What Is Your Body Language Speaking to Those Who See You?
What is your body language saying about you? Most people have very little understanding of the silent messages they are sending out – and yet, these silent messages account for 93% of the image impression you make on others.
I can not repeat this enough: The words you say only make up 7% of the effect you have on people. The other 93% is all about your appearance: your clothing, your presentation, and your body language.
For example, I can tell quite a bit about a person just from how they shake my hand on our first meeting. If that person gives me a limp handshake without grasping my hand tightly enough, I know that they are unsure of themselves. On the other hand, someone who crushes my hand in theirs is likely to be domineering.
These silent messages speak volumes about who you are. People truly do assess each other on these details, even without being aware they are doing it. It is instinctive to “read” a person based on how they move, whether they make eye contact, how well they listen. You do this too, and it will benefit you to become more aware not just of your own body language, but of what those around you are doing.
Align Your Body Language To Your Listeners
Another example is the feet. When you are speaking to someone, glance at the position of their feet. If the toes are pointed inward, that person is closed off to you. They may not want anyone to interrupt, or they may be feeling uncomfortable. However, if the feet are turned outward, that person welcomes you into their conversation.
Some signals are harder to read, but instinctively, we know to pay attention to them. Imagine someone you’re talking to is pulling their ear – could that mean they want to speak? Or perhaps they begin fidgeting with their collar and their clothing. Is it getting hot in here?
If you’re paying attention, you can also benefit from mirroring the body language of your peers. When you begin to mirror someone, you signal to them that you are on their side. You begin to connect with that person, making them feel comfortable and showing that you are paying attention.
Gain Awareness of Your Body Language
It’s not easy to be aware of all the little movements you make, and what they tell others about you. The easiest way to understand how your body language works, is to get feedback from your peers or from a professional. I have taught, and taken, workshops in body language many times, and without fail, I learn something new each time.
The reality is that people simply don’t know what their body is doing, or how their clothing impacts their professional brand until it is pointed out to them. In order to make better impressions and avoid subconscious gaffes, seek out the advice of a professional. Get help to strengthen the silent messages you are sending: this is an investment that is always worth your time and effort, because it will make you feel, seem and appear more confident, comfortable and successful – in any situation.