Believe it or not, your body language plays a vital role in business. People do business with people who make them feel comfortable.
Making some small adjustments to your body language can boost your confidence and as a result improve your professional relationships and job performance.
“Research has now shown convincingly that if you change your body language, you can change many things about your approach to life. You can alter your mood before going out, feel more confident at work, become more likeable, and be more persuasive or convincing. When you change your body language you interact differently with people around you and they, in turn, will respond differently to you.” Excerpt From: Pease, Barbara The Definitive Book of Body Language.
Adjust your body language and make the right impression by following these tips:
- Focus on your posture. You’ve probably heard it before but reassessing your posture is the first and most critical change that you can make. The better your posture, the more confident you will appear. When sitting and standing keep your body straight and shoulders back. Do it once in front of a mirror and you will see the difference immediately for yourself.
- Control your hand gestures. Take a moment to think about what you do with your hands when you’re talking with people. You may be surprised to discover that you touch your jewelry, twirl your hair or rub your beard. These small movements can imply nervousness, boredom or a variety of other awkward feelings. Avoid placing your hands on your hips as this gives an impression of superiority and not in a good way. Try to relax and keep your hands at your sides. This may seem uncomfortable at first but it actually portrays a look of ease and confidence. No. Pointing. At. Anyone. Ever!!
- Don’t cross or fold your arms. So many people know that crossing your arms or putting your hands in your pockets should be avoided. So why do we keep doing it? Perhaps people feel more comfortable doing this when they don’t know what to do with their arms. However when you do this, people may view you as unapproachable, uninterested or bored. Again, try to keep your arms and hands naturally by your sides, and avoid holding them in front of your body.
- Keep your head straight. Tilting of the head is a natural body movement when conversing. We may nod when we agree with what is being said, we may tilt our heads to show sympathy and many people actually do this when flirting without realizing! So there is obviously a time and place when it’s okay to tilt your head, but when you want to project some level of authority, keep your head in a straight and neutral position as much as possible.
- Smile. Smiling is considered universally to be a signal that shows a person is happy. When used in moderation and at the appropriate moment (even when you don’t feel like it) a smile can influence other people’s attitudes and how they respond to you. Smiling is contagious, just be sure to avoid the “fake” smiles! They won’t send the right message.
Remember that body language strongly varies from culture to culture. If you are stepping out of your own comfort zone into that of another culture, be sure to prepare yourself for all the different rules of eye contact, personal space and body language.
The Etiquette Consultant