When meeting people for the first time our body language plays a big role in the way we communicate. We often make someone’s impression from the signs they give through their facial expressions or where their arms are positioned, and this can be a useful communication tool when meeting someone who only has a short amount of time to make an impression.
This is not only important for daily interactions, but also in the world of work and business. This is where making an impression is very important, because you are in meetings, holding important conferences and only networking in general. Your body language can make the difference between a successful business conversation and a failed one.
Your arms give a lot about your mood. When you have conversations with people, you will find someone who folds their hands seems closed to you and not confident. Having your hand in your pocket looks nervous and also disrespectful. Being very introverted makes you unapproachable and can make others unwilling to ask questions and be interested in your business.
Likewise, you will see politicians decisively use weapons to appear enthusiastic about what they say. In a business environment, it is important to achieve the right balance, and excessive hand and hand movements can be irritating.
Restlessness can show people that you are not confident in what you say or even give the impression that you are bored and not interested in what other people are discussing. This includes biting your nails and playing with your hair or stroking your collarbone, which in fact is also a sign of teasing, so be careful with that!
Visual aids in business situations such as conferences are a good way to get your message across while also giving ‘something to do’ to your hands to avoid restless anxiety.
Your eyes can really make your emotions transparent. Eye contact is an important tool to show that you are interested, but be sure not to look directly into someone’s eyes aggressively – you are not Paul McKenna. Movements like nodding and occasional ‘hmm’ help balance that correctly.
Eyes can also give whether a smile is genuine or not. It would not hurt to smile in business because it gives a positive signal and shows you are happy to be in meetings or conferences wherever you are. But there is no Cheshire Cat smile, remember you want to be positive but also stay professional.
Don’t stoop because you not only appear insecure, but also lazy, uninterested and not authoritative. Your attitude must be straight but approachable. When talking with someone, tend to show interest but without invading personal space.
Having shoulder-width feet is known as a ‘horse position’ but use this wisely. You want to use authority but don’t look arrogant or approachable. When sitting, (especially men) avoid the ‘number four’ position, with one ankle on the other knee. It screams arrogance and can put someone off before they even talk to you.
If you are part of an international business, say that involves many business conferences abroad. It is better to briefly examine the country’s hand movements and body language, because something totally innocent here can be considered very rude elsewhere.
Remember to be aware of your body language, but don’t let it dictate your business meeting or conference. You don’t want to think about it too much so that it bothers you. With practice it will become a habit for you and you will surely see the benefits.