Our Bodies Talk by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
Body language is one of our most important forms of communication. Most people are more attuned to the body language of others than they realize. The way we move and the expressions we make send subtle clues to others. We don’t realize the message we’re sending, and the recipient may not consciously recognize the message either, yet they may form opinions and determine whether or not they like and trust you based on those subtle and unconscious clues.
For this reason, it is important to monitor our body language to ensure that we are sending positive messages with our bodies. Simple techniques like always looking people in the eye and standing in an open rather than closed position are simple ways to ensure people feel comfortable with you and inherently trust you.
It is critical that what we say with our bodies is in congruence with the words we speak. For example, telling someone, we are happy to see them while looking down at the floor is pretty unconvincing. While most of our body language clues are not so overt, they do send clues nonetheless.
If you want people to feel comfortable with you, these simple body language tips can help you exude confidence and trustworthiness.
- Smile. Practice smiling until it becomes natural for you to smile at everyone. Often we don’t even realize that we look glum, but other people definitely notice.
- Use good posture. Whether you’re sitting or standing, keep your back straight and your head up.
- Use open body positions. Avoid sitting or standing with your arms crossed in front of you. Keep your torso open to those who face you.
- Be engaging. Look people in the eye, smile and nod when you’re having a conversation. Mirror the gestures of the other person. Mirroring sends a powerful message that you are interested in what is being said to you.
- Don’t fidget. Fidgeting sends a signal to the other person that you are bored or anxious. Often the subtle clue that others will receive is that you are bored with them. If you have a habit of tapping your fingers or some other repetitive movement, work on ridding yourself of it, or at least learning how to stop it when you are talking with others.
These simple tricks, along with paying more attention to how you approach people nonverbally can help you feel more comfortable with other people, and ensure they feel comfortable with you. In business, this skill is one that will help you engage with employees, colleagues, and customers.