Body language is a tool which when properly mastered, can help you gain success in lots of different areas of life, especially the working environment. Professional business training tends to focus on a lot of systems, processes, methodologies and information but does not focus on body language – building those skills is up to you. Good body language can help you not only build excellent business relationships, but it can help you create them in the first place. It can also help influence those reporting to you, make you work at a much more productive level, promote a closer team relationship and enable you to communicate your ideas and goals effectively.
Here are some easy tips to help you achieve excellent body language in business:
Basic Body Positioning
From being a child we are told to stand up tall, push our shoulders back and lift our heads to look more confident. The rules stay the same into adulthood. To promote power, status and complete confidence we must take up space and height with our body. Standing tall makes us look more powerful and when seated, placing both feet flat on the floor at hip width apart with hands relaxed on the legs makes you take up space and look more confident.
When your toes are facing inward, you are leaning on one leg or your feet are close together, it promotes the idea of hesitancy and being unsure. Stand with feet at hip width apart, feet facing forward or outward and with your core lowered and strong. This will make you look more solid, strong and approachable.
They say just looking up to the sky makes us feel more positive, and putting on a fake smile automatically triggers us to feel happy and actually smile for real. So don’t think that you need to actually be confident to look confident. As well as practising good body language, thinking confident (even if you don’t feel it) will help you embody confidence. Create a confident ‘alter ego’ in your head and embody that ‘character’. Or think about a time when you felt really proud and confident and really focus on how you felt at the time. Those feelings will naturally make you appear more confident on the outside.
You must ensure positive eye contact is part of your everyday life. Whether you’re on a date, business lunch or training course positive eye contact will have an impact on whether or not the occasion is successful. Avoiding eye contact makes you seem untrustworthy, shy, introverted and inferior. Of course you shouldn’t stare at someone, but you should look at them long enough each glance to notice what colour their eyes are.
Gesticulate as you talk to get your thinking going and to emphasise your points.
Make sure you are always open with your body language. Standing with your arms crossed or hiding your hands automatically makes people feel, subconsciously that you have something to hide. Gesture with your palms on show and look to keep your arms around waist height.
Smile Like You Mean It
People prefer smiley people to frowny people, and for really good reasons. People notice a smile and those who smile often are thought to be more likeable and even more competent.
Smiling makes you feel better and tells those around you that you are approachable, likeable and trustworthy. Smiling also makes us more memorable, so simply showing your pearly whites in an interview could give you an advantage over other candidates.
So remember, if you really want to get ahead in any area of business, master body language and use it as a tool for success.