The right body language can make a difference in both career and personal success.
Body language is the gestures, movements, and mannerisms by which people (and animals too) communicate to others.
For most individuals, body language just happens naturally. But others have found a way to elevate themselves using their body language to draw attention to their talents, raise their stature, and enhance their charisma.
One of the most consistent recommendations for improving your body language in business situations is to mirror the behavior of your colleague or client. I used to practice doing this, and finally got to a point where it became second nature.
Crossing your arms is often considered a negative sign, while staying open with your body is viewed as positive. Leaning in to the other person is usually good, but crowding in too closely can be a bad move.
Here are some body language tips from lifehack.org that cover common business scenarios.
A job interview:
- Lead into the interviewer when you are speaking
- Mirror the interviewer
- Physically stay open with your body language so you don’t appear defensive
Asking your boss for a raise:
- Mirror his or her behavior then and initiate new body language
- Sit or stand very still except cannot focus completely on your boss
- Keep your torso and face pointed towards him or her
Disagreeing while remaining cordial:
- Raise your eyebrows slightly to show receptivity
- Smile and nod frequently
- Touch the person appropriately in a nonthreatening way
These are all good tips, but the key is in executing them properly. Smiling and nodding can come off as patronizing if it’s overdone. And touching “appropriately” can be a tricky move. It makes sense to engage a professional coach or a trusted mentor to help practice these important skills.