When meeting prospective clients or networking with fellow event vendors, it is important to be aware of the nonverbal signals you may be sending. Those signals could be the difference between success or failure with your next client or in your business, social, and personal relationships.
In this blog we will talk about the basics of how to pay more attention to your body language.
1. Do you know if your facial expressions appear to be awkward?
2. Are your hand gestures or body language clashing with your words?
3. Do you appear weak or arrogant when meeting people?
4. Does the way you shake hands discourage people from doing business with you?
5. Do you have a glaring flaw that everyone notices but you?
Let's talk about the above five questions briefly:
1. Awkward facial expressions -
It's all about mastering your thoughts...think what you want your face to convey. Opening your mouth slightly really helps to control what your face shows.
2. Hand gestures or body language that don't match your words -
This confuses people and they are forced to believe your hands...your body language...then, your verbal message is lost. Studies show that facial expressions and body language account for 55% of the total impact of your message, your tone of voice is responsible for 38%, and only 7% goes to your message. The mismatch generates confusion, mistrust, and tension. The more you learn to match your body with your words, the clearer you message will be.
3. Appearing shy or arrogant -
You don't start conversations because you're scared of being rejected...people misconstrue that think you are being unfriendly. You feel extremely self-conscious so you spend lots of time on your appearance...people think you are arrogant or vain. You can't look someone in the eye because you are shy...people confuse this with lack of interest. You give short responses because you're anxious...people think you feel they're not worthy of your time. So, try to look people in the eye when talking to them, try to smile more, try to ask a few questions (it shows you have genuine interest), and learn to hold a conversation even when you're feeling shy or anxious.
4. Bad handshake -
A handshake can make or break the tone of your environment. People are making judgments and basing their initial opinions of you off of this small, but very important gesture. A limp handshake can present you as a weak inner-being. The bone crusher handshake will cause people to wonder what you're trying to overcompensate for. The fancy shake can show immaturity...save this for your frat brothers, family and family. The handshake that hangs on too long shows desperation. The rushed handshake conveys that you don't have time for this person. The shake and no eye contact or smile reveals a sense of insecurity, shyness, or suspiciousness. However, a good, perfect 2-second handshake is not too firm, not too limp, but just right. It is accompanied by good posture, eye contact, and a smile!
5. Glaring flaw -
There are many character flaws that can destroy your life and relationships: narcissism (extremely selfish, self-absorbed, self-centered, not a team player), dishonesty (lying, covering mistakes, gossiping, over-promising, under-delivering), pessimism (only seeing the negative side and steering things in that direction), apathy ('don't care'-'whatever' attitude), envy (begrudging others, bitter, resentful), insecurity (outward show of lack of confidence), arrogance (rudeness, inability to listen), over-sensitivity (taking everything too personally), and inflexibility (stuck in your ways, not open to new ideas). Be honest with yourself. If you become aware of any of these flaws, you can work to change them...the key is first becoming aware!
When you learn to match your nonverbal signs with your verbal message, your audience becomes increasingly trusting, you build a stronger rapport, and provide clarity.
When you are a leader or being asked to speak in front of a group of your peers, any strong emotion that you show, like anger or excitement, will cause the people listening to automatically mirror or copy your expression. You want that strong emotion to be a positive one!
To conclude, we have always heard that the key to any successful relationship (personal or professional) is good communication. But remember, our nonverbal communication speaks the loudest--our tone of voice, facial expressions, posture, eye contact, and gestures. It is imperative that we understand and correct the use of our nonverbal communication as a tool to build better relationships and connect with others.