10 Simple and Powerful Body Language Tips for 2014
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Since writing "The
Silent Language of Leaders" three years ago, and "The
a couple of years before that, I’ve spoken to over two hundred
business, university, association, and government audiences -- and, in
the process of preparing to address these very savvy professionals,
I’ve discovered even more about the role of body language in business
are my ten simple and powerful body language tips for 2014:
Before an important meeting, breathe through your mouth.
before you enter the meeting room, take a deep breath and exhale
through your mouth. (If you are unobserved, make a soft “ahh” sound.)
Doing so releases the tension in your neck, shoulders and jaw that can
make you look rigid or aggressive.
When making a formal presentation, move then pause.
beings are drawn to movement. If you move when you speak, you’ll get
people’s attention. It can be especially effective to move toward the
audience before making a key point, and away when you want to signal a
break or a change of subject. You can also use space to reinforce your
ideas. For example, if you’re presenting three issues, talk about each
of them from a different physical position. Or if you have “bad” news
and “good” news, you can present each from different sides of the stage
or platform. (Just be sure to make your closing remarks while standing
on the “good” side.) But don’t move while making a crucial comment. You
have the most impact when you combine movement with physical pauses in
which you stand absolutely still to highlight your most important
To look decisive, rotate your palms down.
essence, gestures with palms exposed show that you are open and willing
to negotiate on a particular point, while palms turned down indicate
that you are closed to negotiation. But people also automatically
pronate their hands when they feel strongly about something. In fact, a
definitive gesture of authority when you speak is placing both hands,
palms down, on or right above the conference table.
If you want to be taken seriously, speak up early.
you hang back in a meeting, only to offer your opinion toward the end
of the conversation, your input is more likely to be discounted. By
speaking up early, even if it on some trivial matter, you establish
yourself as someone who is “at the table” and ready to participate.
Then later, when you present your insights and suggestions, they will
be better received.
To know when people want to leave, watch for seated readiness.
often signal that they are ready to end a conversation by assuming the
position of someone ready to rise. (They may move to the edge of the
chair, or lean forward with hands on the arms of the chair or hands on
knees.) If you are aware of someone assuming these postures while you
are speaking, you should respect that signal by quickly finishing what
you are saying.
To sharpen your negotiating skills, notice how fast you can make or
seated at a conference table across from your counterpart, push back
from the table and lean away from him or her. You’ll most likely see
your counterpart react in kind by backing away from you. Now lean
forward and put your hands on the table (with your palms showing), look
him or her in the eyes and smile. Watch as the interaction warms up and
is much more friendly and open. That’s how fast your body language can
help you build or break rapport.
When you want your team to collaborate, start marching.
marching, singing, dancing, and drumming are all examples of activities
that lead group members to act in synchrony with each other. Stanford
University conducted research that showed that synchronous activity
motivates members of a group to contribute toward the collective good.
Across three experiments, people acting in synchrony with others
cooperated more in subsequent group economic exercises, even in
situations requiring sacrifice on a personal level from the group.
To sound dynamic, widen your stance.
voice comes from your entire body, not just your mouth. Your body helps
you become a more dynamic speaker when it is grounded -- feet planted
firmly on the floor, a hips-width apart, with your weight evenly
distributed. A broad stance like this calms your nervous system, allows
you to breathe with ease, and amplifies your voice. (This tip comes
from Rhoda Agin, a speech and voice therapist.)
To stay in control, back up.
at Radboud University, Netherlands, showed how backward motion was a
powerful way to enhance cognitive control. The researchers found that
when people encounter a difficult situation, getting them to step
back (literally) boosted their ability to cope.
To increase team productivity, keep your body language open.
are constantly monitoring their leader for emotional cues. If your body
looks closed, depressed or angry, these postures (and their
corresponding emotions) will be subconsciously picked up and mimicked
by your team. It’s a process called “emotional contagion” – and it can
also work in your favor. If you keep your posture relaxed, inclusive
and open, your team will respond by being more cohesive, positive and
the way: Just because these ten tips are simple, don't underestimate
their power. Small nonverbal changes can make a big difference in how
people perceive and relate to you.
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 2014-01-09 09:10:45 in Personal Articles