“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” –Peter F. Drucker
Body language is the biggest superpower one can ever have. It has the power of making you as well as breaking you. Body language plays a major role in almost all aspects of business, especially in leadership and management roles. It goes both ways round. I will not discount your social life. This is one super power one can have or can enhance for one’s growth.
Over the year’s people have understood the importance of Nonverbal communication and how it can help you achieve your goals. I am sharing few of the most important aspects why it is a non-negotiable skill. Few examples of what correct body language can do for you-
1- Increases Self-Confidence
2- Raises Self-Esteem
3- Attracts the audience positively
4- Be successful in both Professional and Personal Life
5- Helps in strong relationship building
6- Helps is Rapport building
7- Helps in Public speaking
8- Helps to put across the right message and
9- List goes on…
So now you see how important it is to know and understand the nonverbal communication.
Let’s first understand what is Body Language?
What exactly is the meaning of body language?
Body language involves a whole lot of nonverbal cues or signs such as body movements, facial expressions, tone of voice and gestures in communication. Knowing and understanding these signs is an important part of communication. The importance of body language is that it assists us in understanding and decoding the unsaid words or messages what the person is saying. Body language also helps interpret other peoples’ moods and emotions. Also, it enhances our conscious understanding of people’s reactions to what we say and how we say it.
As per the study done in 1981by body language expert Albert Mehrabian, words is 7%, body language is 55% and tone of voice accounts 38% of effective communication. So now you see how important body language is. A whooping of 93 % accounts as nonverbal communication and merely only 7% is words. We as human beings pay more than 90% attention to body language and tone of the voice more than the actual words. Does this make you think? It’s important that you start observing your Body Language if in case you were ignorant all this while.
The importance of body language also impacts your personal brand. Whether it’s a job interview, first day at work, first date or even if it is a regular day in your life as an employee. If you are able to understand the science behind the positive body language then it helps you know how you can show yourself as approachable, attentive and open to new ideas and suggestions. You will be surprised to know that body language in communication is often at unconscious level and you might not know or even realize until someone tells you. Your body exactly speaks what’s going on in your mind. Your body is constantly talking. It never happens that we do not “not” Communicate. We are always communicating. If used correctly and consciously, body language can be your key ingredient you’re your greater success. It can help you develop positive business relationships, influence and motivate the people who report to you or you report to, improve productivity, bond with members of your team easily, and present your ideas with more confidence and with more impact. I am sharing few gateways which you can start using and observing in your daily lives-
Vocal pitch: We all know at workplace perception plays a key role, and study shows that we make initial first impression in just about less than 30 seconds then question is why not make it worthwhile. At workplace one needs to be very careful on his vocals. Quality of your voice can be one of the deciding factor in how you are perceived. I don’t mean you need to sound like Amitabh Bacchan or any other famous or no so famous individuals. But what I mean by Quality of voice is more to do with pitch i.e. is it high, low or moderate. Ideally speakers with higher-pitched voices are judged to be less empathic, less powerful and more nervous than speakers with lower pitched voices. So you may want to consider on your pitch and do some vocal exercises.
Eye Contact: This is very critical aspect as we do lot of our talking, engaging, building rapport, building trust with our eyes. If you want to succeed in your life be it both professional or personal eye, contact will matter. 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. Especially at work place avoid looking below the nose as it may look as flirtatious. If in case, you are uncomfortable looking at some one’s eye they you may look at the nose bridge this way you will be creating an illusion as though you are looking at other person’s eye. Great trick isn’t it?
Our Hands: We gesture all the time while speaking isn’t it? Gesture is integrally linked to speech, gesturing as you talk can actually power up your thinking and makes one confident and comfortable. Whenever I have encouraged my clients during workshops/trainings or one or one coaching to incorporate gestures into their deliveries, I have found that their verbal content improves, their speech is less hesitant and they are much more comfortable, and the unwanted fillers like ‘ums”, “ahh’s” are less. Also the other important note is while gesturing make sure that your gestures are in congruence to your words. This is very important aspect else you will end up giving a wrong message which might go against you and I am sure you wouldn’t want that. Also over the top hand movements are not recommended as they can be distractive.
Open Gestures: Keeping your movements minimal, relaxed, using open arm gestures, and showing your palm up it means –Friendly, Humorous and engaging.
It’ all about first 4 Minutes. If somebody buys you in first 4 minutes they are forming up to 90% of their opinion about you.
Few aspects are very important while gesturing-
ü Open Palms allows the individuals/ audience to connect
ü Practice Palms up if you are looking for Co-operation
ü Practice Palms Down if you are looking for Authority
ü Practice Obama Hug if you want to show concern and acceptance
Something to avoid is Point with Finger-It means you are putting the individual at spot, negative gesture and this could be offending to the other person.
Try a Steeple: Often you would see politicians, trainers and executives use this hand gesture when they are quite certain about a point they are making. This is a power signal 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 this method. And not only that it also shows our confidence.
Avoid nervous gestures: This is a very common behavior we experience when we’re nervous or stressed, we want something to pacify with maybe some form of self-touching by rubbing our hands together, drum our fingers on the desk or play with any object that comes handy like a pen, with our jewelry, twirl our hair, fidget and when we do any of these things, we immediately giveaway our statements of credibility and our confidence. 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. Stillness sends a message that your calm and confident. Deep breath and by doing so your Brain will get oxygen and it will let you calm down. You could also have a glass of water and try cognitive distancing method that is my disrupting the behavior pattern by doing something else- like as simple as having a cup of coffee or just going for a small walk.
Smile: Smile is the best accessory on can have to build confidence. Smiles has a powerful effect on us and onto others. It is quite natural we all like to be surrounded with happy faces and we can spot a smile even from distance (unless low on eyesight J like me).Smiling not only stimulates your own sense of wellbeing it also tells those around you that you are approachable and trustworthy.
If we don’t concentrate on what our body is doing, then be aware that all people do is pay attention to your body language. One can use body language to their advantage if known properly.
So, one suggestion I would like to make is after you are done reading this article go in front of the mirror observe your posture, recall your body movement while communicating or simply do a recording of yourself and watch how you are really using your body while communicating. That will be the good start towards appreciating the good movements, accepting the flaws and improvise it and then get ready for an amazing impression of yours in front of the world.
We conduct Executive Coaching, Soft Skills Training, Human Resources and Leadership Training programs. We have expertise in the field of Corporate Training. All our programs are tailor made based on the objectives of our clients.
Ashwini Dasgupta is a Personal Development and NLP Trainer and a startup enthusiast. She has her own venture into Training and Coaching where she closely works with multiple corporates and individuals for their success.
To know more about our work you can visit www.ashwinidasgupta.com