Do your colleagues and clients trust you? While being good at what you do is clearly essential in order to succeed professionally, whether people find you trustworthy is also crucial for success. Of course a large part of whether people trust you depends on if you’re actually trustworthy. Keeping your word and respecting others will go a long way towards building strong relationships. But have you ever encountered a person that you just inherently don’t trust? People that fall into that “there’s something about them” category that makes you wary? While it’s often hard to figure out exactly what makes you feel this way, one of the most important factors is body language. Check out these three tips for using body language to inspire trust in others and form stronger professional connections.
- Watch Your Eye Contact: People often believe that when someone is avoiding eye contact, they have something to hide. But using eye contact to build trust goes beyond simply meeting the gaze of your conversation partner. You want your gaze to be direct, but not overly intense. Try to maintain natural eye contact by meeting your partner’s gaze for roughly five seconds at a time, and then momentarily allowing your eyes to shift to the side before immediately returning to your partner’s gaze.
- Keep Your Body Open: When speaking with someone, try to keep your pelvis and torso angled towards them. This makes it appear that you are completely open with nothing to hide. Angling your body away from someone can subconsciously make it appear that you are trying to keep something from them. Crossing your arms or legs or holding an object (like a folder or coffee cup) directly in front of you has a similar effect. If you’re someone who naturally closes off their body when nervous, make a conscious effort to break the habit.
- Use Mirroring to Your Advantage: When two people are comfortable with one another and share a social bond, they often unconsciously mirror each other’s actions by adopting similar postures and gestures as they interact. Subtly mirroring a person’s actions in conversation can make them feel more comfortable with you without realizing why. If they use a certain hand gesture frequently, insert it into your conversation once or twice. If they adopt a certain posture or position, wait a minute or so, and then adopt a similar posture. Your conversation partner will get the subliminal feeling that the two of you are on the same page, so to speak, and that you are someone they can trust.
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