What’s Your Angle?

Now that this chapter has covered every angle of posture, this section will talk about angles themselves. This section will teach you to position parts of your body to show interest (or lack thereof) in what another person is saying.

Baiting the Hook

Anglers are, as you know, fishermen. They’re trying to lure and capture their prey. Whether or not they make a big catch depends on their skill. The same can be said for luring and trapping others with your body language.

What is this angling, you’re wondering? The best way to understand it is to do it. Have a seat. Pretend someone is seated to your left and you’re going to have a nice chat with this person. If you’re a woman, cross your legs and point them toward your imaginary friend. If you’re a man, you can stretch your legs out any way you want—just make sure they’re pointing in the direction of the invisible person.

You don’t have to be sitting to work the angle correctly. If you happen to be standing, use your shoulders to lure your victim … er, new friend. Here’s where your posture comes into play: Stand straight and “square” your shoulders toward the other person. You’re creating a personal space that exists only between the two of you, a space that is both intimate and nonthreatening (unless you start crowding that personal space—something discussed more later).

What does “squaring” the shoulders mean?

It simply means to straighten them so they’re at right angles to the body. Sit or stand straight; your shoulders will naturally fall into alignment. Now, when you speak to someone else, turn your shoulders in their direction.

Think this sounds too easy? Look for this type of angling in real-life settings. The next time you’re at a club or you witness interoffice flirting, note the angle of both parties. Of course, angling isn’t always sexual. It can (and should) be used in any conversation where you want to appear interested. Learning to angle your body correctly is simply polite; angling your body away from someone sends a completely different message.

Throwing It Back

To show your lack of interest in pursuing a conversation, all you have to do is angle your body away from the other person. You may look his way, your tone of voice may be pleasant enough, but if you don’t turn your body toward him, you’re sending a subtle yet unmistakable signal that you’re not interested.

Here is a classic example of this type of angling. A woman sits perched on a barstool. She appears to be a friendly sort; she’s laughing and talking with her friends. A man approaches her from the side and attempts to strike up a conversation. If she turns to point her legs toward him, he has a shot; if she doesn’t, he’s dead in the water. While there may be nothing he can do to bring her around (both literally and figuratively), if he knows how to read this signal, he can at least move on before he spends too much time on what’s most likely a futile attempt.

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  4. What’s Your Angle?
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