“What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
As a business leader, it is especially crucial to be aware of your body language. Your cues, gestures and tone can have a significant impact on how your clients and team receive you.
Your nonverbal communication actually speaks louder than your words. In fact, a majority of communication is nonverbal! Studies show that 7% of what people “hear” is based on the actual words, while 38% is your tone of voice, and whopping 55% is your body language.
Here are 3 tips to convey energetic, engaged and honest communication with your body language.
Like it or not, people will judge the sincerity of your message on whether or not you maintained eye contact. This can be particularly challenging for us “Auditory” types, but even if you don’t personally value eye contact, keep in mind that a majority of the population can’t trust someone who won’t look them in the eye.
Making focused and intentional eye contact conveys authenticity, trustworthiness and sincerity. It lets people know that you are interested in what they have to say.
A great trick to ensure that you are always practicing quality eye contact is to make it a point to take note of the other person’s eye color.
How you feel affects how you stand… and vice versa!
Think of Superman. Do you think he feels insecure when he puts on that suit and stands tall with his fists on his hips? Does he come across as frantic or scattered? Not a chance.
When on autopilot, if you are feeling negative or apathetic about a person or conversation, you may slump your shoulders and contract your body inward. Whereas, if you feel confident and in control you will stand up tall and straight.
So the trick is, don’t default to autopilot. Let your body tell your brain how you feel, instead of the other way around. Pull your shoulders back and keep your arms and legs relaxed, so your posture is tall, yet open toward the other person. (Pay attention while sitting, too!)
Smile! Seems so simple, right? But I’m willing to bet you don’t smile as often as you think you do.
Don’t believe me? Try taking a video of yourself delivering the same message you would say to your team or your customer. While you might feel as if you’re smiling, watch it back, and you’ll likely find that your mouth muscles aren’t getting the memo.
When you’re intentional about smiling as you address your team, you’ll automatically put them at ease. It will tell those around you that you are approachable, cooperative, and trustworthy, and that you feel the same about them.
And smiling is contagious! When you smile at someone, they almost always smile in return. Since facial expressions trigger a corresponding feeling, the smile you receive in return will actually change the person’s emotional state in a positive way.
So much for such a small nonverbal gesture!
And one more tip…
Stay aware of your body language, even when you’re on the phone. You can hear a smile, and you can also hear tense shoulders.
Be more intentional about your body language, and observe how much more effective your everyday interactions will become.