "I call this body leveraging. You're either keeping the power to yourself or giving it to others."

If a domineering subordinate attempts a similar move, stand up and gently escort him or her from the room while continuing the conversation - reminding him or her who's really in charge. If they still try to dominate, invade their space: Sit in their chair, make a call from their phone.

Power up your domination

If a rogue employee has a habit of hijacking meetings - or attempts to use the handgun steeple on you - stand up as you speak, walk behind that person, and stay there.

Point out something on a piece of paper or on the board. Do not retreat. This increases your confidence, while decreasing his or her power.

"It becomes an anchor for them to be quiet, because it makes them feel very uncomfortable," says Ms. Driver. "Every time they interrupt, you do that. And then all you'll have to do is start standing up, and they'll realize, 'Uh-oh, I've got to stop interrupting.' "

And don't do this.… Be a mind reader. Even one on one, not every gesture is aimed at you.

 

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