As if there wasn’t enough to keep you occupied as a business leader – research shows that people will make eleven crucial judgements about you within a mere seven seconds. Within those eleven seconds, you may not even have opened your mouth to speak – so your body language is largely responsible for the first impression you make on someone.
Further, using the right body language is important to a business leader – from interacting with your employees and clients to securing business finance, there are any number of reasons for business leaders to learn the secrets of body language. We’ll look at some of the most important of these below.
Interpreting Body Language – Body language, much like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Using body language effectively means altering certain mannerisms in your actions and speech so that the person you are talking with gets a specific set of impressions about you. In this way, you can appear commanding to your employees and trustworthy to your financier and clients.
Good Posture – When you slouch, or converse while looking at the floor rather than with comfortable eye contact – you’re telling the other person you’re insecure. Bad posture is associated with insecurity, and by extension lack of ability. The right way to speak with any stakeholder is to make yourself as tall as possible, and keep your legs slightly apart. Keep your posture nice and firm whether you’re conversing while standing or sitting down. In the body language world, making the right eye contact and standing in a tall, face-on way is known as open posture. Something all good business leaders should employ.
Eye Contact – Perhaps one of the trickier body language tips to get right, you need to share just the right degree of eye contact. Too little and you’ll be seen as insecure, while too much eye contact comes over as ever so slightly creepy. The right amount of eye contact will help establish a stronger connection with the person you’re speaking with. When talking to a group, distribute your eye contact as evenly as possible to engage everyone.
Smile – It’s probably the most powerful weapon in your body language toolbox. Smiling just the right amount, in the right situations can get wonderful results. Smiling can help diffuse a tense situation, turn a potential client into an actual one and can even get that little bit extra from your staff. Smiling makes you appear human, friendly and approachable. Key if you want to help build good professional relationships.
Hand Gestures & Facial Expressions – The expressions on your face, and the way your arms gesticulate can often reveal a lot about your true motives and feelings. While sitting in a crucial meeting all poker faced with your hands behind your back is not the solution, being aware of your facial and hand expressions is. Ensure your words match your expressions at all times.
Tone Of Voice – To appear in control of any situation, keep the tone of your voice level and at just the right volume. No shouting, and no squeaking. You can naturally alter your tone to fit any scenario, but the key trick is to always be in control.
How To Spot A Liar – Body language can emit potential lie signals. These include touching of the face or hands, crossed arms and leaning away from a person.
Mirror Body Language – This is a little trick that can help put your conversation partner more at ease. It involves simply mirroring the other persons body language – including their voice. This means you can take a posture slightly more in tune with theirs, and use the same level of energy that they are communicating with.