During a negation or interview, most people concentrate on what they should and shouldn’t say. Business correspondence or essay writing also need constant improvement when you want to succeed. However, what you might be surprised to learn is that up to 55% of messages are conveyed via non-verbal communication. This means improving nonverbal communication not only makes you aware of what you might have been doing wrong, but it gives you an advantage over people who are ignorant to the power of body language. The subtle changes in how your body is positioned and moves can have a big effect on how the other person perceives you.
Furthermore, people are more likely to retain the information you’ve shared if it’s done via body language rather than verbal means. Therefore, if you want to stick out at an interview, or impress at a business presentation, then using body language to your advantage is a no-brainer. Here are a few of the top tips on how you can accomplish that:
Have a solid handshake
A handshake gives a first impression with the person you’re meeting. It might say that you are feeling tired, energetic or not enthusiastic. The University of Chicago completed a study where they concluded that a handshake has the power to promote honesty, induce a sense of comfort and even lead to more cooperation from the other party during negotiations.
We all have our own unique handshake style, but being aware of what it is allows you to change it so you convey the intended effect on the recipient.
Friendly eye contact
The ability to get good rapport and impose a sense of friendliness with a person you have just met involves eye contact. It’s hard to trust someone when you can’t even maintain eye contact, it might say that you’re trying to hide something.
Eye contact takes practice if you’re not used to it, and it can feel weird having to look someone in the eyes if it doesn’t come naturally to you. However, practice this aspect of body language and you’ll find that overall communication will become easier.
By looking into the eyes of the other person you’ll also get more feedback in terms of how they are responding to you. You’ll get a better sense of if they are engaged, bored or confused about something you’ve said. Not looking into the eyes means you might miss this key information which means you won’t be able to adapt correctly.
However, as with anything, a balance is required for the best effect. Too much eye contact can come across as weird or just aggressive. During an interview or presentation, this would be fatal, potentially reducing your chances of landing that job or impressing the audience.
Keep your limbs calm
Conveying a sense of calmness and confidence is also done by what you’re doing with your limbs as you’re speaking. For example, fidgeting with your hands is a classical sign of being nervous. Not something you want to convey when trying to give an authoritative speech for example.
It’s estimated that attitudes can be conveyed non-verbally 12.5 more effectively than using verbal means. Therefore, you have to be very conscious of what you’re doing with your body. For example, when hands or legs are crossed then it conveys that you are shut off and not really engaged in what is going on.
There are many little details to be aware of when it comes to what you’re limbs are doing. Just be aware and try to put yourself in the shoes of the other person. How do you think they are perceiving you? Try to adjust accordingly so that you get the effect you want.
The space you occupy is an important part of body language. In certain cultures around the world when you get too close it is perceived as bad manners leading to them feeling uncomfortable. You need to see what their body language is like to determine if you are too far, too close or at the right distance.
Think about it from your point of view. Would you like it if a person got too close to you? You might think that this person was being too aggressive, or just didn’t have respect for your personal space.
Taking the various tips into account in this article will enable you to get a better sense of what your nonverbal communication is actually saying. Being aware of the different factors is half the battle. Then you have to understand what must be done to convey the desired effect on the recipient.
With practice, you should be able to improve your interview skills, presentation skills or any other skill that involves a good dose of body language. It’s a skill that’s relevant to all segments of a person’s life so mastering it is a good investment of your time.