5 Tips: How to Ensure Your Body Language is Creating a Positive Image
by Kay Hunter
Silent signals¦Understanding and using body language is a very useful skill in any business or social situation. Studies show that your actions speak much louder than your words. Words alone may not secure the truth or true feelings in any given conversation. Our bodies do not know how to lie.
1. Eye Contact – Your ability to make direct eye contact is critical to your professional and personal success. When you are meeting someone and shaking hands, eye contact should be maintained throughout the entire shake. You should know the color of their eyes when you are finished. At this point, your eyes should glance away for a moment. Staring someone down without ever moving your eyes will make people uncomfortable!
2. Facial Expressions – A warm smile invites conversation and openness. The key is the smile must be sincere, people can read a fake smile a mile away. When you want to show you are interested and listening, smile and nod your head up and down. Keep your hands away from your face when you speaking, because this gives the impression that you are unsure or lying!
3. Handshakes – The handshake is the focal point of the American greeting ritual, and it often determines the comfort level and success of an entire meeting. Start with direct eye contact, then initiate the shake (gender is not a consideration). This demonstrates confidence, professionalism and gracious behavior. Meet the person’s grip web to web and palm to palm. The shake should not be a bone crusher or wimp out with the two-knuckle finger wiggle (the kind of handshake that only includes half the hand). If you suffer from sweaty palms, blot your hand before shaking.
4. Body Posture – Stand with your weight equally distributed on both feet. This will eliminate the appearance of being bored or fatigued. When you lean, you lose 95% of your presence or authority. Proper posture communicates self-esteem – stand tall to portray confidence. Lean forward slightly to communicate interest, a bit further forward if you want to express pressure.
5. Gestures – Use “open” gestures, (i.e. hands at your sides vs. crossed over your chest) these will put your listeners at ease; you will appear open, honest and ready to listen. Avoid gestures that are distracting (i.e. clearing your throat, sniffing, playing with items in your pockets, touching your hair). These gestures communicate that you are uncomfortable, anxious or bored.
Are your Business Etiquette skills getting you ahead of the competition? Are you comfortable that you know how to conduct a proper introduction, or exchange a business card properly? Call now and sign up for a personal Business Etiquette session – 1 1/2 hrs.
Kay Hunter is a personal image coach and corporate trainer, specializing in complete makeovers, business and dining etiquette, and is the president of Imagine¦The Possibilities in Tustin. She has transformed hundreds of clients into more successful and confident professionals. Kay can be contacted at (714) 665-8866, firstname.lastname@example.org,www.kayhunter.info.