At the beginning of this book, I explained that communication is more than just talking; it involves emotions, bodily response, the manner in which you speak (or don’t speak). All of these things are what make up communication. Both Verbal and non-verbal messages are important to effective communication. Profession Mehrabian came up with the famous rule that only 7% of communication is verbal. The rest is non-verbal which consist of 55% body language and 38% tone of voice. Therefore, you can see how important it is for you to pay attention to your non-verbal cues when communicating.
You can’t tell someone you are happy to see them, in a tone that says, what the hell are you doing here.
A large percentage of communication and how people perceive you comes from body language. This includes posture, gestures, facial expressions, and eye movements. Your body language might reveal your true feelings or intentions. As the saying goes, being is communicating and you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
Here are a couple cues your body language tells the other person about you:
When properly used your body language can be of very tremendous value to you and the person whom you are communicating with. It can be your key to the success and respect from others that you deserve.
It can help you develop positive business relationships, influence and motivate the people who report to you, improve productivity, bond with members of your team, and present your ideas with more impact. However, if used badly, it can lead to you not being taken seriously, the lack of respect and approval from others.
Body language tips that communicates confidence, credibility, and your own flavour of charisma.
Have you heard the saying? There are a thousand words hidden in a smile. Smile, just smile. It makes you more attractive as person, approachable, seen as nice, caring and the listening type, and you will be able to achieve all of these just by making sure that you smile more.
Smiling not only makes you more attractive and trustworthy, it also improves your health, your stress level, and your feelings about yourself. Smiling slows the heart and relaxes the body, and it releases endorphins that counteract and diminish stress hormones. It also has been shown to increase productivity while performing tasks. According to several studies, smiling can trick your brain into feeling happy, even when you feel sad as you’re smiling. Therefore, as a communicating skill, smiling can give you an outlook that improves productivity and enhances communication.
Does this one surprise you? Have you ever wondered why, no matter who a soldier is, they always all look confident and ready? They always look like someone you can rely on, and also someone that would keep to their word. One of the secrets the oozing confidence of a soldier is their widened stance. The widened stance gives you that posture that says, “I am confident in what I am saying and so should you.” It makes people believe and respect you when you communicate. If that’s not a recipe for effective communication, then I don’t know what is.
When you stand with your feet close together, you can seem hesitant or unsure of what you are saying. But when you widen your stance, relax your knees and centre your weight in your lower body, you look more “solid” and confident.
When standing you should be able to draw an imaginary straight line from your earlobe through your shoulder, hip, knee and the middle of your ankle. Good posture is essential for avoiding back and neck pain, prevention muscle aches, and keeping your bones and joints in proper alignment. It opens airways to ensure proper breathing, which allows all of your organs and tissues to function properly. Good posture also reflects a confident demeanor to others. When you stand straight, with your shoulders back and head held high, you look self-assured and poised.
This is especially is useful in the business environment. Certain poses have been known to tell a little bit more about your confidence level, and as well as affect the attitude of the listener. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy revealed in her 2012 TED talk that standing or sitting with certain poses for as little two minutes raises testosterone levels and lowers cortisol (the stress hormone).
These poses can impact your performance, as well as your success at work, with clients, and in your relationships. Many of the poses involve opening your body and taking up space, making you feel more confident and powerful. Some of these poses include, avoiding putting your hands in your pocket while sitting down, standing up straight with your shoulders back, not fidgeting with your hands, taking wide steps and firm handshakes.
Engaging body languages are those gestures you perform while communicating with a person that tells them that you are interested in what they have to say and you would also love them to listen to you. Engaging body language involves using open gestures, smiling and nodding, and mirroring the expressions and movements of the other person. If you want to reach an agreement, win the girl, persuade someone to your side of things, engaged body language gives you more confidence, and sends powerful messages to others to win them over. Once you’ve reached your goal, seal the deal by offering a firm handshake, saying “thank you”, and using good posture.
With this sort of attitude towards communication, anyone you speak with will take you seriously and they will know you are confident. Confident comes up so often in this book that by now, you should know how important it is to be confident while communicating. Confidence is like the glue that holds it all together, I think anyone will find it hard n0t to pay attention to anyone talking with confidence, “there is just something about him/her”, they would say. Confidence will make you intriguing and people would want to, at the very least know what you are about.
When you are communicating, whether you like it or not, the person listening to you is watching you to get any visual cues that tells him/her about you. Your state of mind and what you are about, goes a long way in pushing an effective communication. Just what you do with your hands while you talk is enough to tell the listener a lot about how you feel at the moment. You don’t want to come off as defensive by having you arms crossed across your chest! This suggests that you are not comfortable with what you are communicating about and the arms are there to help you hold your nerves. Crossing your legs away from another person can suggest you dislike them or feel discomfort.
If you clasp your hands behind your back, you might be saying you feel bored, anxious, or even angry. Hands clasped and crossed over the genitals is a self-comfort gesture that reveals vulnerability or shyness. Tapping your fingers and fidgeting tells others you are bored, impatient, or frustrated.
You want anyone you are talking with to know you are sure of what you are saying by holding a straight posture and clamping your hands together. While standing, you can put your hands in your pocket, but only do this when the person you are talking to is younger than you are or is a junior at your workplace. Some people find it offensive, when someone younger than they are put their hands in their pocket while communicating.
A firm, sold handshake is a universal sign of confidence, and everyone regardless of what you do, should have one. A handshake should be strong, but tender at the same time, offered with a cool dry hand and a few up and down shakes, as well as a few seconds of eye contact. That is all. Perfect communication right there, “I have mutual respect for you and I am glad we did this.” Just with a handshake, you just said all of that.
It is a sign of mutual respect from both parties and makes a great first impression. A sweaty, limp, “dead fish” handshake has the opposite effect. Whether or not you feel confident, a firm handshake will boost your feelings and make others see you as more confident.
In a 2012 study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, subjects who wore doctors’ lab coats scored higher on attention-related tasks than did those who did not.
Clothes do make a difference in how we perceive ourselves, and how others perceive us. Dressing confidently is more than just wearing the trendiest fashion. It’s about feeling good, looking poised and being self-assured in all situations. It’s also about sending the right message to the people you are with. You can boost your confidence about yourself and your attire when you dress appropriately for an occasion, know the audience, reflect your personal style, and understand the impact of colour. Plus, when you dress confident, you feel that way too, CONFIDENT!
Here are a few things dressing for confidence can do for you:
Over 500 managers surveyed by Adecco USA, a workforce solutions company, said that one fifth of the candidates they’ve rejected for a position were fidgeters. They felt it betrayed a lack of confidence and a lack of preparation for the interview.
Fidgeting, like twirling your hair, shaking your foot, or biting your nails, is an obvious sign of anxiety and nervousness. These nervous movements draw attention away from what you’re saying and distract people from your message. Avoid touching your face or neck which also indicates you feel anxious. Fidgeting sends the message loud and clear that you aren’t self-assured.
What fidgeting says about you is that, you are not ready for that event. It tells the observer that you are not comfortable being in that position. I understand that there are times when we are uncomfortable in some certain situations, but it should never be in one that you initiated. You should learn to eliminate fidgeting from your character traits during communication. Trust me, you would thank me for it.