Mae West famously once said, “I speak two languages: Body and English.” What she was talking about, that our body language says just as much as what we are actually saying, has been proven true by endless studies. Our nonverbals do play a big part in how we are perceived by others and this can truly help or hinder you and your career. The importance of body language has become a popular topic for leadership and career articles leading to millions of tips and tricks to improve your body language, but sometimes all it takes it going back to the basics.
Smile – For centuries communication gurus have gone on and on about the importance of smiling when meeting new people. But in today’s world the quick smile doesn’t work anymore. Researchers have recorded dozens of different types of smiles so which smile packs the best punch for your career? It’s what Leil Lowndess author of How To Talk to Anyone would call the flooding smile. To master the flooding smile don’t immediately flash a smile when you greet someone as if it’s automatic, but instead wait a half a second and then let your smile flood across your face.
Eye Contact – Everyone knows that the eyes are the windows to your soul, so to improve your nonverbal communication maintain eye contact with the person you’re talking to. Studies have shown that people who look away during conversations tend to come off as suspicious or insecure. By keeping your eyes glued to your conversation partner, not in an overly creepy way, you will give the impression of being an intelligent and abstract thinker. It also shows that you are interested in the person you’re talking to and gives them more positive feelings towards you.
Posture – Just like your smile and eye contact, how you stand can communicate a lot about you to others. Good posture lets others know that you are confident in yourself and what you have to say. The best way to start practicing good posture so that it turns into a habit is to walk through every doorway like you just won the Superbowl, an Academy Award, whatever you want. Winners walk with their shoulders back, standing up straight with their chins held high. This posture will let people know that you are a force to be reckoned with!