Body Language 101: Making Great First Impressions that Last

Body Language 101: Making Great First Impressions that Last


Everyone must master the subtle art of improving our body language to promote a better image in our society. Body language speaks volumes about how a person is feeling, their outlook on life, and how they conduct their business. A concept directly related to body language is making a first impression. First impressions are extremely important; those who leave good impressions will be more likely to achieve success than those who do not.

There are many skills that will improve our body language. When combining proper body language with using proper English and dressing for success, there is no doubt that African Americans can compete, and win in any situation.  We simply need to master the skills that so many high achievers use to guarantee their success. The following skills are keys to improving our body language.

Demonstrate Good Posture

We should stand up straight and hold our head high. When sitting, we should lean slightly forward and be sure to be upright without slouching. These actions show confidence. They present a positive outlook and give off a good first impression.

Maintain Proper Eye Contact

Those who make good eye contact are perceived as trustworthy. We should learn how to look others directly in the eye when speaking. This is especially important when we are trying to make a favorable impression.

Give a Firm Handshake

A firm handshake shows confidence. It also shows strength and eagerness. Those who give firm handshakes are taken seriously and they are well respected.

Use Proper Hand Gestures

Hand gestures suggest excitement and energy. When speaking, use proper hand gestures to make points clear and emphasize ideas. Be careful not to constantly move the hands because it portrays nervousness. Use hand movements that come naturally; do not force them.

Add Appropriate Responses

When engaged in conversations, use appropriate responses that include both verbal and non-verbal reactions. Such reactions include appropriate facial expressions, short pauses before speaking, and verbal responses to show that you are listening. Proper responses lead to more meaningful conversations.

Don’t Forget to Smile

A smile works regardless of the situation at hand. It disarms people and gives the most positive response. Those who smile often are more likely to demonstrate their positive outlook. People tend to respond favorably to people who smile.

Each of these concepts will allow us to give off the correct body language and make better impressions. Everyone should put these things into practice immediately. They could be the difference between opening doors to new opportunities or closing doors to lost opportunities.


Gary A. McAbee created the Motivation for the World blog to have a powerful voice and positive impact in society. The articles posted are relevant to all people who hope to improve their lives and unlock their unlimited potential. Along with his other blog, Wake Up/Rise Up, Gary is able to get people talking about issues that affect us all. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now!, the follow-up Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now! , and Defining Success: One Word at a Time.


Join me on social media!







My Moses Complex

Promised Land

In my life I have taught many students how to lead more productive and successful lives. My books about self-motivation and self-determination have been read by many adult learners seeking to improve their lives. The inspirational quotes and motivational prints I have created have been used by many people looking for a daily dose of encouragement and support. The advice I have given has empowered many individuals to persevere instead of giving up. In short, I have provided motivation for the world, one person at a time. I believe I have led a lot of people to their Promised Land.

Despite this, I have an eerie feeling that I am supposed to watch people cross over into the Promised Land, but I am not supposed to cross over with them. I call this my Moses Complex. If you know the story of Moses, you know that he led the Israelites out of Egypt. Along the way, he fought for the Israelites. He received the Ten Commandments and taught the Israelites. He led the Israelites through the wilderness to the Promised Land. Yet he was not allowed to enter with them. Instead, when his earthly duties were completed, he was taken up into heaven.

I don’t want this comparison to be misconstrued. I am not Moses, nor am I a leader of his magnitude. However, I do think my life has elements of Moses’ story and his “journey.” Just like Moses, I think I have been called to lead people to their Promised Land. Moses answered a call that encouraged him to become a leader. I answered a call that encouraged me to become a teacher. Moses had doubts about his ability to lead. I had doubts about my ability to lead. Moses motivated and inspired people to move forward against all odds. I motivate and inspire people to move forward against all odds. Moses saw the Promised Land, but did not cross into it. I saw the Promised Land…

Here is where my confusion lies. Am I going to enter the Promised Land, or am I on this earth to be the conduit that allows others to get there? Sometimes it feels like I will never get there. My Promised Land is out of reach. I am sure this is a “normal” feeling. Like many people, I am my own worst critic and I allow self-doubt to take control far too often. On the other hand, sometimes it feels like my Promised Land is my ability to help and serve others. So maybe I am already there! This is another aspect of my Moses Complex.

There are various complexes that psychologists claim can explain many human behaviors. We have heard of the Oedipus (forbidden sexual desires) complex, the Napoleon (lack of size or stature) complex, and the Superman (unhealthy sense of responsibility) complex. But is there a Moses complex? I did a little research to find out. It turns out that there is a Moses Complex, and I am not the only one who thinks about it. I stumbled upon a blog post by Dean Waggenspack that summarizes the Moses Complex perfectly (I encourage you to read it here). One line in particular stood out for me…

“But because Moses has the knowledge, experience, insight and leadership role it should be apparent to all others that they should follow him.” (Waggenspack, 2012)

This my friends is where my hang up lies. It is the core of my Moses Complex. People tell me that my teaching and writings is great- knowledge. I have been told I have a good combination of abilities and expertise- experience. I have people who trust me enough to ask me for advice and seek inspiration- insight. I have been put in countless positions where I have needed to guide and direct people and their decision-making processes- leadership. Therefore, “it should be apparent to all others that they should follow (me).”

The irony in all of this is we never know how many people actually “follow” our lead. It is impossible to know, especially in today’s social media driven society. Sure we can check our “likes” and “followers”, but how can we determine how many people take and apply the things we have to offer. For example, who knows what impact their generosity has on others? A wise woman once said if we knew the true impact we have on others, our heads would explode! So I guess it is best we don’t know. In my case…

  • Do I have a million “followers”?
  • Are people in countries around the world actively reading my blog posts?
  • How many people bought one of my books and referred it to one of their friends?
  • Is one of my motivational prints hanging in a frame in someone’s home or office?
  • What happened after someone used my advice and it worked for them?

If I knew the answers to these questions, maybe I could shed my Moses Complex. Maybe I am meant to show the way, but not to actually get to the Promised Land. Maybe I am meant to enter with those I am helping on their journey. Maybe I am already in the Promised Land. Maybe my head is about to explode!



Waggenspack, D. (2012, December 12). Teaching– The Moses Complex [Blog Post]. Retrieved from

Self-Reflection: Clark Kent vs Superman

Sometimes in life one must stop, take a self-assessment, and make necessary changes. I feel like I am at this point: the moment when you realize you need to take a look in the mirror to see who you really are.

Like many people, I can relate to characters in books, television, and movies. One character I always felt a connection to is Superman. Superman’s earthly journey started with humble beginnings as Clark Kent. He was just an “ordinary” person until he learned how to unlock his extraordinary abilities. He became Superman. Once Superman learned how to harness his power, he used it for good as a way to make things better. He eventually became great at everything he did, as long as he had his cape and super suit.

But Superman was really Clark Kent in disguise. Clark was the opposite of Superman in many ways. He was somewhat clumsy and socially awkward. He wasn’t very confident or sure of himself and his abilities. Clark seemed to want to reveal who he was, but every time he got the courage to tell his secret something got in the way. So he toiled in anonymity. In the meantime something strange happened: the intangible qualities he possessed as Clark Kent became as “strong” as the tangible qualities he possessed as Superman. So sometimes Clark wanted to be Superman; sometimes he wanted to be Clark.

Now you may be wondering how this well- known and beloved fictional character relates to this writer. Well I can relate to Clark Kent. I am cut from the same the clumsy, socially-awkward, unsure, and unconfident cloth as Clark Kent. I also learned how to unlock extraordinary abilities. Therefore, I am Superman too. My issue is learning how to harness my power and use my “super” powers for good.

What a lot of people miss is Superman has a complex. Superman wants to save the world, but sometimes he can’t. Psychologists have given this a title: the Superman complex. By definition, it is:

  • Superman complex– the feeling that others cannot perform one or more tasks successfully and sense of responsibility to save others

Superman feels he should be able to save the world. In one movie, he tried to perform so many life-saving deeds simultaneously that he did not have time to “save” the person he loved the most. This made him angry, and it caused him to question everything about himself and why he was given such extraordinary abilities. I can relate.

What a lot of people miss Clark Kent has a complex too. Clark Kent is torn between being “ordinary” and being super. My definition is:

  • Clark Kent complex– deciding how and when to use intangible qualities that go unnoticed or reveal tangible quantities no one knows exist

Clark Kent knows his intangible qualities make him great, but the world doesn’t. He also knows his tangible qualities as Superman make him great, but the world doesn’t. So he goes through life swinging back and forth. Clark Kent wants people to see that he is great. He wants to reveal who he really is, but without his super powers he can’t figure out how to do it. I can relate.

The world loves tangible qualities: good looks, physical appearance, wealth, material things. The world sees the “good’ in Superman. On the other hand, the world overlooks intangible qualities: care, compassion, helpfulness, love and support. The world does not see the “good” in Clark Kent.

Sometimes in life one must stop, take a self-assessment, and make necessary changes. I feel like I am at this point: the moment when you realize you need to take a look in the mirror to see who you really are.

Who am I? I am Clark Kent, but I am super too.