Your hand and facial gestures and the way you sit and stand say more about you at any given time than they words you speak. In fact, according to studies, your body movements account for 55 percent of your communication, while 38 percent of what you have to say comes from you voice, tone, pauses, etc., and only 7 percent is comprised of the words out of your mouth.
Your body language or nonverbal communication is the single most powerful form of communication. When you’re nervous or uneasy, your body language becomes more pronounced. In today’s global, competitive market, making a positive first impression is increasingly important when trying to gain business.
Think about it. How many times have you watched a sales pitch where the presenter displays poor body language? Rather, than listening to what he has to say, you’re focused on his swaying, his poor posture or his “ums and uhs.” He doesn’t make a good impression and you lose interest.
Now take the presenter who stands tall, uses hand gestures effectively, modulates his voice and makes eye contact. You’re engaged in his talk, you’re listening. He’s captured your attention.
Understanding body language to improve your personal impact takes practice. The first step is recognizing the power of good nonverbal communication. You should strive to match your techniques with your authentic behavior. After all, it’s about showing approachability, warmth and genuineness. Mastering positive body language will not only help you become more confident and poised, it will help you gain business success – hands down.
Follow these five body language techniques to enhance your professional presence.
- Stand/sit straight. Keep a relaxed posture whether you’re sitting or standing. Keep your back straight but not stiff and relax your shoulders. This “communicates” you’re comfortable with your surroundings.
- Maintain eye contact. Keep your head up and look the person in the eyes when talking or when they’re talking to you. Hold the gaze for three seconds, anything longer can make the person you’re talking to feel uncomfortable. Maintaining eye contact shows you’re engaged and interested in them and the conversation.
- Use hand gestures. Talking with your hands is an easy way to incorporate gestures into your conversation, just don’t flail them around. Try steepling or talking with your palms up. Emphasizing words with your hands, helps you appear more confident, congenial and credible.
- Use facial movements. Thrust your chin upward slightly, nod, smile. These simple gestures reflect empathy and shows you’re in agreement and you can identify with their situation. Use laughter when appropriate to create a sense of comfort and happiness.
- Slow down your speech. The average speed of talking is 140 per minute. Talking faster can be like a caffeine jolt to listeners. By slowing your speech, you’ll appear more confident and thoughtful – and it helps calm the nerves.
Your technical skills alone don’t guarantee success. Developing your soft skills is the most valuable investment you can make. There is no other investment that creates a greater return. Contact Polished today to get started.