Whether it’s improving articulation, learning to speak with a strong, dynamic voice, or modifying an accent, most people are focused on improving their speech for better communication. However, non-verbal communication, or body language, can also have an enormous impact on your ability to connect with others, project confidence, and communicate your message in an engaging, memorable way. In fact, according to studies, up to 93% of communication is non-verbal. Read on and learn how you can use body language to improve your communication and your career:
Make Gestures Work for You: Don’t let your hands just hang idly at you sides while you speak. Use gestures to draw attention to the parts of your message that you really want your listener to focus on. A well-timed gesture will subtly cue your audience to pay particular attention to what you’re saying, emphasize your point, and will make that moment more memorable later on.
Less Is More When Listening: Many people have a habit of fidgeting while listening: playing with jewelry, jiggling a leg, or toying with items on their desk. This can make you seem disinterested or nervous. Subtle, interactive movements, like nodding or leaning forward can be helpful, but in general, you should keep your hands and body relatively still and focus on your conversation partner.
Use Posture to Project Confidence: The way you hold yourself tells your listener a lot about how you perceive yourself and the value of your message. Stand straight with your shoulders held slightly back, and position your head so that your chin is level with the floor. Imagine a string running from your tailbone, through your spine, and through the top of your head, with a gentle force constantly pulling that string upward. Once you’ve found a strong position that feels natural, try to release your muscle tension. Finding that happy medium between conscious effort and relaxation will give you a natural posture which projects confidence and self-assurance.
Smile to Connect with Others: Humans are hardwired to respond to facial expressions in others. Seeing others smile naturally inspires trust and a sense of connection. A sincere smile immediately warms up any conversation; business or personal. There are subtle details that can separate a genuine smile from a forced one, but the best way to ensure a smile looks genuine is for it to be genuine; let go, relax, and try to be open and pleasant in your interactions.
Get Feedback: Since body language is often automatic, you may have trouble recognizing and changing your patterns. Ask a friend or trusted colleague to keep an eye on your body language in the workplace for a day or two. Once you have feedback about your personal patterns from an outside perspective, it can be easier to shape them to project strong, professional communication.
If you are looking to polish your communication skills be sure to pick up a free copy of my e-book “Communicate with Clarity and Confidence!” by subscribing to our newsletter community on our website. For additional information call us at 212-308-7725 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!