Improve Your Body Language
Research shows that 60 to 90 percent of our communication is nonverbal, which means the body language we use is extremely important.
This illustrates that the way we say things has more power than what we actually say.
Why is body language so important? Body language may define the way people see you.
In addition, it's especially important to make a good first impression. Why? Because within the first few minutes of meeting someone, we are already making decisions about what the other person's intentions are, and whether or not the person is credible and someone we want to associate with.
Therefore, the way you present yourself - especially the way you communicate nonverbally in those first few crucial minutes after meeting someone new, could make or break what could potentially be a very important relationship.
Here are a few ways you can improve your body language when you communicating (or at least things to pay attention to).
1. Begin with your posture; back straight but not rigid. Also remember to relax your jaw and shoulders so you don't look too uptight.
2. Align your body with the person you're talking to; this shows you're engaged.
3. Keep your legs slightly apart instead of crossed; this demonstrates that you're relaxed. Research also shows that you retain more information when you keep your legs uncrossed.
4. Lean in a bit; this shows focus and that you really are listening.
5. Mirror the body language you are observing, showing you are in agreement and that you like; or are sincerely trying to like; the person you are with.
6. Let people have their personal space, don't invade it.
Positive arms and hands
1. When you are listening, try to keep your arms relaxed at your sides, showing you are open to what someone else is communicating.
2. Use your hands to gesture when you speak; this can improve your credibility with the listener. In addition, there is evidence that gesturing with your hands while speaking improves your thinking processes. (I'm a huge hand waver when it comes to talking; there's a lot going on in my head and a great deal to share).
3. Put your phone down. Obviously there are circumstance where you can check your phone but be mindful of the situation when you pick it up.
1. With appropriate nods and genuine smiles, you are showing the speaker that you understand, agree, and are listening to their opinions.
Most people do not realize that their “neutral” face is more of a scowl, which is an obvious turn-off. You do not need to be beaming from ear to ear 24/7; however, it is a good idea to remind yourself to turn up the corners of your mouth a bit.
2. Laughter is always a great way to lighten the mood when used appropriately, and once again, it shows you're listening.
3. Unless you are checking out the new carpeting or someone’s sparkly shoes, your eyes should be close to each others’ eye level. Try to maintain a balance between staring into a person’s soul and appearing to not pay attention.
4. Mirror the other person's facial expressions, because once again, this demonstrates that you are in agreement with the other person.
5. Don't rush. Monitor your voice. Take a deep breath and speak slowly and clearly.
The little extras
1. Be open with your emotions. Let yourself be vulnerable by wearing your emotions on your face.
2. Keep a positive, open and relaxed attitude. How you feel will come through in your body language and can make a major difference.
Not all of these are for all of us and true communication and authentic connection comes from wanting to connect and actually being interested; humans can read each other more than we think and when we are not faking it, a true bond can be formed.
Start by paying attention to those small subtle things and think about the experience of meeting yourself for the first time, what is it like to communicate with you? Be honest.
I hope you found this piece useful. Be sure to share it with your friends; let’s help others gain more awareness about their body language and work towards a more connective, inclusive, society.