Body language series | Surprise

If you wonder why body language is important for your career, let me tell you that Forbes writes in an article that body language impacts leadership results and a new book looking into presentation tools for turning No into Yes appeared very recently and is called ‘Influential Power’ by Lene Kobbernagel. We decided to follow up on this super interesting topic and make a Body Language Series. All for you, ladies!



How can we read and detect Surprise in another person’s face?

Well, if a person is surprised they will unmistakably, but maybe just for a short second, widen their eyes, their mouth drops open in an untrained way and their eyebrows are lifted, which might reveal some wrinkles on the forehead. We also as per reflex breathe in to get ready to either flee or laugh. This is how we show Surprise.


But how do we embrace a sudden surprise so it doesn’t knock us off at work? Try to breathe out and to laugh. This way your body creates useful hormones, which bring back balance and ease, so your body knows all is good and can react accordingly. But what if it was an unpleasant surprise? Still try to breathe out, because otherwise you might get stuck in the emotion which then can turn into fear.


Body Language tip from Lene Kobbernagel - The 'I'

If you want to be taken more seriously as you speak, align your head, heart and stomach on the same vertical line through your body – like the letter ‘I’.


Lene says that using the ‘I’ makes it possible to regulate the degree of seriousness others ascribe to you. It signals 100 % confidence in your message.


Many people have a tendency to stand in a sort of ‘S’ shape, but if you want to be taken seriously never tilt your head. Your body should be calm and steady as a rock, while you can use your hands and smiling eyes to express yourself.


The ‘I’ should run through the middle of your forehead, nose, chin and breastbone. You can practice in front of a mirror and draw a vertical line with lipstick on the mirror. Ladies, charm and charisma come from your posture.


So if we put our business glasses on and summon up on this article, then do remember that if you want to portray seriousness, have a picture on your CV or LinkedIn profile, where your head is not tilted, but show a lifted head with a friendly smile. When standing in front of an audience and delivering a message remember never to tilt your head, use your hands and eyes to express yourself, but hold your body still.


Body language tip from “Influential Power” by Lene Kobbernagel – you can find the book at


Wilma Zandbergen

Advisory Board Member at Career Club DK
Senior Consultant

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