04/26/2019 09:38 EDT | Updated 06/03/2019 15:22 EDT

What Your Body Language Says About You

The Toyota Camry inspires a drive like no other. Sporty stance, exceptional handling, and available 301 HP injects excitement and power into each drive, so you get the most out of every road. In partnership with Toyota Canada, we connected with inspiring Canadians who have unexpectedly captivating hobbies, illuminating the incredible synergies between career and hobby, and how they can inform and elevate one another.

Meet Asia Laviolette, speech pathologist and aerialist.

It wasn't until she took an interest in aerial silks that she fully understood how integral movement is to effective communication. Humans have an incredible ability to communicate but contrary to popular belief, it's not always through speech. A more impactful way of communicating requires no words at all - it's all about body language.

Laviolette believes that once you become aware of your own body language, you instantly become a better communicator––and there's no doubt in her mind that she's better at her job as a speech pathologist for it. In partnership with Toyota Camry, here are tips on how to turn negative body language into positive cues that will serve you well in your career and personal life.

Looking down

If you're shy or introverted, you probably look down a lot or inadvertently avoid someone's gaze. Laviolette encourages everyone to become more aware of what your eyes are saying to the person(s) you're engaging with. This is especially important in a professional setting. Making eye contact for an appropriate amount of time can indicate respect. If you're giving a presentation and looking down or lowering your gaze, it can indicate meekness, showing colleagues that you're not confident. Remember to always keep your chin up and eyes forward.

Slouching

Slouching is universally discouraged because it indicates disinterest, stress and low morale. Slouching is a hard habit to break but you'll be rewarded for correcting it. One way Laviolette combats this issue is through her aerial stretches and routines. If you spend your entire work day at a desk, try sitting up straight with your chin up and your chest lifted. This will make you appear more confident, interested and enthusiastic. From a physical perspective, practicing good posture also helps with alignment, breathing, circulation and general good health.

Crossing your arms

We do this a lot without realizing it but crossing arms immediately exudes defensiveness. It's an indication that you're feeling awkward, uncomfortable or offended. Laviolette works with children age 12 and under, so she never wants them to feel intimidated by her. One way to diffuse the situation is as simple as uncrossing your arms, keeping them at your side. It's a small gesture but one that says a heck of a lot.

Fidgeting

Fidgeting is another movement we engage in without realizing it. You might be sitting in a meeting completely unaware of your tapping foot, but your colleagues are certainly noticing it. The constant tapping is not just distracting to others, it's an indicator that you're tense, bored or nervous. Laviolette recommends curbing the habit by first taking a deep breath to release that nervous energy. Prevent the urge to tap by crossing your legs at the ankle. Even better, contribute or engage with your colleagues to distract and busy yourself with the topic at hand.

Body alignment

If you've ever been on a bad date, you likely sat or positioned your body as far away from that person as possible. This body language says you disapprove of that person whether you intentionally mean it or not. If you don't want your body to betray you, be aware of what you're doing with it. Foster a positive environment by positioning your body in the direction of whoever you're speaking to. Keep your posture open by uncrossing your arms and legs, which will make you appear friendly and approachable.

Poker face

A poker face is great for, well, poker, but not for meeting new people as it makes you appear unfriendly and uninviting. It's surprisingly easy to forget to smile, especially if you're in an uncomfortable situation. When Laviolette meets new students in the classroom or other aerialists at the studio, she remembers to shake their hand, make eye contact and smile. A smile can make people around you feel at ease. It's a small gesture that can lead to lifelong friendships. If you're a believer in manifestation, it can very well change your life.

Find a hobby that unexpectedly captivates you, just like the 2019 Toyota Camry.