You’ve probably heard it before, but it bears repeating. Research shows that only seven percent of communication is based on the actual words we say. That leaves 93 percent of our communication to the tone of our voice and our body language. Meaning, in many cases, how we communicate is even more important that what we communicate.
Absorb these six tips, then let your body do the talking.
Crossed arms and legs signal resistance to ideas. Hey, I’m with you. Sometimes it’s just more comfortable to stand with crossed arms or sit with your legs crossed. However, when brainstorming ideas or listening to someone speak, try to keep untwined. This shows that you are open to new ideas.
Exaggerated nodding signals anxiety about approval. Try to keep the bobble head to a minimum. Over-nodding can signal that you are worried about what people think of you and can cause people to doubt your ability to follow instructions. I know you want to show your boss how agreeable you can be, but overdoing it can expose your stress to impress.
You want to exude strength, confidence, and calm during a presentation. If you’re constantly tapping your feet, fiddling with your hands, or crossing and uncrossing your legs, it will cause the listener to assume you are stressed and unsure of what you are communicating. Keep calm and carry on.
Sure no one likes a copycat, but that’s only if you overdo it. Watch how others position themselves then subtly mimic the way they cross their legs, lean forward or backward, or present facial expressions. Mirroring body language can be a sign that you align with what the speaker is saying, and is something we do unconsciously when we feel a bond with another person.
While speaking to others, if you adopt a wide stance, it expands your diaphragm and projects your speaking voice more effectively. You also appear more impressive and influential, making you a business force to be reckoned with. As a side note, you should check out this analysis of Justin Trudeau. You’ll even learn what Loose Tongue Jut is.
Eye rolling is a sign of contempt, frustration, exasperation, and aggression. It has even been shown to be an earlier predictor of divorce. The reason being it can signal to your listener that you don’t appreciate or respect them or what they are saying. So as tempting as it can be, keep your eyes on the prize and nip this bad habit in the bud.
Don’t expect all of these tips to come naturally or instantly. You work hard on the content of your presentation. Allow yourself time to work on your body language, too. Take note of your body language the next time you are speaking in, or with, a group and start making changes as you can.
Bottom line: remember that as words are coming out of your mouth, your body is talking too. Make sure they’re speaking the same language.