TODAY   |  January 22, 2014

Use body language to get what you want

Prevention executive editor Siobhan O’Connor tells TODAY that acts like smiling and arching your eyebrows when walking into a room, and maintaining eye contact for several seconds are powerful ways to communicate without words.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> whether you are interviewing for a new job, out for a lady's night out at the club or book club meeting you probably want the grab and hold when trying to get the attention of other people.

>> sometimes it's hard to do. your body language can speak volumes without you uttering a word to help you get what you want without asking for it. the magazine editor .

>> hey girl . thanks for being here. i love the segment for so many reasons. when you're at the party and want to tell the story. you try to get in there and somehow feel like you get squashed out. you just want to be heard.

>> we've all heard how you say something is not as important as what you say. our body communicates volumes. these studies say we can inform the way people respond to us by the way we use our body.

>> jenna is going to act out --

>> wait, wait, wait.

>> you're going to act out.

>> you call this first important, master the eyebrow arch.

>> the arch is misleading. what you really want to do is widen your eyes and smile. it's what mothers naturally do when they look at their child. it puts people at ease. that's a little scary.

>> let's see you.

>> imagine you're looking at a person and say, "oh hey."

>> if i made that face to my child, she'd be scared. back to basics. it indicates trustworthiness to hold eye contact . you hold too long and it's creepy.

>> i think it's the biggest thing. it's what i taught my students. looking into somebody's eyes shows that you care.

>> right?

>> three to five seconds. don't overdo it.

>> otherwise, the titanic music will start to play.

>> exactly.

>> face forward. while you're doing that, you don't necessarily -- we'll talk about how you angle your body in a moment. it's important when you're looking at someone, your face needs to be facing them. otherwise you look evasive.

>> like this?

>> no. my face is looking at you straight on. research show that encounters last longer, people feel at ease when you're looking at them straight on.

>> you say be off center.

>> who likes this type of person?

>> close talking is a no no. it's also considered not a great idea to face someone straight on. it can be seen as confrontational. you turn away too much you're dista distant. an angle like we have.

>> how much space is good?

>> a couple of feet. the moment on the train when someone is too close, it makes people uncomfortable.

>> you say adopt a power stance.

>> this is something to do in private. this is a little goofy. we're taking stance. harvard school found this decreases cortisol by 25% which is your stress hormone. it gets you in the right mind set to go in the meeting calm and self possessed in a good way.

>> in a good way?

>> yes.

>> what about reaching out?

>> we take a cue from politicians. politicians talk with their hands. so do people. holding yourself too close, we know this is a bad idea. holding your hands too close is unnatural. this is a way of welcoming you into the conversation, engaging you. you don't physically touch the person.

>> i think sometimes if you have something you want to say and i say, jenna, something incredible happened. then you tell the story.

>> there are ways to communicate and get your message across.

>> thank you very much. we learned so much.