People have a ‘personal space’, which is also an important type of non-verbal communication and we should take notice of it. If you go up to someone who then takes a step back, then respect that as indicating the personal space that person needs. The amount of distance we need is different for each of us, depending on how comfortable we feel when someone is standing in front of us. It also depends on the situation we are in and the level of familiarity.

The ‘influential’ right side

Bill Docherty has spent over 30 years teaching negotiation techniques and has found that the majority of people are more easily influenced when you stand or sit on their right-hand side.

Body language and non verbal behavior accounts for 93 per cent of the perceived impact that you have on people. When you go for an interview or when you want to influence people, try to make sure you sit slightly to their right even if it means moving your chair a little (and even if you are across the table from them) so that they have to move their eyes and/or head slightly to their right to look at you. Being on their right puts you in their perceived future (and not their past!). When you are trying to make an impression then move your chair away from the desk to create space around you.

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