body languageFive Tips from a Corporate Persuasion Expert

Uncross your arms.

Uncross your legs.

Okay. If you insist on crossing your legs, then cross them towards the person you want to persuade to do something.

These are the tips that I offer my corporate clients when I’m leading workshops on The Art of Persuasion. My clients are often negotiating big business deals, but these same skills can be used in negotiating deals in other parts of their lives. Like persuading a spouse to go to a special movie, a friend to go shopping at your favorite store, or that gorgeous guy at end of the bar to pay attention to you.

And yes, all of these tips can translate from the boardroom to the bedroom…

Open Up
Open body language promotes a more open and agreeable response. That means uncrossing your arms and legs. Crossing your arms and legs creates both a physical and psychological barrier, which can set up a defensive posture on the part of the person you’re trying to persuade. Most women, however, are more comfortable sitting with their legs crossed. If this is the case with you, then make sure that your legs are crossed towards the person with whom you’re speaking. That shows that you’re more agreeable, and will help you get what you want. Of course, when it comes to the bedroom, it goes without saying that open body language can definitely help you get what you want…

Wear Red
For women, wearing red is especially effective when negotiating with a man. The “red effect” is mentioned in the current issue of Psychology Today‘s, “The Siren Song of Scarlet” by Matt Huston (April 2013). Studies show that men see women in red as more attractive and appealing. A woman wearing red is also seen as more sexually receptive. So… if your goal is to persuade your male business partner to agree with your proposal, then wear that red dress. And if your goal is to get your “other” male partner to do something adventurous in the bedroom, then bring out that sexy red lingerie!

When it comes to Wardrobe, Think “Open” & “Red”
Now I’m going to combine the first two tips to give you another persuasion tip. The importance of “openness” when it comes to body posture also applies to the article of clothing you’re wearing. In other words, you want to make sure that your neckline is open. Wearing a turtleneck or being too buttoned up does not promote an open response from a partner. It helps to wear a neckline that is more open to “open up” the conversation — which translates into appearing more open in your negotiation. When it comes to corporate business, I don’t recommend wearing anything too low cut or revealing, because that can appear unprofessional and distract from your message. But when it comes to the business of the bedroom, the lower the better!

Look. The Eyes Don’t Lie
Many of my corporate clients engage in the “myth of multi-tasking”;  they think they can speak or listen effectively while they’re texting or emailing. If you’re trying to persuade someone and you’re glancing down at your iPhone or Blackberry every few seconds, you’re going to lose the person. It’s imperative to maintain eye contact to show the person that you’re paying attention and you care.

When it comes to personal encounters, i.e. when you’re flirting with someone, then there’s a creative way to use eye contact. Use the rule of three. As body language expert Tanya Reiman points out, you look at the man, and then look down. You repeat this three times, and on the third time, you maintain eye contact. That way, he’ll know that you’re really interested.

Notice where your Jimmy Choos are Pointing
If you want to persuade someone to take on your point of view, then make sure that your feet are pointing in the direction of the person. If you’re standing, this means that you want to position yourself across from the person; it’s much more difficult to do this when you’re standing side by side. If you’re facing the person, but your feet are facing on an angle away from the person, then it indicates that you’re ready to walk away from the encounter.

When it comes to the bedroom, the positioning of your feet is really less important. Unless you’re still wearing your Jimmy Choos. In which case you’d want to position them away from your partner’s face or other sensitive body parts…

You’ll notice that the tips I’ve offered are geared towards situations where you are meeting with the person face-to-face. That’s because this is the ideal situation to deliver a persuasive message. Whenever you have the choice between negotiating for something you want in person versus on the phone or via email, always choose in person.

The power of body language can help you get what you want — for business and pleasure.


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