When I was starting out in my career, I used to rush through the halls with my head down and stayed completely focused on my tasks. When someone would stop at my office door, I would respond with a quick glance over my shoulder, or without moving my eyes from my computer. I thought I was being efficient; I thought I was demonstrating that I was a focused hard worker…I was wrong on both accounts.
Much to my surprise, my colleagues provided feedback that I was unapproachable and standoffish. I was shocked! I thought I was just staying focused and providing a positive example. Those close to me knew I was nice and a team player. But my non-verbal communications were telling most of my peers that they were unimportant, which was the last thing I wanted to communicate. Since then, I’ve changed my body language to be more open and inviting. And you know what? I am much more productive.
After I made some changes, my office relationships got much stronger, I felt closer to the team and I received several promotions. What I’ve learned is that over 80% of what we communicate is done through our body language. So when our verbal and non-verbal messages are in conflict, it throws our audience off and they will always believe our body language over our words.
What does this mean for you? It means you could be self-sabotaging yourself without even knowing it, just as I was. Not to worry, it’s happened to the best of us. All it takes is a little body-awareness to get your body language in-sync with your verbal communications. Here are some illustrations to show the difference between good and bad non-verbal communications.
Which person would you want to work with?
I hope you said the smiling lady. The man’s body language is communicating that he’s stressed out and unapproachable, whereas the woman is smiling and approachable. When we’re at our desks, it’s import to keep good posture, relax our jaw and smile. Smiling relieves stress and helps you think more clearly. This will make you feel better and you’ll be more inviting to co-workers and leadership.
Who would you rather talk with?
The man who is smiling on the phone appears to be more open and easier to work with. Believe it or not, people can feel your body language over the phone.
Now that you’ve got the swing of this, here are some tried and true tips for showing good body language.
- Smile – Smiling is contagious. When you smile, it makes others feel at ease and you’ll seem much more approachable. Plus, it makes others smile back and creates better rapport.
- Make Eye Contact/Keep Your Eyes Level – Looking up or down communicates that you don’t want to talk with others. It makes you appear standoffish. Making eye contact communicates that you’re open and inviting.
- Stand Straight – When you stand up strait with your shoulders back and your head held high, you are telling the world that you are a confident individual – and this is one of the main components of executive presence. Slouching communicates insecurity and a host of other messages that you DON’T want to be sending.
Great body language and facial expressions is the key ingredient to having Executive Presence and may be the difference between getting the job, winning a client or securing a high-level promotion.
To get more tips for using your body to effectively communicate, download our “10 Essential Body Language Tips” – following these guidelines will help you communicate that you’re poised and confident. Click here for a free download.
If you are serious about wanting to up your game and communicate more powerfully, we invite you to attend Powerful Presence, our 3-Day Intensive Workshop where you will join other high-level executives, business owners and professionals to learn how to leverage your personal talents in order to create an amazing and Powerful Executive Presence.