Body Language Speaks Louder Than Words. What Are You Saying?
I met Steven for the first time. He sat across the table, arms crossed, eyes unblinking. Was he mad? Did he not want to be there? Was he shy or afraid? Was he tired? Or, was he making a power play? My mind raced to figure Steven out and I found I was focused on his posture rather than the topic at hand.
There are many ways to deliver messages, communicate thoughts and share ideas. Although most people believe they can take in information at face value, improper verbal and nonverbal communication can have a damaging effect on what could have been a solid idea. Because body language is motivated by action rather than words, it plays a significant role in being a great employee. 90% of communication is nonverbal, so even if you are not aware of your body language, your colleagues are. Here are some ways to improve the way you communicate:
If you are confident in what you are communicating, your colleagues will be as well. Research shows that even standing in an expansive “high-power pose” for as little as two minutes stimulates higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of stress hormones. So stand tall, push your shoulders back, and keep your head held high to exude power and nonverbally display assuredness about yourself and your message.
A handshake is a person’s first impression of you, so make it a positive one! Too strong of a grip is judged as domineering and rude while too loose of a grip portrays a lack of self-confidence. A good rule of thumb is to mirror the pressure of the other individual.
Be sure to adjust the speed of your speech when talking with others. Speaking too fast will create a nervousness and sense of pressure for the other party, while talking too slowly can display laziness. Vocal pitch is another noteworthy form of nonverbal communication. Speakers with lower-pitched voices tend to be viewed as more empathetic, more powerful and more confident than speakers with higher-pitched voices.
Fidgeting is a loud form of nonverbal behavior. When we rub our hands together, bounce our feet, touch our face and rub our eyes, it diminishes our integrity. So be wary of these types of behaviors and relax yourself by keeping your feet flat on the floor and hands palm down in your lap.
Research from Duke University proves that smiling increases our likelihood of being remembered by others. When you smile at someone it is customary to smile in response, activating a corresponding feeling that alters the person’s emotional state in a positive way. Smiling has a very powerful effect on others, so use it to your advantage!
Last but not least, maintain good eye contact, somewhere in between staring and avoiding their gaze. Too little eye contact is perceived as uninterested or insecure while too much may make the other person feel uncomfortable.
Remember that there are two conversations going on, one verbal and one non-verbal. Focus on both and enhance your success in communicating with and influencing others.
Other related blogs that may be of interest are: Power Poses and Be an Impact Player!
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