Did you know that most of the communication you do is non-verbal. With only 7% of communication being based on words, it has become critical to master the non-verbal aspect of communication. Non-verbal communication or body language looks at what impression are you sharing. Many times this is also done unknowingly. Here are some points to consider.
Ensure your verbal and non-verbal messages match
You do this by ensuring that your facial expressions and words are sending the same message. An example would be if you said “that is a great idea”, but you roll your eyes and cross your arms. Even though your words are positive your body language is negative and you will be sending mixed signals to your client, investor or colleague.
Have good posture
Stand tall, with your shoulders back and relaxed. Make sure your feet are slightly apart and let your chest stick out a little bit. By have this stance your body will release a chemical in your brain which will make you feel more confident and strong. When people slouch or slump their shoulders, it is because they may be tired or disinterested.
Be cultural conscious
Body language differs between cultures. It is important to research what body language is used in the culture which you intend on doing business with. This will prevent you from doing an action which may sink your deal.
Keep positive eye contact
In some cultures, it is considered rude to maintain eye contact with your superior for extend amounts of time. If you are doing business with people from America, Europe or Australia they will expect you to maintain eye contact for at least 50 – 60% of the time. A tip for maintaining eye contact with a business colleague is to look at them for long enough to notice what their eye color is. Do not look at the ground as this may send a signal that you are shy.
Know the handshake
A person’s character can be shown through how they shake your hand. It is important that you do not squeeze someone’s hand too hard as you may come across as a bully. If you shake someone’s hand too weakly you will be considered fragile. The best advice is to ensure that your palm meets up with the palm of the person whose hand you are shaking. Ensure that you apply the same pressure to their hand as they do to yours. This will give credibility and will lay the groundwork to your conversation.
Be careful where you place objects
Make sure that you do not place an object between you and the person you are talking to as this will show resistance and shyness. Try to position the objects to the side of you if you can.
Be aware of your hand gestures
When we fidget with our hands, play with our jewelry or drum our fingers on the desk we are robbing ourselves of credibility. People may even think that we are disinterested in what they have to say. Ensure that you have open palms which show someone that you have nothing to hide. Do not use overt hand gestures but small gestures help to substantiate your point. You could also use steepling when talking. This is when you put the forefingers together and the palms are apart. This hand gesture tells people that you are certain about a point and you convey an air of conviction and sincerity about what you are saying.
By reviewing these body language points, you will be well on your way to speaking the unheard language of success.
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