What does your body language say about you?
In business it is not just what you say but how you say it that matters. When preparing for a meeting, a presentation, or a networking event most people will work on what they are going to say, set out the outfit they are going to wear, but rarely do they practice the body language they will use.
Do you know that guy or gal in your industry that isn’t as knowledgeable or capable as you but everyone seems to be drawn to? Drives you crazy right? Knowledge is immensely important but unfortunately it is not everything. Over the long run your expertise will keep your clients coming back but in the initial meeting it is how you present yourself that will catch their interest.
So you know what to say, how to dress, but not how do you impress?
The first step in any endeavor is investigation, start by finding people who impress you and/or those who impress others to begin your study. Now watch, listen, and learn. What facial expressions, hand gestures, body posturing are they using and what messages are they pairing with these gestures?
The second step is emulation, once you have found your research subjects and have studied their body language can you imitate those actions? Practice, practice, practice. Start with a few gestures that you are comfortable with and that you can easily incorporate in your day to day business dealings.
The third step is personalization, you have practiced the proper body language to impart your message, now you need to make it your own. Confidence is key in any business situation if you are not comfortable with your gestures they will not have the desired effect. You want your actions to be fluid, natural, and used appropriately so as not to lose their power.
Janine Driver, also known as the Lyin’ Tamer, coaches individuals on their communication skills for a living and she teaches that small changes in body language can make a big difference. She has been on most of the major news and business shows, but on Donny Deutch’s: The Big Idea she picked out a few famous people and gestures that are powerful communicators.
- Donald Trump – The steeple, hands in a steeple position exhibits power.
- George Clooney – Superman pose, demonstrates openness and confidence.
- Angelina Jolie – Hands behind the back, is exposed but a sign of strength.
- Brad Pitt – Hand in the pocket, need thumb exposed to avoid weakness
- Strong handshake is confident and strong
- Open up throat, belly button, and naughty bits shows confidence and strength
- Take up space in your chair own the area
- Women do not cross legs creating a block between you and everyone else
- Open hands, beggar pose creating openness and trust
- Pulling hands towards body bringing needs and wants in, you deserve it.
In business you are not just selling a business or product you are selling you. Take the time to make sure your body language is sending the right message, if done properly your body can do some of the talking so your mouth doesn’t have to.