Effective Body Language by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
Our ability to communicate is comprised of many things besides the words we speak and the way we speak them. As most of us are aware, body language plays an extremely important role in how we are perceived by others. Though most of us may have learned the most basic rules of making eye contact and focusing on those we are talking to, there are other simple body language tweaks we can make that help us be more well received by those we seek to influence. Here are three simple tips you can try.
- Take up a bit more space. A wider stance with the legs and an open position with the arms make you appear more confident. We are all aware that standing with arms folded across the chest makes us appear unapproachable, but many of us fail to recognize the difference a wide stance can make. Making your body appear more open makes people more trusting of you and more likely to accept you as an expert in your field. When you shrink away physically, people don’t believe you have as much knowledge to offer.
- Relax those shoulders. Most people carry tension in their shoulders. This tension is more obvious to others than it is to you. Take the time to think about how you’re carrying your shoulders throughout the day, especially in the workplace. You will look more confident as a result of this relaxed posture. The bonus is that you will likely sleep better, and have less muscle tension and pain, as well.
- Gesture. People who use their arms to gesture, and who tend to talk with their hands are perceived as more likeable. When you pair a wider stance and relaxed shoulders with enough gestures to make you likeable, you come across as having the powerful combination of being confident, knowledgeable and likeable.
Our body language habits are well ingrained in our everyday behavior. The first step to changing these habits is to recognize your current body language. Once you have a good handle on the things you may need to change, tackle on of these suggestions at a time. As you begin to hold one posture naturally and without thought, you can move on to adding the next one to your repertoire. You may be amazed at how your inner confidence improves as people begin to see more confidence in your body positions.