Body language is instrumental in everyday relationships. Whether you’re speaking to your significant other or conveying a concept to your workplace colleagues, body language plays a lot in your communication. Indeed, a recent scientific study says that your words make up only 30% of communication. The rest has everything to do with body language and other non-verbal cues, such as tone of voice. So I figured if I wanted to spruce up my communication – and I really do for that matter – I could count on the following body language tips.
- The power pose – we all know that confidence is a very important quality. Confident people are often more successful, whether at work or in relationships. Also, people tend to like and trust confident people. But how can you pose so that you look confident? A joint study carried out by Harvard and Columbia Business Schools actually demonstrate that holding your body in a power pose – lean back with your hands behind your head and feet up on a desk, or just standing up with legs wide stretched – increases levels of testosterone. This can be done for as little as two minutes, and works great especially when you want to feel tentative and want to appear confident.
- Look like you’re listening – if you want people to open up, don’t multitask when they do. Often, we are all faced with technology-centered distractions. For instance, you might feel like you want to check whether there’s a new text message on your phone, in which case you stop paying attention to whoever is speaking. This is especially a great tip for team communication. Don’t create a barrier that will hinder communication. Lean forward, nod, and tilt your head as a nonverbal way of showing that you’re paying attention.
- Shake hands – you probably meet with a couple of new persons every week. Physical obstructions can impact your relationship with these people for a long time. So you want to make sure that you give your best. But a firm handshake is a great way to show rapport and open up. Also, body language research suggests that people who keep their hands held at waist level than those who keep their chest high.
- Breathe through your mouth – are you attending an important meeting? Take a deep breath and exhale through your mouth. This is a great way to release the tension in your jaw, neck, and shoulders that can make you look aggressive or rigid.
- Pause before a formal presentation – just before you make a formal presentation, make sure to pause. Human beings are drawn by movement. So if you move while you speak, people will notice. This is an effective body language tip that especially comes in handy when you want to drive a point home. The most impact of communication is achieved when you combine movement with physical pauses.