Building relationships in business is a matter of becoming more visible and attracting more people who recognize your expertise. In the process, body language projects confidence, builds better rapport, and helps you to be seen as more trustworthy.
You may think that what you say is all that matters. But it has been estimated that communication is dependent as much as 55-80% on non-verbal clues. This means that successfully influencing others has everything to do with body language.
What signals are you sending? Have you been stymied by unsatisfactory responses in your networking or negotiating? Could it be that you are relaying body language that confuses your messages, puts people off, or suggests your anxiety or perhaps even your insincerity?
Body language speaks its own vocabulary and manifests in manifold ways. An understanding of non-verbal communications will help you shape your conversations and speeches to gain the effect you seek. It will also help you perceive more readily the truth of what others are saying: whether they are lying, anxious, fearful, or otherwise contradicting with their words what they are actually experiencing.
It starts with the eyes…One of the first considerations in body-language is the eyes. Where do you focus your eyes when speaking to someone? Experts suggest somewhere between 30 and 70% of the time you should look directly at the other person. Less than that and you’ll fail to make a connection; more than 70% and you’ll begin to make the other person feel uncomfortable and less trusting. While I encourage you to read up on non-verbal communications and even enlist the help of an expert to improve your own body language, here are a few tips here to get you started. Anyone can benefit from paying attention to these pointers:
1) Handshake: A handshake should be a connecting action, not a competition. Match the energy of the other person when shaking hands, applying equal pressure and tension.
2) Thoughts: You affect your body language directly through the thoughts you generate. When meeting someone, shake their hand and project a positive thought towards them. You’ll be amazed how this breaks the ice, puts others at ease, and allows them to hear you more readily.
3) Eyes: While many of us find it easy to maintain eye contact during a conversation when we’re listening, it’s natural for us to look away when we’re speaking. However, if we want to appear more trustworthy, we’ll fight that urge and maintain eye contact.
4) Head and hands: A confident speaker has resolved the difficult question: what do I do with my hands? Some people may use a pencil as a prop, or a book, or cup of coffee. Eventually, you want to learn to control the energy of your hands so you can forget about them
5) Feet: Keep your feet slightly spaced apart when speaking, to increase your confidence.
For an in-depth discussion about body language, please listen to my recent talk with Dr. G. Jack Brown, body language expert and physician. Who better to learn about eye contact, etc. than an eye surgeon?!?
© 2012, Liz Lynch International LLCWANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR NEWSLETTER, BLOG OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: “Liz Lynch, author of Smart Networking: Attract a Following In Person and Online, shows accomplished business professionals how to connect to the right people and attract the opportunities they deserve. To become a more visible leader in your organization or industry, visit www.LizLynchOnline.com.”