May 09, 2012
As a speaker and writer I often focus on words and the impression they make, but even the most wisely chosen words don’t have the impact they could if your body language is saying something different.
I always ask those I coach, (and myself) questions like these:
How would you stand if you knew you were the best in the world at what you did?
How would you great me if you knew I admired you greatly and wanted to learn from you?
How would you sit if you were 100% happy in your life and work?
Studies show that only 7% of the impact we make is with the words we choose, I would argue that when we choose the right words they make a much bigger impact than that, but as humans, we always believe body language over spoken language. Even when we think we don’t notice it, or don’t consciously think about it, the way we move, stand, sit and speak makes a huge difference.
Think about how you use body language in your next meeting. Do you sit up straight and pay attention or are you slumped over the desk secretly peaking at your iphone? (by the way we can all see you). Is your body language saying “I’m interested and informed” or “please don’t ask me anything about this”. Are you seen as important or peripheral to the conversation. Try adjusting your body and seeing how that changes things.
I don’t have room here to go through all the stances and what they mean, and I don’t need to. We all understand body language, even when we are not aware that we do. You have your own personal training course all around you. Watch people, watch how they sit, how they move, how they greet people. Notice your assumptions about them, who is in power? who is nervous? who is confident?
Try it yourself, notice how you enter a room and how you sit / stand during the day. Try on some new body language and see how that changes things. Smile, confidently (do this a lot) and see how different you feel. Study how changing your stance changes the way others react to you.
If you are in sales (and I believe we are all in sales to some extent) then this is especially important. How confident you appear reflects how confident you are in what you are selling, how you connect with people will show in your sales figures.
The great thing about body language is that it works backwards. If you stand like you are confident, you will soon feel that way. If you sit like you are interested in a meeting you will find yourself becoming interested.
Smile as if this article will make a huge difference to your day, a big confident smile that reflects who you are.
(This column was first published in The Daily Advertiser on May 8th 2012 – all rights reserved)