12 Body Language Tips For Career Success
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properly used, body language can be your key to greater success. It can
help you develop positive business relationships, influence and
motivate the people who report to you, improve productivity, bond with
members of your team, and present your ideas with more impact. Here are
a dozen tips for using body language to project confidence,
credibility, and your personal brand of charisma:
Stand tall and take up space. Power, status, and
confidence are nonverbally displayed through the use of height and
space. Keeping your posture erect, your shoulders back, and your head
held high makes you look sure of yourself.
you stand you will look more powerful and assured to those who are
seated. If you move around, the additional space you take up adds to
that impression. If you are sitting, you can look more confident by
putting both feet flat on the floor, widening your arms away from your
body (or hooking one elbow on the back of your chair), and spreading
out your belongings on the conference table to claim more territory.
Widen your stance. When you stand with your feet close
together, you can seem hesitant or unsure of what you are saying. But
when you widen your stance, relax your knees and center your weight in
your lower body, you look more “solid” and confident.
Lower your vocal pitch. In the workplace, the quality of
your voice can be a deciding factor in how you are perceived. Speakers
with higher-pitched voices are judged to be less empathic, less
powerful and more nervous than speakers with lower pitched voices.
One easy technique I learned from a speech therapist was
to put your lips together and say “Um hum, um hum, um hum.” Doing so
relaxes your voice into its optimal pitch. This is especially helpful
before you get on an important phone call – where the sound of your
voice is so critical.
Try Power Priming. To display confidence and be
perceived as upbeat and positive, think of a past success that fills
you with pride and confidence. (This doesn’t have to be taken from your
professional life – although I do encourage clients to keep a “success
log” so that they can easily find an event.) Then recall the feeling of
power and certainty – and remember or imagine how you looked and
sounded. Recalling that genuine emotion will help you embody it as you
enter the meeting room or walk up to the podium.
Strike a Power Pose. Research into the effects of body
posture on confidence, conducted at Harvard and Columbia Business
Schools, has shown that simply holding your body in expansive,
"high-power" poses (leaning back with hands behind the head and feet up
on a desk, or standing with legs and arms stretched wide open) for as
little as two minutes stimulates higher levels of testosterone -- the
hormone linked to power and dominance -- and lower levels of cortisol,
a stress hormone.
this before your next important business meeting, and I guarantee you
will look and feel more confident and certain. In addition to causing
hormonal shifts in both males and females, these poses lead to
increased feelings of power and a higher tolerance for risk. The study
also corroborated my observation that people are more often influenced
by how they feel about you than by what you're saying.
Maintain positive eye contact. You may be an introvert,
you may be shy, or your cultural background may have taught you that
extended eye contact with a superior is not appropriate, but
businesspeople from the U.S., Europe, Australia (and many other parts
of the world), will expect you to maintain eye contact 50-60% of the
time. Here’s a simple technique to improve eye contact: Whenever you
greet a business colleague, look into his or her eyes long enough to
notice what color they are.
Talk with your hands. Brain imaging has shown that a
region called Broca’s area, which is important for speech production,
is active not only when we’re talking, but also when we wave our hands.
Since gesture is integrally linked to speech, gesturing as you talk can
actually power up your thinking. Whenever I encourage clients to
incorporate gestures into their deliveries, I find that their verbal
content improves, their speech is less hesitant, and their use of
fillers (“ums” and “uhs”) decreases. Experiment with this and you’ll
find that the physical act of gesturing helps you form clearer thoughts
and speak in tighter sentences with more declarative language.
Use open gestures. Keeping your movements relaxed, using
open arm gestures, and showing the palms of your hands -- the ultimate
“see, I have nothing to hide” gesture -- are silent signals of
credibility and candor. Individuals with open gestures are perceived
more positively and are more persuasive than those with closed gestures
(arms crossed, hands hidden or held close to the body, etc.) Also, if
you hold your arms at waist level, and gesture within that plane, most
audiences will perceive you as assured and credible.
Try a steeple. You see lecturers, politicians and
executives use this hand gesture when they are quite certain about a
point they are making. This power signal is where your hands make a
"steeple" -- where the tips of your fingers touch, but the palms are
separated. When you want to project conviction and sincerity about a
point you’re making, try steepling.
Reduce nervous gestures. When we’re nervous or
stressed, we all pacify with some form of self-touching, nonverbal
behavior: We rub our hands together, bounce our feet, drum our fingers
on the desk, play with our jewelry, twirl our hair, fidget -- and when
we do any of these things, we immediately rob our statements of
credibility. If you catch yourself indulging in any of these behaviors,
take a deep breath and steady yourself by placing your feet firmly on
the floor and your hands palm down in your lap, on the desk or on the
sends a message that you’re calm and confident.
Smile. Smiles have a powerful effect on us. The human
brain prefers happy faces, and we can spot a smile at 300 feet – the
length of a football field. Smiling not only stimulates your own sense
of well being it also tells those around you that you are approachable
from Duke University proves that we like and remember those who smile
at us – and shows why we find them more memorable. Using functional
magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the Duke researchers found that the
orbitofrontal cortices (a “reward center” in the brain) were more
active when subjects were learning and recalling the names of smiling
individuals. Most importantly, smiling directly influences how other
people respond to you. When you smile at someone, they almost always
smile in return. And, because facial expressions trigger corresponding
feelings, the smile you get back actually changes that person’s
emotional state in a positive way.
Perfect your handshake. Since touch is the most
powerful and primitive nonverbal cue, it’s worth devoting time to
cultivating a great handshake. The right handshake can give you instant
credibility and the wrong one can cost you the job or the contract. So,
no “dead fish” or “bone-crusher” grips, please. The first makes you
appear to be a wimp and the second signals that you are a bully.
Handshake behavior has cultural variations, but the ideal handshake in
North America means facing the other person squarely, making firm palm
to palm contact with the web of your hand (the skin between the thumb
and first finger) touching the web of the other person's hand, and
matching hand pressure as closely as possible without compromising your
own idea of a proper professional grip.
the way: While a great handshake is important for all professionals, it
is especially key for women – whose confidence is evaluated by the
quality of their handshake even more than it is with their male
About the Author
Kinsey Goman, Ph.D.is an international
Keynote speaker on collaborative leadership and the impact of
language in the workplace.
coach to executives to improve their leadership presence and
Leadership blogger for Forbes and author of "The Silent Language of
Leaders: How Body Language Can Help - or Hurt - How You Lead.”
Carol@CarolKinseyGoman.com Authors Google+
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2013-09-02 09:04:14 in Personal Articles