As a professional you need to understand that it takes more than a few educational degrees and excellent speech to convince your seniors, clients and subordinates for a new service, product or company policy. Your body language plays as important a role as anything else in pitching forward a new idea. The way you speak, the way you maintain eye contact, your hand gestures and your posture all have a vital impact on your audience.
While delivering a speech not only do you need to sound confident, but you also need to look confident too. Using your body language strategically involves maintaining a certain amount of hand gestures, nodding, smiling and even keeping your back straight.
Body Language Tips For Personality Development
Here’s a list of things you must do in order to make your body language more appealing to your audience. The more positive body language and confident body language the greater your chances of convincing your listeners.
Maintain Eye Contact
When pitching an idea, new product and new service to your audience, it is absolutely essential that you maintain eye contact with the people present in the room. It is a psychologically proven fact that people automatically pay attention to people who look them in the eye while talking. So when you have the stage in your meeting or conference, ensure that you maintain eye contact with the key persons while speaking.
Leave Space Before Your Upper Torso
When speaking in front of your audience or for that matter even listening while your colleagues speak at a meeting, keeping the space before your upper torso is extremely impactful. You must keep your back straight and your arms and chest must be left open. This space left in front of your upper torso gives you a sense of confidence and relaxation. On the contrary standing with your arms folded and even hugging your bag or note pad, psychologically indicates that you are being defensive. Thus, if you truly wish to capture your audiences’ attention then be calm, relaxed and confidence and give your upper torso the space it requires.
Be Comfortable, Calm and Confident
If you are constantly fidgeting, squirming, biting your nails or chewing your pen, you are bound to give of the impression of nervousness. When your audience has the slightest reason to believe that you are nervous or that your body language is exhibiting anxiety and uneasiness, they are instantly going to doubt your motives. When pitching an idea you need to be confident and calm. Your body language and posture had to arouse a sense of security within your audience.
If you really want to make your audience comfortable and give them a reason to believe in your idea, you need to smile. When people see others smile at them, they automatically lower their defences, they become more relaxed and are far easier to convince. When your colleagues say something humorous ensure you let out a laugh just to boost their confidence.
Use Hand Gestures
Using hand and arm gestures throughout your speech or pitch is a fantastic way to keep your audiences’ attention. However, don’t go overboard with the hand gestures, you don’t want to seem like you just escaped from the mental asylum. Just use your hand and arm gestures when you find it essential.
Exhibit Your Palms
When you have the stage in a conference, it is essential that you show your palms to your audience. It is a neurologically proven fact that people who exhibit their palms while pitching an idea or presentation are signalling engagement and honesty. When your audience does not see your palm gestures, their defences and guards automatically are raised and they begin to doubt your motives and intentions.
Nod Your Head
When listening to a colleague or senior speaking, it is absolutely necessary for you to nod your head. Nodding signals attentiveness. It makes the speaker believe that you are paying complete attention to and understanding exactly what they are saying.
When giving a screen presentation, point and look directly at the screen. This is an excellent way to capture and maintain your audiences’ attention. Pointing at the screen will automatically shift your audiences’ focus to the presentation and make them more alert and interested in your pitch.
When asked a question during your presentation, pitch or even an interview, ensure that you answer in a positive and confident manner. Your answers should be direct, clear and to the point. Avoid partial and unclear answers and make sure that you don’t deviate from the point of discussion.
When speaking at a meeting, conference or presentation, you need to ensure that you speak at a normal speed, maintain a clear speech and sound confident. If you are going to speak in an inaudible whisper, or you are going to mumble and stammer, it is going to lead to disastrous consequences. So make sure your speech is clear and you do not ramble.
Maintaining proper body language only requires a little bit of practice.You don’t need to worry about it being rocket science. Just follow these 10 simple body language tips and tricks and you will be a guaranteed success.
To sum up the 10 body language tips that we highly recommend:
- Maintain eye contact when speaking to your audience to capture their undivided attention.
- Keep a free and open space in front of your upper torso so that you can be relaxed and calm.
- Stay confident and avoid fidgeting
- Smile, it relaxes your audience and reduces stress and tension
- Use hand and arm gestures to catch the listener’s attention
- Exhibit your palms when making hand gestures
- Nod your head when listening to others
- Point out to the screen when making a presentation
- Give clear and positive answers when asked a question
- Speak clearly and in an even tone
Some Body Language Postures You Must Avoid
The same way you need to follow certain tips in order to maintain a positive and engaging body language, there are also certain body postures that you need to avoid like the plague. Here’s a list of things you must avoid doing :
- Avoid slouching, sitting forward and even lounging your arms and legs everywhere
- Avoid constantly touching your face, playing with your hair, biting your nails and rubbing your head and neck. These gestures indicate nervousness and boredom.
- Avoid constant fidgeting, moving about and being restless.
- Avoid holding objects like coffee cups, notebooks, hand bags and other items in front of your body. This indicates nervousness, shyness and lack of confidence
- When listening and paying attention to someone avoid stroking your chin as that is an indication of judgement. You will make the speaker feel uneasy and it may seem like you are judging him
- Avoid narrowing your eyes when looking at the speaker it will give him the impression that you dislike him
- Avoid looking at the floor or at your feet when others are speaking it show a sign of disinterest
- Avoid placing your hands on your hips or behind your head when in a meeting as that may come across as superiority
- Avoid constantly adjusting your tie and collar as that indicates discomfort and nervousness
- Avoid slouching. Slouching is a major indicator of low self esteem. If you want to look and seem confident make sure you maintain an erect posture
- Avoid drying and cleaning your sweaty palms on your clothes. This is a sign of anxiety and excessive nervousness. Besides if your clothes look wet and sweaty, you are going to seem like a mess and unkempt individual
- Avoid tapping your finger on the table and your feet on the floor. This indicates disinterest and boredom
Your body language plays as vital and important a role as your degrees and education. You need to exhibit confidence, positivity and attentiveness if you wish to attract the attention of your audience. Often seniors and interviewers reject ideas and candidates only because of their sloppy body language. In order to be successful your body as well as your mind has to portray positivity, success and happiness.
In certain organisations across the world, before hiring a new employee, the management actually does a complete body language evaluation of the candidate. If the candidate exhibits any kind of negative and nervous behaviour he is instantly rejected.
If you are a lawyer or chartered accountant, your clients need to be comfortable with your body language. If you portray any signs of negativity, disinterest, boredom, and nervousness they may find it very hard to believe you and work with you. Such professions require people to build the trust of their clients. This trust and confidence can be built with appropriate body language.
Your body language is your body’s way of communicating non-verbally. It is an extremely important and vital form of body language communication.
There are a lot of law enforcing institutes that analyze and evaluate the body language of crime suspects. The FBI for instance has special analysts for this very purpose. Some additional places where body language plays a very important role is in poker tournaments and championships.
Dependent on your emotional and mental states, your body language comes in clusters of postures and signals. Here are a few body language clusters and what they indicate:
- This cluster indicates threat in physical form
- Showing keen interest
- Showing one’s superiority and body language power
- This cluster indicates that the exhibitor is a trustworthy person
- Constantly judging and analyzing
- Indicates comfort and relaxation
Like the above mentioned clusters there are a variety of other body language clusters that indicate romance, anger, deception, confidence, submission and various other gestures.
Various parts of your body can be used individually to send body language signals. Here’s a list of the body parts that contribute to your body language gestures:
Besides keeping a watch on your own body language, you should also analyze and evaluate the body language of your seniors, subordinates and colleagues. It will not only give you an idea of what their intentions and feelings are but will also help you exhibit your body language in a more appropriate manner. Matching and mirroring the body language of the people you are interacting with will assist you in getting their undivided attention. Watching the body language of others will help you spot out liars, people who are nervous, people who may be taking you for a ride.
Ways to read body language:
- Notice eye contact
- Notice the person’s posture
- Look out for signs of nervousness and anxiety
- Watch out for signs of threat and body language anger
- Notice how much the speaker smiles
- Make a note of the hand gestures of the speaker
- Make a note of the person’s tone
- Notice the speed of their speech
These are basic traits and patterns of a person’s body language that will help you evaluate them as well as the situation. However do keep in mind that every individual is unique and that the what one person’s body language indicates is probably not applicable to another. Once you begin noticing and analyzing the body language of people you will notice the minor and major differences between the body language of two independent individuals. Another thing you need to keep in mind is that body language may differ between cultures and nationalities.
Body language plays a major role in conveying what an individual is feeling and thinking. If you are unable to analyze and are in doubt of what is going on in a person’s mind through their body language, the best thing to do is to strike up a conversation with them in order to clarify your doubts. You can also directly confront or question them in a polite manner to understand what it is that is really going on in their mind.