Up to 93% of our daily communication is non-verbal, this is why some people have so much trouble communicating effectively with the written word. When writing the reader misses out on so many hints as to what the person means when they cannot see the body language. Conversely, you can also hide a lot of things from the reader when body language isn’t an issue, such as fear or nerves.
If so much of how we communicate is non-verbal it therefore makes perfect sense to learn as much about body language and how it affects others so they you have more control over it, enabling you to better send the signals you want to send to others. If you can be aware of what your own body is doing and what messages it’s sending others, you can gain control not only over your own body, but you’ll also gain control over any meetings you attend, and people will automatically gravitate towards you, believe and trust you.
One word of warning, while researching this article I came across an interesting comment, it related to deaf people who have almost no verbal communication and rely almost solely on body language, it’s almost impossible to lie to these people as they are so attuned to what others are thinking with their bodies.
Moving on, let’s share a few body language tips.
Almost all of us have habits we’re not necessarily aware of, such as wiggling a foot, tapping a pen, brushing our hands through our hair, playing with a phone, etc. and it’s a good idea to break these and learn other coping mechanisms when you’re at meetings. These habits can bother others, distract them and send the wrong message. If you need to do anything it’s okay to stretch, put your hands behind you hear, adjust your stance but avoid repetitive motions.
Wear Clothes That Makes You Feel Confident
It may seem silly, but what you wear sends a huge message to others, it tells people that you feel good about yourself, what you do, and that you are professional. Dress for the part you want to play, not the part you have. Consider who your audience is and who you need to impress and what sort of clothing would work for them. Dress to feel good about yourself and to ensure you don’t feel out of place, because if you do feel out of place it will show in your demeanor.
Smile and Look at People
One of the best things you can do to send the right signals to others is to look at them and smile, people respond well to an open person who is comfortable enough to look at the people they are talking to, and smile. You shouldn’t be a grinning fool so practice if you need to, so that it looks natural and you’re at ease doing it, the effort will more than pay off.
Look As If You’re Listening
Truly, an often overlooked skill is the ability to listen to others. But, you also need to give your audience the feeling that you’re listening. You can do this via body language such as smiling, shaking your head, making the appropriate emotions with your mouth and also repeating back to them what you think they said in your own words.
Keep Your Hands Waist Level
Be aware if you’re doing things with your arms and legs to block your listener’s view. If you’re having meetings over coffee or drinks, for instance, avoid putting the coffee between you and your guest. Avoid continuously lifting the coffee to block the view of your guest when you are talking or they are talking.
Learn about body language and how an open posture sends a message of openness and how a closed posture can send the opposite message. There are times where you may want to use either to put people at ease or to cut them off without saying a word. There is power in understanding body language and how it affects your communication with others.