Good communication ability is an essential soft skill for any entrepreneur.
Charismatic conversationalists are adept at maintaining the flow of discussion and keeping their audience engaged. No dead air, awkward interjections, and unsure sentences. But the power of communication lies not only in the ability to make good conversation. An oft-overlooked factor is body language, which speaks volumes about the kind of person you are, in addition to your speaking skills.
The Power in Power Posing
You may have heard of the term “power posing,” a buzzword used in the field of body language. It is a technique in which an individual uses a bigger, expansive stance that takes up more space. The Association for Psychological Science reports that this practice gives a person more confidence in themselves.
Hormonal changes have not been conclusively proven, however. But the point remains: posing in a manner that one associates with power and strength positively affects behavior and mood. The psychological experience of power is linked to how a person postures themselves. In simple terms, standing tall makes one feel and act taller.
Five Body Language Tips and Tricks
1. Maintain eye contact.
Eye contact does not only signal that you are an attentive, focused leader. It is also a simple show of respect to your peers. Making eye contact with your team during meetings helps is a simple and effective way to build trust. On occasions where it is a struggle, a helpful alternative to eye contact is to imagine an inverted triangle on the other person’s face. Move your eyes from one point of the triangle to another every five to 10 seconds.
2. Mind your hands.
Fidgeting with a pen reveals nerves. Crossing your arms or using your phone during a conversation expresses disinterest. Hands that make minimal, open motions towards the audience denote trustworthiness.
3. Keep your chin up.
Let your presence exude confidence by standing and walking with your chin up. This commands attention and respect even before you say a word. For many, it helps to pretend that the crown of their head is being pulled upwards. It may also help to practice walking at home with a book placed on your head.
4. Stand straight.
Just like keeping your chin up, standing straight lets you look authoritative and respectable. This allows you to appear responsive and welcoming. Slouching gives the idea that a person is timid or has little to offer. Whether you are seated or standing, keep your back straight.
5. Switch between open and closed postures.
Your posture towards another person gives cues to your interest. Knowing when to close or open your body language will help you better connect with your audience. Open body language is simply being receptive to the person you are speaking with. A person who is “open” usually has their torso leaned towards the other, feet pointed toward them. This may also be exhibited by gesturing with palms open when one is speaking.
Closed posture, on the other hand, appears more reserved and. This is often observed when a person crosses their arms or stands in a “fig leaf” position. Too much of this and you will appear rude and disinterested. As an example of balance, when meeting with a potential client, one must be engaged in the discussion without being over-eager. Other situations will require more looseness, such as when addressing subordinates at a company celebration. In any situation, proper balance lies in the ability to read the room.
A Surprising Benefit of Standing Tall
Good body language will not only make you look and feel more capable. It will also prevent many health complications caused by poor posture. There are occasions when you may already be experiencing physical issues, or need medical advice on how to take care of your body better. It is always a good idea to visit an expert for a consultation.
Chiropractors can help not only by correcting poor posture, but also by treating aches related to it. These are more common than you may think. Medical practitioners can provide much-needed care like joint and TMJ adjustment, and kyphosis or “hunchback” relief.
Need Extra Help? Consider Taking Classes
Mastering the art of body language is not an automatic process. Like any skill, it takes time and effort to grasp fully. Don’t hesitate to take social etiquette classes to improve your business communication skills. These may prove to be beneficial for your career growth.
The key to success is to practice confident body language daily. After all, playing the part is a crucial step in becoming the part.