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6 Tricks For Getting Your Way At Work

We've got genius advice from a body language guru to help make your peskiest job woes suddenly disappear.

There’s one thing people never tell you about getting ahead on the job...and it has nothing to do with how many hours you log in or how many projects you take on. It’s not even about what you say. Give up? It’s about how you move. You can actually use body language to make things go your way without anyone realizing it. “Subtle shifts in how you carry yourself can send subliminal messages to others,” says body-language expert Janine Driver, author of the book You Say More Than You Think: A Seven-Day Plan For Using The New Body Language To Get What You Want. Driver, who trained law-enforcement officers to read body language for more than a decade, divulges the moves that give you an edge.

1. Ace a meeting.

How to do it: Choose a seat close to your boss (it will immediately make him feel more connected to you). Sit on the first third of your seat, which makes you appear more engaged and on top of things. Then, hold something that you know he likes in the hand nearest to him—maybe the type of coffee he drinks or the brand of pen he uses. This psychological device prompts him to associate the two of you in his mind, which makes him subconsciously more likely to agree with what you’re saying.

2. Make anyone say yes.

How to do it: To get a coworker to agree to a favor, gesture with one palm up, a technique police officers use during questioning to persuade a person to do as they ask. Then, touch your hand over your heart as you finish the request, signaling a “heartfelt” appeal. To seal the deal, pause for a few seconds before you say the key word, such as “I know we’re all busy, but can you [pause] work my shift?” That brief silence subtly frames it as a subliminal command, prompting her to say yes.

3. Shut  up an annoying coworker.

How to do it: Continue to look at what you’re doing as she’s talking, and do a gesture known as the handgun steeple (you interlace all your fingers, except for your pointers, which is the barrel of the “gun”). Rest the barrel against your lips, signaling that you don’t want to speak. If she doesn’t get it, aim it at her as you say something neutral, such as “I’ve got so much work to do.” 

4. Move past a mistake.

How to do it: Okay, so you messed up. Keep your supervisor from freaking out by standing two feet to one side of him when you confess. This is a nonconfrontational stance that triggers him subconsciously to want to get past your screwup. Emphasize the point by saying, “Going forward, this will not 
happen again.”

5. Take charge of the office bitch.

How to do it: Address her straight on (tilting your head suggests you’re looking for approval), and lift your chin about two inches. You’ll exude confidence, since you’re literally looking down your nose. Use a dismissive, palm-down hand gesture to show that you are the one in control and aren’t buying her BS.

6. Outsmart a competitive colleague.

How to do it: As you’re talking, lay your arm across her desk. You want to take up space in her territory. Touching her turf asserts you as the alpha coworker and conveys that you can—and will—get what you want.

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