13 Feb BODY LANGUAGE
What is your body language communicating about you?
Before you even open your mouth to speak, your body is communicating. Not only is it letting people know how you feel by the way you have dressed it, but also through your posture, your gestures, your facial expressions and the way you move in general.
If you’re feeling low or depressed you’re more likely to be slumped forward, moving slowly and making very little eye contact with people. If you’re feeling positive and confident, you are more likely to have your shoulders back, your head up, a smile on your face and looking people in the eye. You’re probably moving with more purpose and walking with a spring in your step.
One of the problems with body language is that sometimes you may not be consciously aware of the messages you are communicating, and people will make assumptions about you that you may not want them to.
For example, if you are going to a job interview or delivering a high stakes presentation, do you really want people to know how nervous you are? In fact, in most situations in business, your aim will be to come across as calm, confident and credible.
So, how can you do that? Here are my three top tips:
- Become aware of the messages you’re sending
Start to become conscious of how you are coming across to other people. E.g. You might be crossing your arms because it’s comfortable or you feel cold; however, people may perceive that as defensive. You might be someone who fidgets or fiddles with things which can make you come across as nervous, distracted or uneasy. By being aware of what might be impacting your credibility, you can make any adjustments to your non-verbal messages if you need to.
- Connect with your body
Start to notice how your body is feeling. If you’re feeling tense, take a moment to shake your hands, shake your arms, shake your legs and feet one at a time, then shake your whole body to release tension (depending how enthusiastically you want to shake, you might want to consider finding somewhere out of the public eye when doing this exercise!) Next do some shoulder rolls, some simple side stretches to open up your ribcage and any other stretches of your legs and arms that will help you to reconnect with your body. Taking time to empty your lungs and take in a few deep slow breaths will help you to feel grounded, focused and calm. The more aware you are of your body and connected to it, the more you are able to use it to enhance the way you communicate, not detract from it.
Smiling makes you feel good as well as the people around you. Who isn’t attracted to someone who portrays happiness, positivity and enthusiasm? Even if you don’t feel like it, giving a smile to someone or even to yourself in the mirror will lift your spirits and help you to feel more upbeat, confident and self-assured. You might have the most beautiful clothes in the most flattering colours but they will always look better if you wear them with a smile.
Mel Sherwood is a pitch and presentation specialist who prepares ambitious entrepreneurs and business professionals to take centre stage, embrace the spotlight and present with more confidence, credibility and conviction. Mel’s award nominated book ‘The Authority Guide to Pitching Your Business – how to make an impact and be remembered… in under a minute!’ is available on Amazon. To find out more go to www.melsherwood.com or follow Mel on Twitter @MelSherwood_