The Business of Body Language

TSP • @myTSPnet


At the office, at home or on an airplane, every conversation is really two conversations. The first conversation is the one you’re aware of — the exchange of words between you and a co-worker for example. The second conversation is the one you’re having on a subconscious level. This quiet conversation begins with your first impression. 93% of all communication is nonverbal, so it’s important to be aware of your body language and the message it’s sending. If you want to be a better communicator in every facet of your life start with your body language.

The most commonly recognized forms of body language can apply to business in an important way. The most successful business leaders learn to use the right tool for the right job. Here are some simple ways to exude confidence in business.

William Shakespeare is credited for saying, “The eyes are the window to your soul.” You can tell a lot about someone by their eye contact. Staring, glaring, glazing over and not making direct eye contact are ways to tell how a person is feeling.

People avoid eye contact if they have something to hide, they stare when something is unusual and you can tell if someone is uninterested if their eyes are glazed over. Having good eye contact while conversing is an indication of how the conversation is going. In addition to these characteristics, eye contact is the best way to let someone know you’re a good listener.

Practicing good eye contact is a skill for effective and vital communication — it’s one of the most underutilized forms of body language. So, if you’re hoping to land a big project or make an instant connection, make eye contact!

How do you show up when you walk into a room? Posture is often the first thing people notice about you — it’s important for a few reasons. You want to project confidence from the moment you walk in. A confident posture sends a subtle yet powerful message that you’re confident but approachable. Consider placing your hands by your side to avoid looking standoffish, arrogant or unapproachable. Look at yourself in a mirror and practice your posture — ask yourself, “how do I look?”.

Standing up straight is the foundation of body posture. To practice, keep your spine straight, shoulders relaxed and your chin up. This will not only make you look confident, but taller. It can take some time but forming the habit of good posture is very important, and powerful.

While other culture’s greetings vary, the handshake is a staple in American culture. You can tell a lot about a person’s character just by how they shake your hand. Extroverts have a firm, confident grip while shy people tend to shake hands softly and gently. A proper handshake should last between three to six seconds. Always reciprocate the same amount of pressure you are receiving from the other person’s hand.

Make a handshake matter by looking the person directly in the eye, offering a firm grip and smiling! A dominant handshake isn’t always seen as a play for dominance, it’s a sign of sincerity.

In most instances, your face can't lie. Think about how much a person is able to convey with just a single look. A smile can indicate approval, while a frown can signal unhappiness. In some cases, your facial expression could reveal your true feelings about a particular situation. Facial expressions are among the most universal forms of body language — most humans use a variety of similar expressions to portray emotion. The eyes, mouth and eyebrows work together to form facial expressions.

It’s important to be self-aware about what your body language says about you. By understanding body language more effectively, you can decrease your chances of being misunderstood. It can also lead you to become a more effective communicator in every aspect of your life.