In fact, how we say something is actually more powerful than what we say. Studies conducted at UCLA indicate that body language accounts for 55 percent of a first impression, 38 percent comes from tone of voice and only seven percent comes from the words you use. Even more critical, the studies indicate that when your words and body language are at odds; people will believe the nonverbal cues.
Considering how important nonverbal communication is you want to be sure that your eye contact, hand gestures and body stance aren’t sending the wrong or contradictory signals, especially when a negotiation or presentation is critical to your small business. Here are six tips that will help you convey the interest, enthusiasm and confidence you want to exude to be successful.
- Stand tall: You display confidence and also convey a greater sense of interest when you stand or sit tall. Don’t slouch. Keep your head up and back straight. If you are seated, sit towards the front of the chair and lean forward slightly; you come across more engaged and enthusiastic.
- Maintain positive eye contact: When you are speaking directly to one person, focus your attention on the individual; although you want to occasionally break eye contact so as not to appear aggressive. If you are addressing a roomful of people, presentation experts recommend you turn your attention to various sections of the room and each time select different people to focus on.
- Watch your arms and legs: Your arms and legs can say a lot about your comfort or lack of it when you’re talking to someone else. When you cross your arms, you appear defensive – especially if your legs are crossed as well — or are closing yourself off from the situation. Hands behind your back suggest that you are angry or possibly bored.
- Smile: Smiling is a powerful facial expression; although you don’t want overdo it. But used the right amount of times throughout a meeting, presentation or conversation; smiles convey interest, enthusiasm and empathy and create a positive environment.
- Let your hands speak: Use your hands to help describe something or give more emphasis to a point you are trying to make. Although you want to avoid using so many hand gestures that they distract from what you are saying. And don’t fidget with your hands or put them in your pockets. Use your hands with confidence.
How aware of your body language are you when talking to someone else?
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