10 Body language tips for increasing your success
Have you ever stopped to consider what your body language is saying to people? Well, perhaps you should, because some experts estimate that some 60% to 90% of what we communicate to other people comes across, not in our words, but in our facial expressions, hand gestures and our posture. That means that body language has a huge part to play in everything that we do and in our prospects at work or in business. Research has shown that body language can even account for a person getting a promotion over someone who is actually better qualified for the job, so read these tips on how you can use body language to increase your chances of success.
1. Make eye contact
If you want to let people know that you are paying attention to what they are saying then you have to look them in the eye. Don’t look around the room, out the window, or at your phone, or they will think you are being disrespectful, or that you are just plain bored. Nod occasionally during the conversation as well, that confirms that you understand what is being said.
2. Don’t fidget
When you are talking, or giving a presentation, don’t fidget and squirm around, because that will give the impression that you are nervous, or that you have something to hide. Sit up straight and keep still. Don’t put your hand up to your face either, because that is also a sign that a person could be lying.
3. Mirror body language
If you mirror another person’s body language, then that shows that you are of the same mind. Keep an eye on how the other person is sitting and positioning themselves, and copy that position and posture. You don’t want to go too far with this, though, or it will look like you are mimicking the other person.
4. Get the handshake right
Your handshake can say so much about you and a person could make a judgement about you based on that alone, so it would be well worth your while thinking about what your handshake is saying about you. A weak, limp handshake will suggest that you have no drive and that you lack confidence. A bone crushing handshake, on the other hand, will make you look like you have an overly domineering personality.
5. Keep your palms face down
If you watch the politicians on TV, who will have been trained in body language, you will notice that they place their hands palms down on a podium when they give a speech. This is because having your hands, palms down, projects the image of a person who is in a position of authority and who is reliable.
6. Boost your confidence with a power-pose
If you want to appear, and feel, more confident, then try adopting a power-pose. Researchers at Harvard Business school found that standing up straight with your legs apart, or sitting back in your chair with your feet on the desk and your hands clasped behind your neck, boosts the feeling of dominance and power. If you adopt a power-pose for a couple of minutes before you walk into a meeting, you will feel far more confident when you speak.
7. Use a subtle smile
Smiles and laughter should be used carefully, because a big, permanent, grin on your face will make you look foolish, while constant laughter can make you appear to be frivolous, and it is annoying. If you laugh and smile genuinely, though, that will make you come across as being warm and friendly.
8. Think about how you position your feet
When you turn to talk to someone, turn your whole body around and point your feet towards them as well. If your feet are pointing away from the person you are talking to, that tells them that you don’t really want to talk to them at all. Even worse than that, if your feet are pointing toward the door, then that is telling the other person that you are ready to leave.
9. Avoid creating barriers
If you create barriers between you and other people, then they will switch off to what you are saying. Slouching and crossing your arms in front of you dissuades people from being open with you, so adopt a relaxed, open posture and that will invite more interaction.
10. Be aware of cultural differences
If you travel abroad, or if you have meetings with visitors from overseas, it would be a good idea to check online if there are any major differences in culture and etiquette. In some countries, for example, it is an insult to offer your left hand to shake, because that is the hand that it is assumed that you use to clean yourself with in the bathroom.