In business, the way you communicate can enhance or impair your interactions, relationships and further opportunities in your company. Your body language, the unspoken language you portray in conversation, can make or break your business future. For this reason, it is imperative that you understand the effect and influence your body language has on your business interactions. Here are 4 areas of body language that, if mastered, can influence your business communications for the better.
- Eye contact
Eye contact is the first level of connection that you share with another person. It happens before you even say a word. It is an unambiguous guage for expressing attentiveness, confidence, and sincerity. If you struggle to make eye contact with a person when you engage in conversation, you are putting your interaction at risk of not being taken seriously, or having your intentions misinterpreted. Looking someone in the eye as you meet and talk with them shows you are paying attention. Listening is the most important human relations skill, and good eye contact plays a large part in conveying your interest in others.
- Facial expressions
Facial expressions are critical to competent communication, and you need to hold your face accountable when engaging in a business interaction. For example, do you frown when you shouldn’t? Or, do you open your eyes wider when you disagree with something that is being said? No matter what you say, you’ll lose credibility if your face tells another story.
Your posture says a lot about who you are and whether you should be taken seriously. If you mean business, stand tall (shoulders back, stomach in, chest out, head up and spine erect) to communicate confidence and professionalism. Even while sitting, make sure your posture conveys the right message about your business mindset. Slouching and holding your head in your hands communicates a very different message than sitting upright with your head held high.
Gestures are an extension of communication that enhance verbal communication. They add impact to what you are saying by showing, not just telling. This adds a layer of engagement and allows your body to inspire a visceral reaction in the listener. For example, hand-to-face movements such as holding the chin or scratching the face shows concern or lack of conviction. If you cover your mouth while engaging in conversation, you may not be taken seriously, or even believed!
Elevate your business interactions by being mindful of your body language, it can be practised so watch other people and take notice of yourself and before long you will be mastering your personal body language.
I personally can’t stand a person dragging their feet slowly as they walk, in fact I won’t hire a person who moves like this as I tells me a lot about the person. What is your body language saying about you?