Ten Nonverbal Messages and AttractivenessHere are ten nonverbal messages that help communicate your attractiveness and ten that will likely create the opposite effect. I’m drawing here on lots of different nonverbal researchers, for example, Peter Andersen’s The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Body Language (an excellent and comprehensive review of nonverbal communication findings) and R. E. Riggio and R. S. Feldman’s excellent edited collection, Applications of Nonverbal Communication.
1. Do Gesture to show liveliness and animation in ways that are appropriate to the situation and to the message. But don’t Gesture for the sake of gesturing or gesture in ways that may prove offensive to members of other cultures.
2. Do Nod and lead forward to signal that you’re listening and are interested. But don’t Go on automatic pilot, nodding without any coordination with what is being said or lean so forward that you intrude on the other’s space.
3. Do Smile and otherwise show your interest, attention, and positiveness facially. But don’t Over do it; inappropriate smiling is likely to be perceived negatively.
4. Do Make eye contact in moderation. But don’t Stare, ogle, glare, or otherwise make the person feel that he or she is under scrutiny.
5. Do Touch in moderation when appropriate. But don’t Touch excessively or too intimately. When it doubt, avoid touching another.
6. Do Use vocal variation in rate, rhythm, pitch, and volume to communicate your animation and involvement in what you’re saying. But don’t Falling into the pattern where, for example, your voice goes up and down, up and down, up and down without any relationship to what you’re saying.
7. Do Use silence to listen at least the same amount of time as you speak. Show that you’re listening with appropriate facial reactions, posture, and back-channeling cues, for example. But don’t Listen motionlessly or in ways that suggest you’re only listening half-heartedly.
8. Do Stand reasonably chose to show a connectedness. But don’t Exceed the other person’s comfort zone.
9. Do Present a pleasant smell and be careful to camouflage the onions, garlic, or smoke that you’re so used to, you can’t smell it. But don’t Overdo the cologne or perfume.
10. Do Dress appropriately to the situation. But don’t Wear clothing that proves uncomfortable or that calls attention to itself and hence away from your message.